The Bankruptcy Process

What Should You Expect When You File for Personal Bankruptcy?

It is no small decision to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Most people in Minnesota do not want anyone to know that they are having trouble making ends meet. The truth is, though, thousands of your friends and neighbors throughout the Midwest know exactly what you are going through, because they have been through the process. They will not necessarily tell you, of course, but many people have been in your shoes.

At Burns & Hansen, P.A., we want you to know that we understand. As your legal representative, we will handle your personal bankruptcy matter with compassion and confidentiality. We will answer all of your questions thoroughly and honestly. If a problem comes up, we will let you know about it. Through it all, you have the benefit of knowing that you have a lawyer on your side, dealing with creditors and collections agencies, looking for every legal opportunity to help your family get the fresh start you need and deserve.

It might help to know what to expect when you file personal bankruptcy. It is not a terrible process, but it is a legal matter that is dealt with by the courts. That means that your creditors will have a say in the matter and attorneys, trustees and judges will be involved. But that is our job, and we have effectively represented clients for a number of years.

What Happens When You File Chapter 7?

You will take a bankruptcy means test to determine whether you qualify to eliminate your unsecured debt through Chapter 7. If you qualify, your petition will receive a hearing in front of a bankruptcy trustee of the court in 30 to 45 days. The trustee will review the documents to make sure your case fits the requirements, or should be referred to the Chapter 13 process.

Your personal bankruptcy attorney will handle everything and keep you informed about progress. There are typically some additional records you will be asked to supply. You will be required to attend the court proceeding for the final disposition of your case, where lawyers on your creditors' side will have an opportunity to argue for excluding certain debts from your petition, or reclaiming property. In most cases, credit card debt and other unsecured debt will be discharged within 90 to 120 days after your initial trustee hearing.

What Happens When You File Chapter 13?

Based on the bankruptcy means test, some people do not qualify to eliminate their debt under Chapter 7 and must file to restructure and repay their debt through a court-supervised Chapter 13 plan. Often, people may actually find it to their advantage to protect themselves by filing Chapter 13, because it allows them to consolidate their student loans, tax debt and all other debts obligations into one affordable monthly payment plan. Chapter 13 may not be your first choice, but it will do many of the things you need your bankruptcy to do, including stopping foreclosure and car repossession and ending the harassing collections calls.

Your debt settlement petition will be heard before a bankruptcy court hearing and a trustee will be assigned to work with your attorney to develop an affordable monthly payment plan, typically over a three to five year period. After the trustee approves of the plan, you will appear at a second hearing for the final disposition of your case. The trustee will supervise your plan throughout the period of repayment.

Stop creditor harassment immediately. Contact us today to discuss your financial circumstances. From our offices in Minneapolis, we represent clients throughout Minnesota.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.