BANKRUPTCY AND DEBT RELIEF in NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY

Helping People Free Themselves from the Burden of Debt

Are you burdened with debt? Are you experiencing issues like creditor harassment, repossession, foreclosure, and wage garnishment? Don’t know whether you should file for bankruptcy? Then get in touch with us. Whether you’re a business owner, individual or a joint debtor, we can help you navigate through your options.
At Silverberg Law Firm LLC, we provide effective and result-driven legal services to clients in all types of bankruptcy matters. Our bankruptcy and debt relief lawyers are ready to help you every step of the way. We strive to help you get back on track. Our team understands that the decision to file for bankruptcy is not easy.
We can help you file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13. We can help you with resolving financial disputes. And we may be able to help you save your home from foreclosure, stopping wage garnishments, and helping you make a fresh start.
We are happy to answer all of your bankruptcy questions. 

Personal bankruptcy is sometimes referred to as consumer bankruptcy or individual bankruptcy. The two types of Personal Bankruptcy are:

Chapter 7
Chapter 13

Meeting the Trustee- Preparing for and Attending the 341 Meeting

A common concern for many consumer debtors who file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 relief is attending their 341 Meeting of Creditors. The Meeting of Creditors or 341 Meeting is required in both bankruptcy chapters. The hearing is scheduled by the court when you file your bankruptcy petition. Hearings are typically scheduled 20 to 40 days after the filing of the case.

You are required to have proof of identification (Driver’s License, Passport, or State Identification card) and your original Social Security Card. All debtors must appear at a Meeting of Creditors and provide sworn testimony before the bankruptcy trustee appointed to administer the bankruptcy estate. It sounds much worse than it actually is in reality.

Do I Attend the 341 Meeting Alone?

No, Mr. Silverberg attends the 341 Meeting with you. You and our office will prepare you for the meeting in advance. We typically tell clients to arrive at the meeting about 30 minutes early to find a parking space and to locate the hearing room. We will make sure you know where to go long before the day you need to appear at the hearing.

Once you reach the hearing room, you can take a seat in the room and listen to the trustee conduct other cases. If you arrive early, you can see what will happen during your hearing. The trustee begins each Meeting of Creditors in the same manner with the same questions. Watching a few hearings helps you know what to expect when your name is called, which removes much of the anxiety and stress you might feel.

What If I Don’t Know the Answers to the Trustee’s Questions?

You will know each answer because the questions the bankruptcy trustee asks are the same questions we have asked you as we prepared your bankruptcy forms. We also review the standard questions with you when we prepare you for your 341 Meeting of Creditors.

If you watch a few cases, you notice that the trustee asks the same questions of each debtor. Those questions typically include:

  • State your name for the record.
  • Did you read and sign the petition, schedules, and statements filed with the court?
  • Are you personally familiar with the information contained in these documents?
  • Is the information in your bankruptcy forms and any related documentation true and accurate?
  • Do you know of any errors or do you need to make any changes to the information?
  • Have you listed all your assets and debts in your schedules?
  • Have you filed for bankruptcy relief previous to this filing?
  • Do you owe or pay any domestic support obligations (alimony or child support)?
  • Have you filed all required tax returns and submitted your most recently filed tax return to my office?
  • Did you review the bankruptcy information sheet?
  • Have you repaid any debts to friends or family members within the past year?
  • Have you transferred or sold any property within the past two years?
  • Is anyone holding any property for you?
  • Does anyone owe you money?
  • How did you decide what values to use for assets listed in your bankruptcy forms?

The trustee may also ask other questions that are specific to your bankruptcy case. We typically recognize when a trustee might be interested in a specific item on your forms, so we prepare you for that question.

The trustee is not attempting to trip you up or trick you. The trustee is simply asking you questions about your financial situation for the record to make decisions regarding the administration of your bankruptcy case.

What Happens if a Creditor Appears?

Creditors can appear at a 341 Meeting and ask questions. Rarely do creditors appear at the hearing because they can obtain the information they need online or from your attorney. If a creditor appears, you answer the questions to the best of your ability. Your attorney is always present in case a problem arises.

Most Meetings of Creditors are Quick

Because our office prepares our clients for 341 Meetings and we send documents to the trustee that are required for the hearing, most hearings take between five to ten minutes. In a Chapter 7 case, the Meeting of Creditors is the only hearing most debtors are required to attend. A Chapter 13 debtor may be required to attend the confirmation hearing for the plan. Our office makes sure you know when you need to attend court and you are prepared before you arrive in court.

Anatomy of A Consumer Bankruptcy Case – What to Expect When You File for Bankruptcy

For many people, filing for bankruptcy is the last resort to solve their debt problems. Bankruptcy is an affordable and effective way to get rid of debts you cannot pay. However, many people are uneasy or frightened of the consumer bankruptcy process. They are unsure what to expect when they file for bankruptcy, so they put off speaking with a bankruptcy lawyer. 

At the end of this article, we will discuss why a delay in talking to an attorney can cause more financial problems. First, let’s discuss what you can expect when you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

In this article, we discuss:

  • Preparing to File Bankruptcy
  • What Happens Immediately After a Bankruptcy Case is Filed
  • Attending Bankruptcy Meetings and Hearings
  • Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Cases
  • Why You Need to Call a Bankruptcy Lawyer Now

Preparing to File Bankruptcy

The first step in preparing to file bankruptcy is to meet with a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your financial situation. Our attorney analyzes your finances and reviews various debt relief options with you. After considering your options, if you choose to file bankruptcy, the next step is to complete your bankruptcy forms. 

To complete your bankruptcy forms, your bankruptcy attorney needs information about your debts, property, income, expenses, and financial transactions. Your attorney obtains some of the information from your credit report and other sources. However, you need to provide some documentation and information to your attorney. You are also required to complete the first bankruptcy court (Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Course) before your case is filed. The course is available online for a small fee and may be completed in less than two hours.

Our legal staff works closely with you to gather the information necessary to complete the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statements required by the bankruptcy court. After we prepare the required bankruptcy forms, you review each document with your bankruptcy lawyer to ensure the information is accurate and complete. Our office takes care of electronically filing the documents with the court to begin your bankruptcy case and obtain a bankruptcy case number.

What Happens Immediately After a Bankruptcy Case is Filed

A bankruptcy stay goes into effect when you file a bankruptcy petition. The bankruptcy stay prevents creditors from taking any actions to collect debts without receiving approval from the bankruptcy court. Therefore, filing a bankruptcy petition stops creditor harassment, repossessions, foreclosures, and debt-collection lawsuits. 

In most cases, there is nothing for you to do after your case is filed, except wait for your bankruptcy hearing date. We do recommend that you complete your second bankruptcy course (Financial Education Course) before the date of your 341 First Meeting of Creditors. The second bankruptcy course is also available online for a small fee and may be completed in about two hours. If you do need to do anything before the 341 Hearing, your NJ bankruptcy lawyer will let you know.

Attending Bankruptcy Meetings and Hearings

All debtors must attend a 341 First Meeting of Creditors. This bankruptcy hearing is scheduled within 20 to 40 days after you file your bankruptcy petition. The meeting is conducted by the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case and lasts about five to ten minutes. Creditors may appear to ask questions, but it is rare for creditors to appear.

During the hearing, you are required to answer questions under oath regarding your finances. The questions asked by the trustee are questions that your attorney and his staff have asked you as they gathered information and prepared your bankruptcy forms, so you already know the answers to the questions the trustee will ask. We will prepare you for the hearing by providing detailed instructions about what you need to take with you to the hearing, how to get to the hearing location, and what to expect during the hearing. 

It can be very helpful to arrive at the hearing location at least 30 minutes early to watch a few cases before your case is called. The trustee asks each debtor standard questions at the beginning of each hearing. By watching a few cases, you will be more at ease and know what to expect when your case is called.

For Chapter 7 debtors, the First Meeting of Creditors is typically the only hearing they are required to attend. Chapter 13 debtors might be required to attend a Confirmation Hearing for their Chapter 13 repayment plan. 

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Cases

The process for a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 case varies slightly after the case is filed. In many Chapter 7 cases filed in New Jersey or New York, the debtors keep all their property. These cases are known as no-asset Chapter 7 cases. No-asset Chapter 7 cases are typically completed and closed within four to six months after the case is filed. 

However, most Chapter 13 cases take a little over five years to complete because the Chapter 13 repayment plan has a term of 60 months. Some Chapter 13 plans may have a term of 36 months, so those can be completed in a little over three years. Once a Chapter 13 plan is confirmed by the bankruptcy court, the debtor continues to make the plan payments to the Chapter 13 trustee along with any payments made outside of the Chapter 13 plan, such as mortgage payments, alimony, or child support. If issues arise during the Chapter 13 plan, the debtor can contact his bankruptcy lawyer for guidance and help.

Why You Need to Call a Bankruptcy Lawyer Now

Many people wait until the last minute to contact a bankruptcy attorney to discuss their debt relief options. Unfortunately, some individuals deplete their savings, retirement funds, and equity in their home to pay unsecured debts. A bankruptcy filing can protect these assets while getting rid of unsecured debt. By contacting a bankruptcy attorney now, you might be able to keep more of your assets.

By waiting to talk to a bankruptcy attorney, you continue to harm your credit score with late payments and collection efforts. You also face the possibility of losing assets through repossession and foreclosure. A bankruptcy filing stops collection efforts.

The bankruptcy process is often much less frightening and difficult than many people assume. By talking with a bankruptcy lawyer now, you can learn about bankruptcy and how it can help you get a fresh start and take control over your financial situation.

Contact the Silverberg Law Firm LLC by calling (212) 687-7000 in New York and (201) 252-7000 in New Jersey to schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer. There are affordable debt relief options available. Let us help you get out of debt and on the path to financial stability. You don’t need to continue to struggle with debts you cannot pay. There is hope. Let us help you discover what life after bankruptcy can do for you and your family.

Contact Silverberg Law Firm LLC

At Silverberg Law Firm LLC our team will analyze your case and determine that whether bankruptcy is the right option for you. If yes, then we will handle every aspect of your legal process, start to finish.

We will provide you with:

  • Professional Assistance
  • Strong Legal Representation
  • Quality Guidance

Which will help you make the right choice, and get out of debt smoothly, and fast.

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New York Bankruptcy Lawyer Jay Silverberg

Our firm proudly practices bankruptcy law and is considered a debt relief agency under federal law. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.

New Jersey

201-252-7000

2 University Plaza Dr
Suite 100
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Queens

212-687-7000

91-31 Queens Blvd
#305
Elmhurst, NY 11373

Manhattan

833-693-9376

280 Madison Ave
#600
New York, NY 10016

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