At Craft Law Offices, we know how frustrating it can be to realize bankruptcy may be your best option. Having financial issues is not easy, but sometimes filing for bankruptcy is your best bet. For bankruptcy lawyers who are here to help you every step of the way, give us a call at Craft Law Offices in Greenville, NC. We’re ready to help you get your financial life back on track.
Once you’ve filed for a bankruptcy, there is still a process that you must go through before the bankruptcy is completed. Below are some of the most common questions our offices hear from bankruptcy clients throughout North Carolina:
What is a 341 meeting?
All debtors must attend a “341 creditors meeting.” This is held at various locations (not at the county courthouse). In some locations it is in a meeting room much like a fellowship hall, and in some locations may be in a courtroom, however a judge is not present. The bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case asks several questions regarding your individual situation. His primary purpose is to insure that you have listed ALL your property and ALL your debts on the petition. In addition, a Chapter 13 trustee discusses the proposed Chapter 13 plan amount.
What do I take to the 341 meeting?
You must have two forms of ID: a photo ID and something with your social security number. Typically the photo ID is a driver’s license or NC DMV ID card. Typically your social security card is used for the second ID. Locate these immediately after you file. If you cannot find one of these you can go to the DMV or the Social Security office to get replacements.
Where is the 341 meeting held?
Currently 341 meetings are held in Greenville, New Bern, Wilmington, Fayetteville, and Raleigh. You will be notified where to go by the court and by your bankruptcy attorney.
What is the Debtor Education Course?
If you file a Chapter 13 this is a live seminar provided by the bankruptcy trustee. It is held on the same day you have your 341 Meeting of Creditors. Simply show up, listen, and enjoy. This is an excellent program with an informative and entertaining presenter. If you file a Chapter 7, you must complete the course online. The online information will be provided to you at the time your case if filed.
Where do I send my payments?
If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your assigned trustee will have his own lockbox for the monthly payments. You should send a regular check or money order through regular mail to your trustee’s lock box, not to their office address. Make it out to “Chapter 13 Trustee.” Be sure to write your full case number on the memo line of your check along with the full name you used when you filed your case. If you send a money order, be sure to write your name and case number on the money order. Payments begin the first day of the month after you file.
Can I check my bankruptcy payments?
Access the monthly bankruptcy payments you make to your trustee by visiting www.ndc.org. On the homepage, in the box that says “Track your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case” click the orange button that says “Get Started. It’s Free!” From there, follow the steps to create your account and start tracking your case online.
What if a Creditor listed is one that I do not recognize?
The Creditor that originally owned the right to your claim may have sold the Claim. Please contact the NDC at www.ndc.org for further assistance.
What if I do not understand the information presented about my case at www.ndc.org – Can someone at the NDC help me with this?
Unfortunately, the NDC cannot discuss or advise on your case details that are presented on the website. Specific questions must be directed to your bankruptcy attorney.
How can I find out the remaining balance on my Chapter 13 case, or the payoff amount?
The remaining balance owed and payoff amount is NOT available online at www.ndc.org. In the Eastern District of North Carolina, a case cannot be paid off early. You will need to discuss paying off your case early with your attorney for specific information in your individual case.
What do I do if my creditors keep calling?
Within a few days of filing your petition, the Creditor’s Notice is mailed informing all creditors that you have filed. This notice includes an order directing creditors to stop collection activities. Most creditors comply with this order. Occasionally the notice is lost in the mail or logged into their computer incorrectly. Inform the creditor that you have filed bankruptcy and give them your case number. Keep a record of the person’s name, the date and time you provide the info. Usually this solves the problem. If it does not, you should contact your attorney. If you have already received your discharge, offer to mail them a copy.
What if I forgot a creditor?
Creditor’s can be added to the petition after filing. There is an additional fee for this.
Can I buy a new car while in bankruptcy?
Yes. Frequently during the life of a Chapter 13 plan, a car must be replaced. Sometimes court approval is necessary.
Can I sell my house and move?
Yes. During a Chapter 13, clients get transferred, receive offers to purchase their home, lose jobs and cannot afford to stay in their homes, parents get sick, or any number of things of things can happen. However, court approval may be necessary, so please contact your attorney.
What happens to my chapter 13 plan payment if I lose my job or get laid off?
Plans are based on what debts you elect to keep and on your income. Some plans can decrease when income decreases. Some cannot. If your income changes, notify your attorney to discuss your options.
What happens if I get behind on my payments to the trustee?
The trustee will file a “Motion to Dismiss” your case. You will receive a copy of this in the mail from the court. It is very important that you contact your bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. The response time on this motion is very quick. We may be able to save the case if you contact your attorney quickly. If you do not respond to this motion, the judge will dismiss your case.
How long will bankruptcy stay on my credit?
Filing bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. It is only one of the factors that future creditors will consider to determine whether to extend credit after bankruptcy. A creditor will also consider your payment history for houses, cars, timeliness of payments to the trustee. If these are positive factors, credit may extended fairly quickly.
What debts do I still owe after I file?
Each case is different based upon each client’s individual choices. Typically clients will owe their mortgage and car payments if they choose to keep these items. They will also owe child support, alimony, criminal court fines, fees and student loans. Some tax obligations may still be owed by the debtor.
What is a Reaffirmation Agreement?
This is an agreement between you and a creditor where you “re-promise” to pay a debt. This is most often used when you file a Chapter 7 and wish to keep a car and continue to make payments on the car. If you sign a Reaffirmation Agreement, you can change your mind within 60 days and cancel the agreement. You must notify the creditor and the court in writing that you have changed your mind. In North Carolina, this is rarely used for mortgages. We will discuss your options in detail before signing this agreement
Can I keep a credit card?
When filing for bankruptcy, you must list everyone you owe. Consequently most credit card companies will close your account. If there is an account that you have kept paid regularly such as a small gas card, then you might be able to work with the lender and keep it open. However it is usually in your best interest to use cash or prepaid credit cards after filing bankruptcy.
Can I get a new credit card after I file bankruptcy?
You may receive offers from credit card companies in the mail after you file for bankruptcy. Usually these are NOT a good deal. Look for high interest rates, hidden fees, variable rates, late fee terms, etc….
Can I file a second bankruptcy petition?
Yes, in most cases you can file again. There are time limits and special conditions for second filings. These vary according to what happened in the first case and what chapter the first case was. The desired result is also important to discuss.
What is a “Motion For Relief From Stay?”
Once you file bankruptcy, a creditor must stop trying to repossess your car, foreclose on your house, collect money from you until the court gives permission to them to do so. This is the motion the creditor files to ask the court’s permission to continue or to start a collection action against you. Most often this is filed by a mortgage holder who wishes to foreclose on real estate or an automobile lender who wishes to repossess a vehicle. If a creditor files this motion, it will be sent to you. You should contact your attorney immediately. The response time for this motion is short. If you wish to stop this motion, you must answer the court quickly. If you do not respond, an order will be entered granting the creditor’s request. If you wish to give up the property, you should prepare to vacate by removing personal items and belongings.
What is a “Motion for Confirmation?”
When a Chapter 13 is filed, the petition includes a proposed Chapter 13 plan. This is your “best estimate” of what you need to pay the court each month. Your creditors are entitled to submit their position to the trustee stating what they think you owe them. This information is received, reviewed, discussed and agreed on. At the conclusion of this process, the judge needs to sign off on the plan. This motion for confirmation is the proposal of the agreed on chapter 13 plan to the judge assigned to your case.
What is a “Proof of Claim?”
This is the form each creditor files detailing your debt to the court. It states their position on the amount, nature and terms of your debt.
What is an “Objection to Proof of Claim?”
If we disagree with the creditor’s position about what your debt is, this may be filed with the court stating the reason we disagree. Sometimes we disagree but do not file this because the point we disagree on is not important.
What is a “Motion to Modify the Plan?”
Chapter 13 plans can last up to 5 years. During this time things change. When this happens, the court is asked to change the amount you pay each month. Common changes are job changes and house payment changes.
What is a “Discharge?”
This is the finish line for all bankruptcy cases. When you receive the Discharge, your obligation to pay certain debts is legally eliminated. Most of the time, this is the end of the case. In a very few cases the trustee may have some remaining obligations.
When will I get my Discharge?
Chapter 7 cases are typically received 4 months after filing. Chapter 13 cases are discharged at the end of the plan period, typically 3-5 years after filing.
We know this process can be a difficult one, but it’s our goal at Craft Law Offices to make it as easy as possible on you. If you have questions about the process – when to file, how to file, what to do after you’ve filed, and so on – please don’t hesitate to reach out to our qualified lawyers at our offices in Greenville, Morehead City, and Rocky Mount, NC.