Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is the single most common type of bankruptcy filed in the United States. Let me tell you a little bit about the process in Illinois.

First, you must determine if Chapter 7 makes sense for you. Our firm offers free consultations to help you make that important decision.  

After you have determined it makes sense, you’ll be asked to gather all your financial records like bank statements, credit card statements, loan documents, pay stubs and tax returns. The attorney will need this information to fill out the bankruptcy petition.

Before you file, most people have to take a Credit Counseling course. The purpose of the course is so that you will be better informed and educated regarding your financial situation.  

The course can be done in person, online or by phone. You must also complete the Debtor Education Course, which is the second part of the Credit Counseling Course, before your bankruptcy is finished.

Prior to filing bankruptcy, you must successfully pass the means test. The means test determines whether your income is low enough for you to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you pass the means test, and complete the credit counseling class, you will be able to review and approve your petition before your attorney electronically files it.

Usually, 3 or 4 days after its filed, the court will issue a notice to your creditors listed on the bankruptcy petition, providing the date and time of your meeting of creditors, also known as the 341 meeting.  

During the 341 meeting, the bankruptcy trustee will ask you questions about the bankruptcy petition to determine if you are eligible for a discharge. It normally takes about 5 – 8 minutes.

Should the trustee find the need to investigate the bankruptcy further, the 341 meeting may be continued to a future date. Otherwise, the meeting will be concluded, and you will be on your way.  

If the trustee and the creditors do not object to you discharging the debts, no complaint is filed, and you have completed the Debtor Education course, the bankruptcy court will give you an order of discharge about 60 – 90 days after the 341 meeting.

Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy may help you get a fresh start, you need to understand all the benefits and consequences of filing bankruptcy. For more information, and to determine if Chapter 7 bankruptcy will work for you, please call The Evans Williams Law Group to schedule a free bankruptcy consultation. We look forward to working with you.

Cathe R. Evans Williams

Managing Attorney

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