Filing for bankruptcy can be stressful and depressing, but it can also be just what you need to finally get out of debt. If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, know you must attend a bankruptcy hearing before your debts can be wiped clean. Check out these four frequently asked questions regarding your Chapter 7 bankruptcy hearing.
What Items Will You Need at the Hearing?
You'll need to bring a lot of documents with you to the hearing. Your attorney will likely bring most of the documents, but you will need to bring your own government ID (driver's license, military license, etc.) and your Social Security card. These items are to prove your identity so no one else can file bankruptcy behind your back.
Depending on what you own, you will also need to bring a lot of other documents, such as car titles, home deeds, etc. Even if you aren't filing bankruptcy on something, such as your home, you'll need to bring all the necessary documentation, so the court can understand your debts as a whole. Talk with your attorney about what other paperwork you'll need to bring.
Will You Be Under Oath?
During the hearing, you are under oath, but don't let that scare you. Although it is called a "hearing," it's not a traditional court hearing. You aren't in a court room, and there is no judge. Instead, you speak with the trustee, who will record the hearing. Everything you tell the trustee must be truthful and honest, as you are under oath. If they can prove you lied, you may be arrested for perjury.
You and the trustee are not alone in the room, however. Typically, there is an audience made up of other people who are filing for bankruptcy. Therefore, if your appointment is scheduled for 9 AM, it doesn't mean you'll speak with the trustee at 9 AM. It means you should be in the audience by 9 AM. You may not get called until almost 10 AM.
What Will You Be Asked?
Once it's your turn, your name is called, and the trustee will ask you many questions. Different trustees ask different questions, and different states may have different regulations regarding what needs to be asked. However, the questions are mostly designed to ensure you are who you claim to be, identify all your debts and determine if you qualify for bankruptcy.
It's imperative that you answer every question as truthfully as possible. Some of the questions can seem confusing, especially if you have an abnormal case. However, your attorney will ensure you have all the answers needed before the hearing.
Will Your Creditors Be Present?
Your creditors are allowed to come to the hearing. In fact, they can even ask you questions. For many people, this can seem overwhelming, but you shouldn't worry. It's rare for creditors to attend the hearing, especially ones for personal loans and credit cards because they know it's likely a waste of time.
You may have creditors come if you are not filing bankruptcy on some items. For example, you may choose to not file bankruptcy on your car because you'll be able to afford it and will need it. If this is the case, the car lender may come to ensure you do plan on continuing to repay the loan. Creditors may also attend if information in your bankruptcy case is extremely different from information you put on your loan application, as it may void the loan.
Don't let the hearing scare you away from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While you are under oath, the questions are simple, and your attorney will prep you. For more information, contact an attorney who offers bankruptcy law services in your area today.