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The Bankruptcy Process

Minnesota Bankruptcy Attorney

Providing bankruptcy information in Minneapolis • St. Paul • Edina • Bloomington • Eden Prairie • St. Louis Park • Roseville and all of Minnesota

Minnesota bankruptcy attorneys at Neff Law Firm, P.A., are aware that consumers may have more than one legal issue at the same time. These skilled attorneys are available to help a debtor assess their situation to see what legal steps can be taken to address all of their legal concerns. A Minnesota bankruptcy attorney may provide legal assistance in assessing the potential for relief with more than one legal case type. A debtor can meet to consult with a Minnesota attorney for more than one legal issue including bankruptcy, business related problems, creditor harassment, criminal charges or civil litigation. Neff Law Firm's Minnesota bankruptcy attorneys are available to go over a client's current legal issues including burdensome financial pressures. These Minnesota bankruptcy attorneys are sensitive to the significant part that debt related pressures may have on a consumer.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Personal Bankruptcy Information

Personal bankruptcy is a complex legal process, and not something to be undertaken without the help of an experienced Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer. Preparing your bankruptcy paperwork incorrectly could mean failure to discharge qualifying debts — and possible legal action against you if you knowingly presented false information about your financial situation.

By working with an experienced Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer, you ensure that:

  • You have complete bankruptcy information: You understand the bankruptcy process and all eligibility requirements, including the means test
  • You know which type of bankruptcy is best for your situation (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13)
  • You have secured an effective benefit that bankruptcy can offer you.

Minnesota Chapter 7 and 13 Debt Relief and Bankruptcy Attorneys

The Minneapolis and St. Paul personal bankruptcy lawyers at Neff Law Firm, P.A., are devoted to helping clients get back on their feet financially. At your initial consultation, we will answer your bankruptcy questions and make sure you have all the bankruptcy information you need. We will also acquaint you with other potential debt relief options.

If you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in Minnesota, contact the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at the Neff Law Firm., P.A. With offices in Edina (Minneapolis) and Roseville (St. Paul), we are convenient to people across the Twin Cities.

Step 1: Credit Counseling

Under the new (2005) bankruptcy law, there are two credit counseling steps for a debtor to fulfill before they can file for bankruptcy: a) an "individual or group briefing" from a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency, and b) an instructional course in personal financial management.

Step 2: Filing for Bankruptcy

The first step in the bankruptcy process is preparing and filing a bankruptcy petition with the clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In the petition, you are asking for protection under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Along with the bankruptcy petition, you must include all required schedules and statements and pay the filing fee. These statements provide information about:

  • Your debts (liabilities), such as mortgages and car loans, credit card debt, medical bills, student loans, tax debts, personal loans, retirement fund loans, loans against life insurance policies, etc.
  • Monthly living expenses, including alimony and child support payments
  • Assets and income from every source

Step 3: Order of Relief

When your bankruptcy petition is filed it will initiate an order for relief, which includes an "automatic stay." An automatic stay prevents your creditors from taking any further collection actions against you. While the stay is in place, creditors must stop harassing phone calls, stop any legal proceedings to repossess your car or other property, stop any foreclosure proceedings, and stop wage garnishment.

The automatic stay is not permanent, and it does not prevent every debt collection action against you in every situation. Talk with your bankruptcy lawyer about your specific situation.

Step 4: A Trustee Is Appointed by the Court

While a bankruptcy judge may decide issues such as eligibility to file, the duties (rights) of the debtor, and whether a debtor should receive a discharge of debts, in most cases people will have limited contact with the bankruptcy judge.

  • In Chapter 7, you will not see a judge unless the bankruptcy is contested by your creditors
  • In Chapter 13, you will appear before the bankruptcy judge at a plan confirmation hearing

After the bankruptcy petition is filed, the court will appoint a trustee who will oversee the case, ensuring that the bankruptcy plan is followed and creditors are paid. It is very important to be cooperative in all matters related to the bankruptcy, especially when dealings with the trustee.

Step 5: Hearings and Meeting of Creditors (Also Called 341 Meetings)

A person filing for bankruptcy should expect to attend at least one bankruptcy hearing. This hearing is referred to as the "meeting of creditors" and is held approximately 30 days after the bankruptcy petition is filed with the court.

At that meeting of creditors, your creditors will have an opportunity to question the details of financial documents, debts and assets. They may ask the court to deny the bankruptcy petition. They will certainly seek to have their debt paid as fully and favorably as possible.

In the case of Chapter 13, a confirmation hearing will be held in which the court approves or disapproves the debtor's proposed repayment plan. This hearing takes place before the bankruptcy judge.

Step 6: Handling Assets and Debts

This stage of the bankruptcy process will differ based upon whether you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 debt relief.

  • Liquidating Assets Under Chapter 7: In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor is required to turn over to the trustee all assets identified as "non-exempt". Bankruptcy law allows for non-exempt assets to be sold (after an appraisal) and the proceeds of that sale to be given to creditors according to priorities set by bankruptcy law. If there are no non-exempt assets (and there often are not), creditors will receive nothing. If a debtor in Chapter 7 wants to retain secured property (keep some property for which he or she has a loan), the debtor can sign a written "reaffirmation agreement" agreeing to repay the debt. Another option to retain non-exempt property is to redeem it for the fair market value.
  • Discharge of Debt Under Chapter 13: Under Chapter 13 debtors retain their property and make payments to the bankruptcy trustee, who will make payments to creditors. The debtor is protected from lawsuits, garnishments, and other creditor actions while the Chapter 13 repayment plan is in place.

Step 7: Discharge of Debts

This is the final stage of bankruptcy where the bankruptcy is complete and all debts are discharged (forgiven).

  • Under Chapter 7, a debtor normally receives a discharge of all qualified debts a few months after the bankruptcy petition is filed - after the liquidation of assets, if there were any.
  • Under Chapter 13, the debtor receives a discharge of debts after his or her repayment plan has been completed.

Convenient Minnesota Offices in Edina, Minnesota and Roseville, Minnesota

Neff Law Firm, P.A., is available to provide legal help to people in Minnesota including people living in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Edina, Roseville, Bloomington, Golden Valley, St. Loius Park, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Mound, Chaska, Excelsior, Shakopee, Richfield, Orono, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Anoka, Columbia Heights, Plymouth, and Maple Grove. For legal help please call the central scheduling number of 952-831-6555 to set up an appointment to meet with an experienced Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer in the Minneapolis - St. Paul metropolitan area (Twin Cities) at either the Roseville, Minnesota or Edina, Minnesota office.

For More Bankruptcy Information

Contact a Minnesota bankruptcy lawyer from Neff Law Firm, P.A., to discuss your specific situation and your options for debt relief by filing for bankruptcy protection. Make an appointment at either our Roseville (St. Paul) or Edina (Minneapolis) law office. We offer flexible appointment times for your convenience.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
The information contained herein on Chapter 7 and 13 does not constitute the giving of legal advice. The reader should not rely on this information. This information does not substitute for the advice of a licensed lawyer related to Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies or any other legal subject.
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It has been my observation that Neff Law Firm, P.A. lawyers are excellent listeners and communicators who can help a debtor understand important legal considerations such as what legal measures are available to help them in basic bankruptcy procedures. Investment Professional