Considering Bankruptcy in Tacoma, WA? Know What You’re Facing with the Right Information


The Parties in a Bankruptcy

  • Debtor: The person or entity who owes money and the party filing for bankruptcy relief.
  • Creditor: The person or entity who is owed money.
  • Trustee: The third party appointed through the United States Trustee Program of the Department of Justice to administer the bankruptcy and represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate. There is a panel of Chapter 7 Trustees where cases get assigned on a rotational schedule, but there are standing Chapter 13 Trustees.
  • Debtor’s attorney: The professional who will assist the person or entity filing for bankruptcy relief, evaluate and explain the available options, and offer legal advice.
  • Clerk: The office where a bankruptcy petition and other documents are filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court.
  • Judge: A judicial officer of the United States Bankruptcy Court who has decision making.

Documentation

Gather all recent bills, any legal documents or foreclosure notices, paystubs, and copies of tax returns.


Pre-Filing Credit Counseling

Federally approved credit counseling must be obtained within six months before a bankruptcy is filed.

List of Approved Credit Counseling Agencies


The Automatic Stay

When a bankruptcy petition is filed, with some exceptions, an automatic stay goes into place which stops creditors from taking or continuing collection action. The automatic stay stops a creditor from making phone calls or sending letters regarding debt collection.


Debtor Education Course

Any time after the bankruptcy is filed, a post-filing federally approved debtor education course must be completed in order to be eligible for a discharge.

Approved Debtor Education Programs


The 341 Meeting

Every debtor in bankruptcy is required to attend a meeting of creditors, commonly referred to as a “341 meeting.” The trustee in bankruptcy conducts this meeting to evaluate debtor’s filing and financial condition. Creditors receive notice of this meeting and may attend the meeting to ask questions.


Discharge

A release of personal liability for certain types of dischargeable debts. Creditors are prohibited from collecting on discharged debts.