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Bankruptcy Pre-Filing Steps

Step One
Call me!   During the phone call, I will request some basic information to determine your goals and if bankruptcy may be appropriate for you.  If so, an initial consultation will be scheduled at my office.  Normally, at the first in-person consultation, I ask you to bring your last two paystubs, and budget of what you spend your money on monthly, along with any debts or concerns that you want to ask about specificially.  If you want to just get started on everything,  use the  .pdf  documents listed below.  The information in the .pdfs  is normally everything that I require to file your case and will help provide a clear picture of your financial situation and allow me to find the most favorable solution for your specific situation.

Step Two
During our initial meeting, we will review your goals in detail.  Then we will prepare a rough budget of your income and expenses the way the Court would look at it.  If necessary, we will do a quick analsysi to see if you have any  means test issues.  If you have not downloaded the pdfs, we will review what documents and information will be required to prepare your bankruptcy petition.   I will also provide you with instructions on how to take the required credit counseling course.
Step Three
Once you provide my office with the necessary information, the bankruptcy petition, schedules, Statement of Financial Affairs, Means Test and other documents will be prepared. Usually, either I or my assistant will need to speak with you on the telephone to clarify certain information.  Normally, it does not take more than seven (7) days to prepare a bankruptcy petition. Emergency filings can be done quicker, if necessary.  Once the petition is prepared,  a signing appointment is required to review and sign the documents.

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Bankruptcy Filing Procedure 

A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case begins when the bankruptcy petition is filed with the bankruptcy court.   I will file the petition electronically, in addition to all other required schedules and statements.

In order to complete the bankruptcy forms under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, an individual needs to provide their attorney with the following:

  • A list of all creditors and the amount and nature of their claims;
  • The source, amount and frequency of the debtor’s income;
  • A list of all of the debtor’s property; and
  • A detailed list of the monthly living expenses for the debtor’s household.

The debtor must file the following with the court, in addition to the petition:

  • A schedule of assets, including all real property and personal property
  • A schedule of liabilities, including all secured, unsecured and priority debts
  • A schedule of contracts that have not yet been completed and unexpired leases.
  • A schedule of current income and expenditures, including a statement of any anticipated increases or decreases in income or expenses after filing
  • Statement of Financial Affairs
  • Statement of Intention for Secured Debts
  • Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation

Individual debtors under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 must also file:

  • A certificate of credit counseling
  • Evidence of payment from employers that was received in the 60 days prior to the bankruptcy filing

The debtor must also provide the bankruptcy trustee with a copy of their most recently filed federal tax return or tax return transcript, last three months bank statements and most current paystub (at the hearing).  Spouses may file individual or joint petitions. If married, you must still provide income information for your spouse, regardless of whether you are filing an individual or joint petition, unless you live in separate households.


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Creditors's Notice 

Shortly after the bankruptcy case is filed, notice is sent by the clerk of the bankruptcy court to all creditors that were listed by the debtor. This notice includes:

  • The deadline for creditors to object to discharge;
  • The date set for the Meeting of Creditors;
  • A notice that an automatic stay is in effect and that creditors may not take collection action against the debtor

If a creditor wishes to object to the debtor’s discharge, or the dischargeability of a particular debt, the creditor must file a complaint with the bankruptcy court by the deadline stated in the notice.

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First Meeting of Creditors 

Approximately three to five weeks after the bankruptcy petition is filed, the trustee who is assigned to your case will hold a Meeting of Creditors, which is also called a Section 341 Meeting. During this meeting, the trustee will put the debtor under oath, and the debtor will be asked questions by the trustee. Debtors are required to answer questions regarding their financial situation and property. If spouses have filed a joint petition, they are both required to attend the meeting. Despite the name of the meeting, creditors rarely attend, and the meeting is usually concluded very quickly. Creditors that do attend may also ask questions of the debtor. Typical questions the trustee will ask the debtor at the Section 341 meeting in a Chapter 7 case include the following:

  • Did you read the petition before you signed it?
  • Is everything in the petition true and correct?
  • Do you wish to make any changes?
  • Have you listed all of your debts?
  • Have you listed all of your assets?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • Have you ever refinanced your home or taken a home equity loan?
  • If so, and you received any proceeds, what did you do with those funds?
  • Have you ever owned any real property other than current ownership?
  • If so, what happened to the property?
  • Are you in business for yourself?
  • If not, have you ever been in business for yourself?
  • If so, what happened to the assets of the business?
  • Does anyone owe you any money?
  • Do you have any potential claims for personal injury?
  • Can you sue anyone for any reason?
  • Has anyone died and left you any property?
  • Do you expect to inherit any property in the next six months?
  • Did you receive a tax refund this year?
  • Do you expect to receive a tax refund?
  • Have you repaid any friends or family members in the past year?
  • Have you transferred any property to anyone in the last six years?
  • What is the most money you have had in the bank in the past two years?
  • What caused you to go into debt?

The meeting will not be conducted in front of a bankruptcy judge.  The debtor and debtor’s attorney sit at a table with the bankruptcy trustee. There will be many other people in the room who are also there for their meeting. As long as you are not the first debtor called, you will be able to listen to the questions that the trustee is asking. He or she will be asking you the same questions.

Usually, in a Chapter 7 case, nothing more is required after the Meeting of Creditors. If there are no objections, either by the bankruptcy trustee, the United States Trustee, or a creditor, the debtor will usually receive a discharge approximately 60 days after the first date set for the meeting.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings are somewhat different than Chapter 7. At the meeting with the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee, the focus is often on the debtor’s income and the debtor’s ability to make the payments under the proposed Chapter 13 plan.

If the debtor has made the required payments to the trustee, and there are no objections, the trustee will usually recommend confirmation of the plan. Once the plan is confirmed by the bankruptcy court, the debtor and creditors are bound by the terms of the repayment plan. The confirmation hearing may or may not be in front of a bankruptcy judge, depending on the particular judge’s rules.

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Bankruptcy Discharge 

A bankruptcy discharge releases the debtor from personal liability for specified types of debt incurred prior to the filing of the bankruptcy case, meaning that the debtor is no longer legally obligated to repay these debts. However, certain debts may not be discharged. The discharge prohibits creditors from harassing the debtor or taking any collection action against the debtor after the discharge. This includes legal actions and communication such as phone calls, letters, and other types of contact.

Under Chapter 13, the discharge is entered only after successful completion of the repayment plan, which usually takes between three and five years.

Although a debtor’s personal liability to repay his or her debts is discharged, any liens on the debtor’s property will remain after the bankruptcy proceeding, unless those liens were avoided or otherwise extinguished in the bankruptcy proceeding. 

In order to receive a discharge, the debtor must complete a course on financial management. Additionally, a debtor may not be able to file a subsequent bankruptcy proceeding for a certain time period after receiving a discharge.

The court may revoke a discharge for a number of reasons, including:

  • The debtor fraudulently obtained the discharge;
  • The debtor failed to disclose the fact that he or she acquired or became entitled to acquire property that would have been considered property of the estate;
  • The debtor committed an “act of impropriety” under the Bankruptcy Code;
  • The debtor failed to explain any misstatements discovered during the bankruptcy proceeding; or
  • The debtor failed to provide requested documents or information during the bankruptcy proceeding.

Finally, a debtor may voluntarily pay off debts after the discharge has been granted. A debtor may wish to do so for the sake of the debtor’s reputation or if a debt is owed to a friend or family member. Or a debtor may wish to maintain a good relationship with a creditor, such as a family doctor.

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Steven P. Taylor, P.C. | Indianapolis Kokomo Bankruptcy Attorney

Attorney Steven P. Taylor will answer your questions about how bankruptcy works, and help guide you through the bankruptcy process. Call his Indianapolis Bankruptcy Office at  (317) 271-1111 or his Kokomo Bankruptcy Office (765) 868-0807 to discuss the bankruptcy process in Indiana and explore your options.




We are a debt relief agency. OUR DEBT RELIEF LAWYERS help people file for bankruptcy under the united States bankruptcy code. IF YOU NEED DEBT RELIEF, OUR LAWYERS ARE READY TO HELP.