The trustees typically try to call cases per attorney, so an attorney may have to sit through 3 or 4 of their cases at one stretch. They would call a case, hear the case and then call the attorney’s next case because it is more efficient that way. If the person was the first one in the stack of cases that a particular attorney was going to be handling, then the trustee would go through that case and start calling the attorney’s next case, in which case the person would not have time to talk with their attorney about any specifics of their case. The person could either wait around after the meeting, or call their attorney and send them an email but if other cases were being called right after their case was finished, there would not be enough time to talk with that attorney if he had to be present and handle the other meetings. There would actually not be a lot to talk about, although there may be something that the client might want clarification on. There would typically not be anything that needed to be resolved there for that meeting.
This meeting would basically be for us to take notes and see what questions the trustee may have. If the trustee wanted additional information, we would have to make a note of that so we could send it later and then move on to the next case.
What Happens After The Meeting And After How Long Would The Bankruptcy Be Complete?
In the context of a chapter 7, the case would be open for about 60 more days after the meeting with the trustee because the chapter 7 case would only be open for 90 days with the court. Typically 60 days would just go by which would be to allow creditors to object to anything if they thought there was anything to object to, like any fraud. We would not be able to file the case if while we were screening for issues we saw anything that could provide a creditor grounds to argue. There would typically be nothing to worry about for my clients because we would have already screened for all the issues so the only thing they would have to do is just wait 60 more days for the case to close and then about a week or two after that until they got a discharge notice in the mail from the clerk’s office.
One of the common misconceptions that people have when they go in for their chapter 7 meeting with the trustee and the same for chapter 13, is they would be expecting to find out whether it had all been approved, whereas that would not be the case. The person would be entitled to the bankruptcy protection and it would be up for somebody to say there was a reason the person should not get this protection. We would already be looking for any problem areas and we would not even file the case if we saw any. People would not really need to worry about what would go on at this meeting, or if they were going to determine whether or not the person would get the bankruptcy protection, because that would not be the purpose of it. The purpose of the meeting would just be for the trustee to identify the person and to make sure they were the one who had signed the paperwork and that the paperwork was true and correct. They would not have to worry about there being any sort of big argument there or some big determination as to whether or not they would get their bankruptcy granted. The person would basically get the protection and then it would be up for somebody later on to fight to file some paperwork and say whether or not the person should be entitled to their discharge because there was fraud, because that would typically not be the case.
What Happens After The Bankruptcy And How Long Would It Take To Be Completed?
In the context of a chapter 13, after the meeting with the trustee was concluded, the next step in the process would be the confirmation hearing. Cases typically do not go to confirmation, because everything would be resolved early on and only about one or two percent of my cases ever go to a confirmation hearing. In those situations, it would only be to clarify something even further or to have the judge rule on some particular issue. When the meeting with the trustee was concluded, I would tell the client that everything was finished here, and that by the way, they did not need to go to the confirmation hearing. I would tell them that we would be in touch with them if some reason arose where they would need to go to the confirmation hearing.
The case would then proceed along, it would get confirmed, and then the judge would give the stamp of approval in a chapter 13. There would be nothing like this in a chapter 7 context. There would be no approval of the judge and typically nobody would even see the judge in a chapter 7 case. In 98 percent of the cases in the chapter 13 context, the clients would not see the judge, although after the case was confirmed it would still continue until the case was over. These cases can typically go for 3 to 5 years and when they are over and the payment has been stopped, the court would issue the discharge notice saying the debts that had not been paid had been discharged for the person who filed the bankruptcy.
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