Information Needed to Prepare Your Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Information

You must remember that although you have hired an attorney to help you with your bankruptcy, you are ultimately responsible for the success of your case; therefore, it is important that you take the process seriously and give your FULL AND TIMELY cooperation to your attorney and his or her staff.

NOTE: BEFORE YOU CALL YOUR ATTORNEY WITH A QUESTION ABOUT YOUR BANKRUPTCY, READ THIS DOCUMENT FIRST. THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION IS MORE THAN LIKELY ANSWERED IN HERE.

"Jerry Daniels is an excellent and extremely thorough attorney. He looks at every possible angle of a case to be totally prepared for all contingencies. I found his knowledge of the law and courtroom abilities to be outstanding. It was very reassuring to have an attorney whom I could trust during what was a difficult personal crisis." - W.R.

WE CAN HELP YOU! Contact our Lawrenceville law office at 770-604-1380.

WHICH BANKRUPTCY IS BEST FOR ME?

The three most used bankruptcies are Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11. The other two bankruptcies are Chapter 9 and Chapter 12. Only municipal corporations (towns and cities) are eligible for a Chapter 9 and in order to qualify for a Chapter 12 you must earn your living by farming. We will, therefore, concentrate on the first three chapters.

A Chapter 7 is called a liquidation. Generally, you would file a Chapter 7 if you are unable to meet your regular financial obligations on a timely basis and you can no longer tolerate the collection calls or you are being sued by creditors. You will find more information on Chapter 7s later in this writing.

A Chapter 13 is a payment plan which allows you to catch up payments on debts, such as your mortgage or car loans over time, retain your property, and resume regular monthly payments. In order to qualify to file a Chapter 13, you must have a regular source of income, such as a steady paycheck or provable self-employment income. You will find more information on Chapter 13s later in this writing.

A Chapter 11 is a reorganization for corporations or individuals with large estates (large amounts of personal and/or real property). You will find more information on Chapter 11s later in this writing.

INFORMATION NEEDED TO PREPARE YOUR BANKRUPTCY PAPERS.

In order to prepare and file your bankruptcy, you will be required to provide all of your financial information to our office. You are required by law to list the name, address including zip code, account number, amount you owe and other important information concerning your creditors. A creditor is a person or company you owe money to on an ongoing basis. There are generally three types of creditors which are discussed later in this information sheet. A secured creditor is such as your mortgage company, banks or loan companies you financed cars, furniture, major appliances, electronic equipment, campers, lawn equipment, computers, stereo systems, etc., with, and credit card companies and charge cards with merchants. Someone who has a court judgment against you is secured and known as a judgment creditor. Judgment creditors may require special attention in your bankruptcy case; therefore, it is very important you notify your attorney of any judgment creditor and provide the attorney with all documents you may have concerning the lawsuit filed against you. If you no longer have the documents involved in the judgment, go to the court where you were sued and get a copy of the complaint, answer and the judgment. If you cannot provide this important information about the debt you owe as a result of the judgment, the debt may not be discharged.

You must also provide this office with detailed information concerning your financial affairs for the past several years. You will be required to provide this information in great detail; therefore, it is most important you provide all information requested on the forms we ask you to fill out. Remember, if it is discovered by the Court or trustee that you have not provided the information required, you may not be granted a discharge or your case may be dismissed. You are also required to list all of your real property (houses and land) and personal property in your schedules. Again, if the Court or trustee discovers you failed to list items of value in your schedules, you may not be given a discharge and/or you may lose the property you failed to list. We prefer you give us the most recent statement, invoice, contract, coupon book, copies of lawsuits and judgments, any documents served on you by a law enforcement officer, foreclosure notice, notices and letters from collection agencies or lawyers rather than handwritten or type-written notes.

It is suggested you acquire a current credit report to use as a check system in determining whether you have listed all of your creditors. We will not, however, use your credit report in preparing the bankruptcy petition and schedules. The credit report is strictly for your use in determining who you owe money. Remember, as a general rule utility companies (gas, electric and phone companies) may not report to credit reporting agencies; therefore, you should not rely on the credit report to determine this type of creditor. Additionally, you may have had a contract or lease agreement you breached that has not been reported to a credit reporting agency.

Many people ask, "I do not want to bankrupt against my house and car; do I have to list my mortgage company and car finance company?" Yes, you do. You must list all companies and people, including family and friends you owe money to at the time of your filing. If you are in a Chapter 13, your house and car are generally protected from foreclosure and repossession respectively unless you chose to surrender either or both of them. You must remember, however, a Chapter 13 is generally filed to stop foreclosures and repossessions. If you file a Chapter 7, your mortgaged home or financed cars and other financed possessions may be exposed to foreclosure or repossession if you are not current when you file and remain current during the pendency of your bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, if a foreclosure sale is not complete or the reposed car has not been sold, you may be able to keep your house or automobile.

Generally speaking, in a Chapter 7, if you are current with your mortgage payments, car payments, and the payments to other secured creditors when your case is filed and remain current throughout the pendency of your bankruptcy, you probably will not have any problems reaffirming those debts and keeping your house, cars and other secured items. Secured creditors do not want your house, car and other secured items —- they want your monthly payment. Therefore, it is very important to be current and remain current on the secured debts you wish to keep during the bankruptcy process. If you are not current with your secured payments prior to filing and/or you fall behind in your secured payments prior to your discharge, you may be assured the secured creditor will file a motion for relief from the bankruptcy stay. With very rare exceptions, the Court will grant their motion and the creditor will foreclose or repossess the secured house, car or other secured item. Remember, if a secured creditor files a motion for relief and you request your attorney get involved in negotiating a settlement with the creditor, an additional fee will be required. Generally, creditors will require you make up all payments missed plus pay their attorney fees, if any, before they agree to dismiss their motion for relief.

WHAT YOU MAY KEEP

In Georgia, debtors may retain:

1. $10,000 in real estate equity of your principal residence (the amount of property value in excess of liens on the real property);

2. Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation, veteran's benefits, disability benefits, and alimony;

3. $3,500 in equity in vehicles;

4. $300 in each of various items of household furnishings and wearing apparel, up to a total value of $5,000;

5. $500 in jewelry;

6. $1,500 in professional implements, books and tools of the trade; and

7. $600, plus $5,000 of the unused portion of the principal residence exception as a wild card.

8. Pretax IRAs, 401(k)s and most other pretax savings and retirement accounts, no matter how much money you have in the account.

There are other less common exemption rights. In addition, if the creditor holding a lien on a particular item of property consents, and the Bankruptcy Court finds that it is in your best interest, you may retain additional property by reaffirming the debt with the creditor and paying the creditor's claim pursuant to which you had previously agreed. It is important to remember that in a Chapter 7 the creditor does not have to let you reaffirm the debt and keep the secured property.

For an in depth look at what happens to you house or car when you file for bankruptcy, click on of the links below

YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR BANKRUPTCY

YOUR CAR OR TRUCK IN THE BANKRUPTCY

FILING THE BANKRUPTCY DOCUMENTS

After you sign your petition and schedules your attorney will file them with the clerk of the Bankruptcy Court. Generally we file them electronically over the Internet; however, on some occasions we will file them through the mail or by hand delivery to the clerk's office. If you are filing within one to three days prior to a foreclosure you are attempting to stop, you or a courier may be required to hand deliver the petition, plan and schedules to the court. It is, therefore, incumbent on you to be in a position to file your bankruptcy documents timely.

SAVE YOUR DOCUMENTS

In the event you need to provide proof of filing or proof of your discharge to a new creditor considering whether or not to issue credit after your discharge, and you no longer have copies of your petition or discharge notice, you will need to obtain copies from either the court or our office. Both my office and the court will charge a fee for the copies. The reason our office charges a fee is that after the discharge we send the file to storage and it requires time of our staff to retrieve the documents. Also, if you have given us copies or originals of documents you wish to have returned to you, please come to our office and retrieve the documents. We request you call ahead in order that we may have the documents ready when you arrive. If you do not request the documents be returned to you, we will assume you no longer want the documents and we will destroy them when we close your file. We generally close files within days of receiving notices of the discharge and closing of the estate.

The clerk of court (not your attorney) will send out notices of the bankruptcy to all listed creditors, you and your attorney. The mailing generally occurs in a week to 10 days following the filing. The notice will contain vital information; therefore, it is important you watch the mail for your copy of the notice. Additionally, you must supply this office with a mailing address that you generally receive your mail. If you have not received a copy of the notice of filing bankruptcy within three weeks of signing your petition and schedules, please call the office and notify us. You should also receive a letter from our office reminding you of the meeting of creditors. The notice you receive from the court will contain the following information concerning the meeting of creditors: 1) the date of the 341 meeting; 2) the location of the meeting; 3) the time of the meeting; 4) the room number of the meeting.

If you are in a Chapter 13, the notice will also contain the date of your confirmation hearing.

COLLECTION LETTERS OR PHONE CALLS AFTER THE FILING OF YOUR PETITION

If you receive any collection letters after your bankruptcy has been filed with the Court, do the following: Make a copy of the letter you received from the creditor or the creditor's collection agent or attorney and make a copy of the Notice of Filing of Bankruptcy you received from the Court, and mail both copied documents to the return address shown on the collection letter. If the creditor or collector continues to send you statements or collection letters, make a copy of both collection letters or statements you received and mail them to your attorney's office. Include in your mailing to the attorney a note stating that you have sent a copy of the Notice of Filing of Bankruptcy to the collector or creditor and they continue to send you collection notices.

If a creditor or its collection agent or attorney contacts you by phone, tell them you have filed bankruptcy, give then your attorney's name and phone number and wish them a good day and hang up the phone. Usually this information is enough to stop the creditor or collector from calling you. Do not let them engage you in a conversation! If they continue to call, get the name and phone number of the person calling and, if he or she will give you the information, his or her supervisor's name and phone number. And, as in the collection letters situation, mail or fax the information to your attorney's office

You will be required to have a meeting of creditors so that they may ask quesitons about why you are filing for bankruptcy. Click the link below for more details.

MEETING OF CREDITORS

 

There are many unique aspects about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy that distinguish it from Chapter 7 or Chapter 11. The Link Below will give you an in-depth look at Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

THE CHAPTER 13 PLAN

 

If you have debt that is secured, such as a lein on your car or home, then you may be able to exclude such debt from your bankruptcy. With a reaffirmation agreement, you may continue making payments on the debt and keep your property. Click below to read more about reaffirmation agreements.

REAFFIRMATION AGREEMENTS (Not applicable in a Chapter 13)

 

CREDIT REPORTS

Remember your credit reports will report the fact that you have filed bankruptcy for no less than seven years and up to 10 years. If you file a Chapter 13, the bankruptcy will remain on your report for the longer time of 10 years. You may get free credit reports from the credit reporting agencies. Generally, if you call them they will take your name and address and mail the report to you within several days. We strongly recommend you get a credit report around three months after you file your case and check it for accuracy. If you find inaccuracies in your credit report, we encourage you to purchase a product from Office Depot called EZ Credit Repair. This kit contains easy-to-follow instructions, form letters and the law pertaining to credit reporting. Our office generally does not become involved in credit reporting issues; however, if you request we become involved, we will charge a fee for this service at our hourly rate in effect at the time the services are rendered. You may also obtain your credit report online; however, the way in which to do that is beyond the scope of this writing.

THE DISCHARGE

If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should receive a discharge in six to eight months after you file. What is a discharge? A discharge is an order entered by the Court essentially relieving you of your debts and making them go away forever. There are, however, certain debts that will not be discharged. It is not the intent of this writing to cover all of those debts which are not dischargeable in bankruptcy; however, a few of the most common non-dischargeable debts are: student loans guaranteed by a governmental unit or nonprofit corporation; taxes not mentioned in the taxes section below; debts that have been determined to be incurred by fraud; alimony and child support; restitution for criminal acts; most criminal fines; personal injury and property damages caused by accidents while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should receive your discharge after completing your plan. The plan payments should include the payment of those non-dischargeable items mentioned above as well as arrears on your mortgage payment and the payment of car notes which do not exceed a payment period of 60 months. It should be noted that student loans may or may not be paid in the plan depending on the circumstances of the payback period. It should be noted that interest on unsecured debts being paid in the plan stops upon filing the Chapter 13 bankruptcy; however, secured debts, student loans and a few other debts continue accumulating interest after the filing.

LIFE AFTER BANKRUPTCY

It goes without saying, the ability to acquire credit after filing any form of bankruptcy is difficult. Generally, auto dealers will arrange the financing of a car when you present them with your discharge document. You will, however, expect the interest rate to be in the high teens or low twenties. Most mortgage institutions will no longer consider your bankruptcy as a negative when qualifying you for a mortgage when two and one-half years have passed since the filing of your bankruptcy. There are several good books containing good information on how to reestablish your credit after bankruptcy. You are encouraged to purchase one at your local bookstore or on the Internet or check one out of your local library and read it.

Contact Us

From our office in Lawrenceville, our lawyers represent clients in communities throughout Gwinnett County and Walton County, Georgia. Call us at 770-604-1380 or contact us by email to arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced Lawrenceville bankruptcy lawyers today. At your first meeting, we will determine if you should file for bankruptcy and what information you will need to get started.

You said you would take care of me and you did! I can't believe how good you were! When the trial started I was scared to death, but as I watched you in the courtroom I became confident and realized you had everything under control.... read on review website

Tyler Moore did a remarkable job representing me. He was very thorough, honest, and well prepared for my case. I found that he was always accessible to answer any questions and clarify anything that was unclear. read on review website

Katie one of the Paralegals and Tyler one of the lawyers were so helpful. They were able to assist me with some matters that I didn't even realize I needed. They were just great. They cover so many issues. They certainly took a load off my back. read on review website

I have retained Sherry Lankford in a domestic matter and I find her approach to be refreshing. She is aggressive and encouraging. I felt very comfortable talking with her and very quickly realized we selected the correct attorney to handle this case. read on review website

Stacy Garguilo is one of the best attorneys I have ever met. She is on top of her game. She can be blunt at times which I found it very helpful. I hired her for a child custody modification and she laid out my case with truth and honesty.... read on review website

I was represented by another lawyer and after spending thousands of dollars and never getting anywhere I was referred to Daniels & Taylor. They won me custody of my son. They helped me prove my case and keep my emotions at arms length... read on review website

Great firm. Very helpful and caring staff. My family has used the firm for several different matters and got great results everytime. I would recommend to anyone in need of legal services. read on review website

Warm, caring professional. John has helped me formulate my will and a number of other vital personal legal documents. He is an intelligent, articulate professional attorney who was the epitome of what a great lawyer really needs to be... read on review website

Very personable, direct to the point, and efficient. read on review website

I went to see this firm for bankrutpcy advice. They were very pleasant and very informative. They were upfront, honest and weren't out for making money off of me! read on review website

Knowlegeable dedicated to their clients' success, I loved their services. read on review website

It was a great outcome with excellent service! Would highly recommended this company and will use them in the future if needed read on review website

Outstanding Lawyer I have had the pleasure of having Stacy represent me in a criminal case. She was very diligent and kept me up to date as my case progressed. She worked very hard on my behalf and got me a fair and just outcome... read on review website

The support staff at the office were wonderful, but let's face one retains an attorney for the attorney's services, not the staff. Our family's experience was dismal. read on review website

Daniels & Taylor is a fantastic firm to visit for your legal needs. Whether you are getting a divorce, need to get out of debt, need a Will drafted or have a personal injury claim, you will be treated with care and concern. read on review website

I had a great experience with this firm. I had a traffic offense in Avondale Estates. Sherry Lankford handled my case and was able to help me. Court is never where you want to be, but I was in and out quickly and my charges were dropped! read on review website

Daniels & Taylor made my traffic violation go away when I needed assistance. I live in North Carolina and needed assistance with a traffic violation in the Atlanta area. I did not appear one time and we were able to resolve everything via email ... read on review website

I loved my lawyer. Tyler did an excellent job, he was very professional and beat my case with EXCELLENT results. Thanks Tyler!!!! (: read on review website

Wonderful attorney Mr. Smith handled my case last year and let me know exactly what was going on every step of the way. He worked out strategies with me that we used during trial and I was really pleased with the outcome. I felt like he handled my case better than my original attorney ever did. read on review website

I highly recommend Daniels & Taylor! They are simply the best at what they do and always had my best interests in mind from the very beginning. They handled my divorce expertly and I will definitely go right to them any time I need legal help... read on review website

My lawyer was very nice and explained things to me in a clear manor. Our first paralegal was both sick (bad cold) and about to leave the firm. She forgot to have us sign some papers. We sent in the signed papers, but in the transition they were lost for a few weeks. Someone finally found them and things proceeded fine after that. I wasn't happy with the 3 week delay. read on review website

They were so very helpful and we're able to explain everything step by step when it came to my divorce. Made it easy and hassle free for me and took care of business. read on review website

Tony Taylor has helped me with several family law needs. He has always been understanding and very knowledgeable. read on review website

Pro Attorney. Ms. Garguilo represented me in traffic case that could have resulted in jail time. Instead we spent 15 minutes in court and I ended up with very moderate fines. She knows the law and the system and is an invaluable resource. read on review website

Exceptional. He is without a doubt more honorable than any attorney I have used. John Smith is a man with integrity and you can trust him. I highly recommend this Attorney. read on review website

I was more than pleased and impressed with the work Tony did for me and my family. He helped me and was solid in his execution of every legal matter disscussed both in and out of court. He was able to keep my daughter protected and gave me peace of mind during a very difficult time of my life... read on review website

I contacted this office for help in step-parent adoption. We decided to move forth with my husband adopting my son from a previous relationship. Everyone in this office was an absolute pleasure to work with. They walked us through the entire process step by step and treated us as a friend... read on review website

Mr.Tyler Moore was a smooth operator. Made my worries disappear! Highly Recommended. read on review website

I was represented by Stacy Garguilo and, She was exceptional. She not only met my expectations of what I hoped as an outcome but, exceeded them as well. She was Always responsive in a timely fashion... read on review website

Trustworthy, Accurate & Experienced... A GOOD PERSON! I have enjoyed working with his firm, DANIELS & TAYLOR, for over 20 years AND will continue to utilize the services they have represented for my family and I in the past... read on review website

He helped save my Drivers License. Having an ex-prosecutor on my side proved to be a huge advantage. He really saved my skin! read on review website

Mr. Moore gives great advice and he is easy to talk to. He helped me stop harassment by an old Apartment asking for money when I moved out. He wrote one letter and the harassment stopped. Highly recommended! read on review website

I have had the pleasure of having Stacy represent me in a criminal case. She is a nonstop machine, working hard for my needs. When my court day finally arrived, Stacy was prepared with all the necessary paperwork, jury questions, witnesses and worked with the solicitor to get the outcome we had discussed... read on review website

I would recommend this firm. Clearly articulated their services and pricing structure and efficiently handled my case. read on review website

I have retained Sherry Lankford in a domestic matter and I find her approach to be refreshing. She is aggressive and encouraging. I felt very comfortable talking with her and very quickly realized we selected the correct attorney to handle this case. Sherry and her team jumped quickly and completed a task in less than s that normally requires two weeks... read on review website

Stacy Garguilo is one of the best attorneys I have ever met. She can be blunt at times but I found it very helpful as she would not promise the world and deliver nothing close to the expectations. I hired her for a child custody modification and she laid out my case with truth and honesty. read on review website