I’m Robert Beucler. I’m a certified
bankruptcy specialist with Lerner and Rowe Law Group. I’ve been practicing bankruptcy law for over thirty years and representing debtors
like you. Three important events occur immediately upon the filing of a
bankruptcy petition. First thing that happens is the automatic stay goes into
effect. The automatic stay is what stops or stays creditors from harassing a debtor,
from trying to foreclose on property, from repossessing property; it would stop
garnishments, and stops almost all civil lawsuits that might be pending against a
debtor. It is the immediate relief that a debtor gets upon filing the petition. The
second major event that occurs upon the filing of a chapter seven bankruptcy is a chapter seven trustee is appointed. That trustee is not the friend of the debtor.
That trustee is working for the benefit of the creditors. A debtor does have an
obligation to cooperate with the chapter seven trustee. The chapter seven trustee will send to the debtor a form questionnaire seeking additional and updated financial
information from the debtor. Examples of what a trustee will be asking for, and is
entitled to, would be copies of the debtor’s bank statements as of the filing
date, copies of the two most recent and consecutive post-bankruptcy pay stubs
from the debtor, and a copy of the most recently filed state and federal tax
returns. A trustee may also request, and is entitled to, payoffs on vehicles,
copies of lease agreements, and other financial information. Our office assists
our debtors in the preparation and response to the trustee’s questionnaire. The third event that occurs upon the filing of the bankruptcy petition is a
meeting of creditors is set. That meeting of creditors takes place approximately
thirty days after the petition is filed. We accompany our debtors to their meeting
of creditors in every instance. Although it is called a creditors meeting, the
creditors very, very rarely attend that meeting. It
is the trustee that presides at the meeting. The trustee will introduce him
or herself to all the debtors in the hearing room. The trustee will inform the
debtors that their petition, their schedules, their statements, and other
documents filed with the court are under penalties of perjury. And then, the
trustee will start calling the individual cases. That meeting goes very
quickly. As I indicated before, the debtor’s discharge is to take place
approximately sixty days after the meeting is over. The debtor has to do the second
part of their credit counseling, of course, prior to the discharge being
entered.