Filing for Bankruptcy can seem like a daunting process, but our attorneys at Gilbert Law Office make it as quick and painless of a process as possible. With over 27 years of bankruptcy law experience, we can help inform you of all your options and answer all of your questions on how to file for bankruptcy. Read the step-by-step bankruptcy process, so you know what to expect.
Step 1: Consider your options
The most popular is the chapter 7 (which is liquidation bankruptcy), and then there is chapter 13 (which is a repayment plan for individuals). The means test will be used to determine which chapter you can file under.
What is the means test? When you file for bankruptcy, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Minnesota. If your income is less than the median, you will be eligible to file for Chapter 7 and, if you choose to file for Chapter 13, you can use a three-year repayment plan (rather than five years). Look at the State Median Family Income by Family Size here.
Step 2: Call an attorney
Call us today to set up your FREE consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Unlike larger firms, you will meet with an attorney, not a paralegal to discuss your case. We give you the personal attention and pricing flexibility you need and deserve with the competent and professional service of a large firm.
Step 3: Your free Debt Consultation
At the consultation, we will gather the information necessary to understand your situation, including your goals, assets, debts, income and expenses. This is the best opportunity to get ALL of your questions answered. If bankruptcy is right for you, we will go over the options available under the Bankruptcy Code and help you determine what Chapter is the best fit.
You may want to be prepared to pay a small retainer fee. Retaining us means hiring us. After you hire us, you can refer the creditors to us and not talk to them.
Step 4: Gather your documents
Gather up documents and other information necessary to get your case filed, such as past due bills, tax returns, paycheck stubs and bank statements. We will discuss what we will need to file your case. Drop off or mail all the bills, documents and other information you have.
Step 5: Your Bankruptcy Petition appointment and credit counseling
At this meeting you will be given a copy of your Bankruptcy Petition to review with us or own your own. When reviewing your petition, make sure all your personal information is correct and make sure all your debts are listed on the petition. Before your bankruptcy is filed, we will arrange for you to receive a credit counseling briefing from an approved non-profit credit counseling agency. The counseling briefing is a question and answer session with a counselor who will evaluate your financial situation and verify if filing bankruptcy is right for you. The briefing usually takes from 45-90 minutes and can be via telephone, in person, or online.
Step 6: Filing your case
We file the final signed documents with the Court by electronic filing.. Once we have filed your case, the “automatic stay” goes into effect (which means no more annoying calls). NO creditors should be contacting you about your debt. This stay is enforced, and creditors can be liable if they go against it.
Step 7: Attend the meeting of creditors “341 Hearing”
About 30 days after we file your case, we will attend the Meeting of Creditors or the “341 Hearing”. This meeting is the creditor’s opportunity to show up and ask you questions. They are usually relatively short and painless, and it is unlikely that any of your creditors will attend the meeting.
Step 8: Financial Management Course
After your case is filed, you must complete your second counseling briefing. This is called the Debtor Education or Financial Management Briefing. This course is tailored around managing your personal finances after bankruptcy. It takes approximately two hours and can be done over the telephone, in-person, or online. Our office will arrange this meeting typically within a month of your “341 Hearing”.
Step 9: Discharge
About 3 months after we file your case, the Court issues your discharge. Once you have received your discharge, all your creditors are prohibited from EVER collecting on the debt you eliminated in your bankruptcy.