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Q: Who is the Bankruptcy Trustee and what does he do?
A: The Bankruptcy Trustee is an individual who works as an independent contractor of the United States Trustee, who in turn works for the Department of Justice. Perhaps the best way to think of the Bankruptcy Trustee is as the “traffic cop” of the bankruptcy process. He is the one who largely polices the process. The Trustee has two basic functions. First, to review information filed with the court to check its accuracy. Second, try to get money for the creditors.In furtherance of these goals, the Trustee will conduct an examination of the debtor roughly 30-45 days after the bankruptcy is filed. Prior to that meeting, the Trustee will review information filed by the debtor with the bankruptcy court and will ask to see supporting documentation, such as tax returns and bank statements.There are several pitfalls and trappings for the unweary. That is why it is critical that one have competent legal representation both before the filing of a bankruptcy and in preparation for the meeting with the Trustee. At Speckman Law Firm, we have good working relationships with all of the Trustee and we know how to prepare our clients for the meeting with the Trustee – which, of course, we also attend.
Q: Will I loose my house, car or other assets if I file bankruptcy?
A: Probably not. While the answer depends on each person’s unique situation, the vast majority of people we represent through a bankruptcy are able to retain all of their assets, including home, car, motorcycle, boat, furniture, jewelry, retirement, saving, life insurance, etc. Call us for a free confidential consultation with Attorney David Speckman to learn whether you may file bankruptcy without losing any assets.
Q: Will I be required to go to Court?
A: Usually not. It is very rare that a debtor is required to go to court. Of course, you are always welcome to accompany Attorney Speckman to any court proceeding if you choose.
Q: Can I file bankruptcy without my spouse?
A: Yes. There is no requirement that both spouses file bankruptcy.
Q: Can I obtain credit after filing bankruptcy?
A: Yes. In fact, most people who go through a bankruptcy are shocked at how fast they qualify for credit. It is not uncommon for people to receive “pre-approved” credit card applications in the mail within 30 days of the bankruptcy ending. One will usually find that they can obtain a car loan soon after filing and even a home loan in about 2 years. Life goes on – the filing of bankruptcy is not the final chapter, it is a new chapter.
Q: Will bankruptcy stop a lawsuit?
A: Generally, yes. The answer depends upon the nature of lawsuit in which you are involved. If you are being sued by a creditor or for an alleged breach of contract or negligence, then the filing of a bankruptcy will generally bring an end to the case. If, on the other hand, the lawsuit involves allegations of fraud or intentional misconduct, then the answer depends upon the type of bankruptcy filed and amount in dispute. Contact us to arrange a confidential consultation with Attorney David Speckman to discuss the particularities of your situation.
Q: Can I modify my home loan while in bankruptcy?
A: Yes. In fact it is often easy and fast to modify a home loan in a bankruptcy than outside. Even if you have been declined for a loan modification in the past, you may find that you qualify for a modification while inside the protection of a bankruptcy.
Q: I filed bankruptcy before, can I file again?
A: It depends. If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge, then you may not file another Chapter 7 for eight years. However, you must wait only four years before filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which culminates in a discharge; you may actually file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy immediately after a Chapter 7, although it will not result in a discharge. This works well if you need to file a Chapter 13 to stop a foreclosure or pay off income taxes. If you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and received a discharge, then must wait two years to file another Chapter 13 that will result in a discharge or six years to file a Chapter 7.If your prior bankruptcy did not result in a discharge, then you may file either a Chapter 7 or 13, otherwise ordered by the court. However, if the prior bankruptcy was dismissed recently, there may be an issue as to whether the “automatic stay” is effective upon refilling.Timing issues can be complex. We have the expertise to guide you through the process and determine whether you are eligible for a bankruptcy. Call us today for a free consultation with Attorney David Speckman.
Q: Will my name be published in the newspaper if I file bankruptcy?
A: No. While the filing of bankruptcy is public record, there is no list of debtors published in the newspaper or elsewhere. In fact, your friends, employer, and others will likely have no knowledge of the bankruptcy filing, unless you tell them.
Q: Do I need a lawyer to file bankruptcy?
A: There are a few who have managed to navigate the complexities of a bankruptcy without a lawyer – to be sure, these individuals are the exception. Most who try to file a bankruptcy (especially a Chapter 13) without the aid of competent counsel find the process confusing and filled with trappings, any number of which can result in the case being dismissed. This is your financial future, not a game. The cost of a lawyer is small in comparison to the cost of failure. Let’s put it this way, you would perform surgery on yourself? Probably not. Speckman Law Firm has represented several lawyers who have filed bankruptcy – not because these individuals could not have figured out how to prepare and file the necessary paperwork, but because we all have special skills and know-how; it simply makes good sense to hire the best person you can to ensure the best possible results.
Q: Does filing bankruptcy mean that I failed?
A: No. It means that you are making a wise financial decision that will better the quality of your life and those around you. Bankruptcy laws have been a part of our judicial code since the inception of our Country. Bankruptcy laws are the product of hundreds of years of intellectual debate. In the end, it boils down to a simple principle: It is better for society as a whole to give good people (such as yourself) a fresh start so that they can once again become a contributing participant in our economy – saving money, investing money, and spending money, rather than simply trying to pay off accumulated debt. Believe me what I say, your creditors generally do not care if you file bankruptcy! It is common for the same credit card company wiped out in a bankruptcy to send a pre-approved credit card application to the client within 30 days of the bankruptcy concluding. Bankruptcy is certainly not the final chapter in your financial history, it is simply a new Chapter. Remember, Walt Disney file bankruptcy, twice. So did Thomas Edison, George Eastman, Donald Trump and even our be-loved Benjamin Franklin.
Q: How do I know that Bankruptcy is the right choice?
A: A key role of the attorney is to examine the client’s situation and determine if bankruptcy is a wise move. At your very first meeting, you will have an opportunity to meet Mr. Speckman, who will take the time to review your unique situation and discuss all of your options. You will receive understandable explanations and be give time to ask all of your questions. We want to ensure that you both understand the bankruptcy process and the recommendations made by Attorney Speckman.