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When is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case Over?

If you’re feeling frustrated, anxious, or depressed because of financial debt, consider filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Under Chapter 7, all of your debt is liquidated and you are allowed to keep your property. This is good news if you have been making late payments on your mortgage or car loan and worry about losing either your home or your means of transportation. One of the most common questions we hear as bankruptcy attorneys is, “When will my Chapter 7 bankruptcy case end?” If you’re considering this form of debt liquidation, read on to learn how long your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case could last. Chapter 7 Discharge The timing of the discharge varies depending on the chapter under which the case is filed. For Chapter 7 cases, the court usually grants the discharge three to four months after the date you file a petition with the clerk of the bankruptcy court. However, if there are assets for the trustee to administer or lawsuits to pursue, your case can stay open much longer. Final Decree Most people think Chapter 7 bankruptcy ends with the discharge notice, but this is not correct. The case does not officially end until a document called the Final Decree is entered by the court. The Final Decree is only entered by the court once the trustee has reported that all of the assets have been administers and the money recovered has been paid to creditors who have filed claims. Case Dismissal If your case is dismissed, your involvement ends and you have no further duties or responsibilities under the bankruptcy law. This also means that creditors are free to pursue collection as if the bankruptcy never happened. That’s why it’s important that you prepare your bankruptcy petition with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. If you need help eliminating your financial burdens and frustrations, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Low & Low. Our bankruptcy law firm serves Elizabeth, Jersey City, Hackensack, and West New York. Visit our website or call us at (201) 546-5753 to schedule your initial consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy lawyers.

Reasons Your Bankruptcy Case Might be Dismissed

Bankruptcy is a complicated legal process. If you fail to comply with any applicable laws or local rules, the bankruptcy court or trustee overseeing your petition can dismiss your bankruptcy case. Typically, causes for bankruptcy dismissal range from intentional misconduct (fraud) to simply failing to file the correct forms with the court. If you lie on your bankruptcy petition, whether intentionally or not, the court will typically dismiss your case and report you for further legal investigation. Your bankruptcy case might also be dismissed if you fail the means test, which is a comparison of your average income for the six-month period prior to filing your case against the median state income for similar households. Your bankruptcy case can even be dismissed for something as simple as not filing all required forms or submitting all supporting documents. Considering how easy it is to miss something, you are advised to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Here at Low & Low Bankruptcy Lawyers, we will oversee every step of your bankruptcy case to help eliminate your financial burdens and frustrations. Call us today at (201) 546-5753 to get started!

Working with Your Bankruptcy Trustee

If you’re behind on your mortgage payment, living paycheck to paycheck because of credit card debt, or just feeling anxious or depressed due to your financial situation, bankruptcy may be your best and only solution. In addition to your bankruptcy lawyer, another person you’ll meet is a bankruptcy trustee. The trustee administers the bankruptcy estate and generally moves your case through the bankruptcy process until it’s complete. This brief article will guide you through the duties and responsibilities of your bankruptcy trustee so you know what to expect when working with this individual. Primary Trustee Duties One of the most important duties of the trustee is to administer the bankruptcy estate, which is the property and related rights of someone who files a bankruptcy petition. For all non-exempt property, the trustee must collect estate property, convert it to cash, and divide the proceeds amongst the creditors. The trustee also handles intangible property (stocks and licenses, for example) and voids certain transactions involving estate property. Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Responsibilities Trustee duties vary somewhat, depending on the type of bankruptcy case. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the trustee has the duty to administer the case and represent the interests of unsecured creditors. In these cases, the trustee will investigate the debtor’s assets and send required notices to the parties involved. For Chapter 13, a trustee has added duties related to administering the debtor’s reorganization payment plan. Your trustee make sure all payments are made on time and in full. Here at Low & Low Bankruptcy Lawyers, we can help eliminate your financial burdens and frustrations. Visit one of our four locations in Elizabeth, Jersey City, Hackensack, and West New York. Contact us online or call us at (201) 546-5753 to speak with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys about your case.

Understanding Bankruptcy's Limitations

Bankruptcy is used by countless Americans every year to get out of debt and regain their financial independence. However, filing for bankruptcy does not automatically wipe out all of your debts. In fact, there are quite a few types of debt that cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, including child support, alimony, student loans, federal income tax, and employer withholding taxes. Furthermore, bankruptcy does not wipe out mortgages or car loans. If the debtor wishes to keep his home or vehicle, he must continue to make payments agreed upon by the bankruptcy court or trustee. Watch this video to learn more about the limitations of bankruptcy. To understand how bankruptcy can help you and your family, contact the law team at Low & Low Bankruptcy Lawyers. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys serve residents throughout the Garden State with locations in Elizabeth, Hackensack, Jersey City, and West New York. Contact us online or call us at (201) 546-5753 to schedule your initial consultation with one of our bankruptcy lawyers.

What is a Bankruptcy Audit?

Bankruptcy is a powerful tool. Unfortunately bankruptcy is routinely abused, which is why federal bankruptcy watchdogs attempt to ferret out fraud by auditing consumer debtors. If your bankruptcy case is audited and the U.S. Trustee’s office finds evidence of fraud, it could lead to the dismissal of your case or even criminal penalties. Filing with a bankruptcy attorney is one way to make sure that your claim is accurate and to the letter of the law, but it doesn’t completely eliminate your chances of being audited. To help you prepare in the event that your claim is audited for accuracy, here is a closer look at the bankruptcy audit process. Random vs. Non-Random Selection Random and non-random selection are two ways that the U.S. Trustee selects bankruptcy cases for audit. U.S. bankruptcy law permits the U.S. Trustee to randomly audit one out of every 1,000 Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 cases filed. The U.S. Trustee’s office will also audit bankruptcy cases based on red flags in the petition, such as when the debtor’s income and expenses greatly vary from those of most filers in their filing district. Bankruptcy Audit Procedures After identifying a case for audit, the U.S. Trustee selects an audit firm to conduct the audit. The firm will review the debtor’s petition, schedules, and documents and verify the debtor’s income, expenses, and assets reported therein. The firm has three weeks (21 days) to complete the audit and submit its report to the U.S. Trustee’s office. If the firm discovers material misstatements, the debtor must then provide evident that explains the misstatements. Even if you don’t mean to commit fraud, it can be easy to accidently misstate your income, expenses, or assets when filing bankruptcy on your own. To make sure that your claim is accurate and legal, contact Low & Low Bankruptcy Lawyers of Hackensack, NJ. At Low & Low, our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will help you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 and defend you should your case be audited by the U.S. Trustee. Call us today at (201) 546-5753 to schedule your free consultation.

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