7 STEPS TO SUCCESS - MAKING CHAPTER 7 AS EASY AS POSSIBLE
The process of filing for bankruptcy can definitely be challenging and complicated. My goal is to simplify the complicated and make hard stuff easy. So what I am doing here is giving my clients a simple roadmap that they can follow to a successful Chapter 7. We are not going to get involved with complex legal principles. We are going to simplify, and give you an easy framework to follow. Please follow this roadmap to success, and you can easily and quickly wipe out your bills and get a fresh start. From start to finish it takes about 4 months.
The ultimate goal: You want to get a "DISCHARGE". This means that your debts have been wiped out - they have been legally forgiven by the federal government, and none of the creditors that were harassing and bothering and bugging you before, well, forget about it. They will no longer have any power over you. You have shifted the balance of power. Isn't it time that you took charge and control? You will no longer have to worry about those billion dollar credit card companies, those medical bills, personal loans, payday loans, old income taxes, unpaid utility bills, wage garnishments, frozen bank accounts, lawsuits, and other unsecured debts that have been discharged.
Get that Discharge, and you can hopefully look forward to a much brighter financial future for yourself and your loved ones. Play your cards right and you can be eligible for future credit cards, future auto loans, and future mortgages. Yes, you just might be able to buy and finance the home of your dreams in a couple of years.
Step 1 LET'S TALK.
1) We're happy to give you a totally free consultation. With Covid being what it is right now, we have to limit our office consultations. We'll happily give you as much time as you need to speak with Seymour on the phone or using Zoom.
2) Here's some of the stuff we'll talk about:
a) What are some of your biggest challenges and worries right now?
b) What do you believe caused your present financial challenges?
c) How have you been feeling lately?
d) How do you feel about your future?
e)) What are some of your goals?
f) If we could wave a magic wand and get you what you want, what would you ask us to accomplish for you?
g) Of course, we'll also have to ask you about your income, your expenses, your bills, stuff you own, and some other questions about your finances. If you are going to file for bankruptcy, the rules require you to make complete financial disclosure for yourself and your spouse or partner. We will also need your tax returns for the last 2 years, proof of income for the last 6 months, and copies of your bank statements for the last 3 months.If you are being sued, we will need copies of any lawsuit papers that you have received.
Step 2 WE NEED LOT'S OF STUFF FROM YOU.
a) We will give you a list of the documents you have to get to us as quickly as possible. This is very critical and very important, and this could very well be your biggest challenge. Once you get us what we need, it should be all downhill from there.
b) We have to stress how important this step is. If you don't get us the stuff we need, we can't file your case with the court, and this will delay the official start of your case.
c) You are meeting with us because you need relief from those creditors and bill collectors. You will get that relief once your case is officially filed with the bankruptcy court, so we need your complete cooperation in getting us all of the documents, papers, and information we need.
d) I'm completely serious in telling you that this is usually the most challenging part of your case. We have to have this stuff to get the paperwork properly done and get your case filed.
e) Once your case is filed with the court, you shift the balance of power. The creditors have lost the control that they have had over you up to this point
f) Once your case has been filed, you can let go of all of your fears, worries, and anxieties over the overwhelming debt you have been facing. It's time to start thinking about the brighter future that hopefully lies ahead for you and your loved ones.
g) One more thing. Before we can officially get your case filed, you need to do a pretty simple credit counseling class which you can do online or by phone. It takes about half an hour, and it will probably cost you about $10. We like our clients to use www.ccadvising.com
Step 3: WE NEED TO GET PAID, AND WE'VE GOT A LOT OF PAPERWORK TO DO FOR YOU.
a) For many years I used to tell clients, "I know you're short on money, so how about if you pay me half of the legal fee, we'll file your case, and then we'll work out a payment plan for the rest." I was happy to work with my clients on payment for our fees, but then the courts issued some decisions that required me to change my procedures.
b) In plain English, here's what the courts have said. (This is my interpretation) "Chapter 7 is very powerful, and it usually wipes out pretty much all of the debts you owed before you filed your bankruptcy case. So if you haven't paid your lawyer in full for all of the work that they have done, well, then your lawyer is a pre bankruptcy creditor, and just like everyone else you owe money to, your debt to your lawyer will be wiped out." That sort of creates a conflict of interest between the client and the lawyer.
c) In light of the above, we follow this policy: We want to be as helpful and as flexible and as reasonable as possible with our clients, but we also have to abide by the rules. Therefore, we are happy to work out a payment plan with you, if you need one. If you are getting calls from the bill collectors, and they are annoying you, then you can simply tell them that you have hired us as your lawyer, and tell them to call us. When they call, we will of course confirm that you are our client, and by federal law, they will have to stop calling you or otherwise bothering you. So you will have the immediate opportunity to breathe a whole lot easier and hopefully sleep a lot better.
d) Once you have paid us in full for our fee and the court filing fee, and once all of the paperwork has been completed and signed, we will happily file your Chapter 7 petition.
e) The chapter 7 bankrutpcy petition is long and somewhat complicated. But don't worry, once you have given us everything we need, we will make it as simple as possible for you, and we will do all of the paperwork. We will of course have to ask you a lot of questions, because the bankruptcy petition requires us to find out all this stuff about you and your finances. Realistically, its probably going to require one to two hours of meeting or speaking with you for us to get all of the questions properly answered. Don't worry, we will make it as painless as possible.
Step 4: LET'S REVIEW EVERYTHING WITH YOU, AND THEN YOU SIGN YOUR PETITION.
a) It's now time to meet with Seymour or one of our other attorneys to review the bankruptcy petition that we have prepared for you.
b) You will be swearing that all of the information we have provided, and all of the questions we have answered are completely true and accurate
c) Obviously, if you remember something that you forgot about before, let us know, so we can change, correct, or add to anything that we have set forth in the petition.
d) Also, please bring us updated bank statements and most recent pay stubs or other proof of income.
e) Once you are comfortable that everything in your petition is complete, accurate, and truthful, you can sign the paperwork where required.
f) We are now ready to file your petition, and once that takes place, you are now completely protected from your crseditors. Any lawsuits against you have to immediately stop, wage garnishments stop, any freeze on your bank account is lifted, and hopefully you feel a new sense of freedom and relief.
Step 5: PHONE CONFERENCE WITH THE LAWYER WHO IS ACTING AS TRUSTEE
a) You don't have to worry about going to the courthouse any more. Your meeting with the trustee takes place by phone.
b) It is usually scheduled for a date about 4 or 5 weeks after your petition has been filed.
c) Don't worry about this meeting. As long as you have fully and truthfully disclosed everything in the bankruptcy paperwork, the meeting should be pretty easy, and unless you have a complex case, we'd be surprised if the meeting takes more than 5 minutes.
d) Here's another benefit of doing this by phone. They schedule about 5 cases for every 30 minutes. You will be on a conference call with 4 or 5 other people who are waiting for their names to be called. Unless you are the first in line, you will be able to listen as the trustee asks some very simple questions of the other people. And guess what, the trustee will be asking you pretty much the same questions, so there is nothing to be worried about.
The trustees are nice people. They are not out to get you. They just want to make sure that all of the information in your paperwork is accurate, complete, and truthful, and that you fully understand the process. We will of course have prepared you in advance for this meeting, and Seymour or one of our other attorneys will be on the phone line with you.
e) When the meeting is over, you will hopefully be smiling and saying to yourself, "I can't believe how easy that was. I feel great, and I'm ready to get my fresh start."
f) Sometimes the trustee keeps the meeting open for another date. This happens if the trustee needs some additional documents from you or has some other follow up questions that will need to be answered at a later. This doesn't usually happen, but once in a while additional information is needed, and if that pertains to your case, the trustee will give us a reasonable amount of time to give us the opportunity to supply what is needed.
Step 6: VERY IMPORTANT - DON'T FORGET TO TAKE THAT NEXT CLASS
a) All of the work you have done up to this point will be totally wasted unless you do this: You must complete a class called something like Debtor Education and Financial Management.
b) We'll show you how to do it online or by phone. The cost is about $25. The purpose of the class is to give you some advice on how to manage your money in the future, how to re-establish your credit, and stuff like that. It's all pretty basic.
c) They will give you a certificate of completion, and this has to be filed with the court. This is very important. If you don't do this, your case will not be successfully completed, and your case will be closed without a discharge. That would be a terrible result, and you don't want that to happen. If it does happen, this mistake can be corrected, but it could cost you around $600 and lots of additional paperwork to get this mistake corrected, so please don't let this happen. Our team will be after you to help you get this class done on time, but if you don't get it done on time, be prepared for the negative consequences.
d) Once you have finished your debtor education, and the certificate is filed with the court, you can breathe a whole lot easier as you patiently wait for the court to send you your discharge.
Step 5: GET THAT DISCHARGE AND CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORY OVER DEBT.
a) You are now coming down the home stretch. It will probably take about 3 months after your meeting until you get your discharge.
b) While you are waiting, you might get some good news in the mail, that looks a little scary. If you own a home, you will probably get a notice called something like "Notice of Abandonment of Propety." This notice also refers to a potential future court date. This looks like scary stuff, but its actually great news. It means that the trustee is abandoning any potential claims against your property, and you get to keep your home as long as you keep paying your mortgage. So be happy when you get that scary notice. It's really great news.
c) That discharge should be coming in the mail pretty soon. Don't worry its going to get there, but if for some strange reason you don't have it within 3 months of your trustee meeting, give us a call, and we'll find out what's going on.
d) You are pretty much legally free of debt once you have that discharge. You have won't the war. You have achieved victory over those big billion dollar banks, those big billion dollar credit card companies, and all of your other creditors. If you know your Bible, it's sort of like David defeating the Giant Goliath. You have slain the corporate giants and achieved your victory over debt. You should be feeling great. You deserve it.
e) Bankruptcy can be a true blessing for you, and the dawning of a new day. Many people say that bankruptcy is based on principles in the Bible, in the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy, which speaks of forgiveness of debt.
f) Bankruptcy is also based on principles of debt forgiveness in the United States Constitution. So don't let anyone try to make you feel bad that you have filed for bankruptcy. What you have done is perfectly legal, moral, and ethical. The federal government has granted you and millions of others the relief that you have desperately needed.
g) Now its up to you. The ball is in your court. Your fresh start is waiting. You can decide to take charge and take control over your financial life in the future.
h) Keep in mind that we are here for you any time you need us. If necessary, we can probably help you if you want to finance a car or buy a house and get a mortgage in the future. We are committed to helping our clients have future success, and all you ever have to do is pick up the phone and give us a call.
i) Good Luck, Mazel Tov, and Blessings for a Hopefully Fabulous Future. You deserve the best.