January 8, 2015

When you file a bankruptcy proceeding, you run into words you may or may not have seen before. To assist you during your case and throughout future blogs from our office, we have compiled a list of common words and definitions for your reference.

Automatic Stay

When you file a bankruptcy, an automatic stay is issued. The stay is an injunction that stops all actions by creditors, with certain exceptions, to collect debts from someone who has declared bankruptcy. The law provides that the stay begins at the moment the bankruptcy case is filed.

Paralegal

At Keller & Almassian, PLC each client is paired with an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy paralegal. Your paralegal will help you gather and organize documents and is valuable assets that can help assist with questions that arise as you move through the process. Information and communication is a key part of a seamless transition through the bankruptcy process. It is helpful to take advantage of Keller & Almassian, PLC’s Blog & Announcements page that can provide you with additional information and answers to questions that may arise.

Attorney

Your attorney is the qualified individual representing you in your bankruptcy case. Our attorneys specialize in bankruptcy matters and have substantial experience with both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases. Whether you are considering bankruptcy as an option to stop garnishments, stop foreclosure, or to discharge unsecured debt, Keller & Almassian’s attorneys have experience with all aspects of consumer bankruptcy matters. The partners at Keller & Almassian are Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, which means they have been tested and certified by an independent board as experts in the field of consumer bankruptcy. This experience can prove invaluable as you move through the bankruptcy process.

Trustee

A Trustee is the Court Administrator whose responsibility is to review your case and to determine whether any assets are available for creditors. The Trustee is the individual that conducts your 341 Meeting you are required to attend as part of the bankruptcy process.

341 Meeting of Creditors

When you file a bankruptcy proceeding, one of the requirements is that you attend what is known as the “341 Meeting of Creditors.” This is a time for you and your attorney to meet with the Trustee of your case to review the papers and general circumstances surrounding your case. The process is typically a straightforward review of the information in your file and is not intended to be difficult or an opportunity for a creditor to harass you. In fact, the name can be somewhat misleading, because it is actually quite rare that a creditor attends this meeting, although they are free to do so. In order for the 341 Meeting to take place, it is mandatorily required that you bring your driver’s license and social security card so that the Trustee can verify your identity. Please let us know if you have any questions about this process.

Creditor

A creditor is a person or a business to whom money is owed.

Debtor

When you file a bankruptcy proceeding, the court refers to you as the Debtor.

Unsecured Debt

Unsecured debt is a type of debt that does not attach to any collateral. Examples of unsecured debt are most credit cards and medical bills.

Secured Debt

Secured debt is a type of debt that does attach to some type of collateral. Examples of Secured debt are vehicle and mortgage loans.

Priority Debt

There are some types of unsecured debts that are treated differently in a bankruptcy proceeding. These exceptions can vary depending on your circumstances, but in general Priority Debt may include some limited types of tax debt owed to the IRS or State. If debt qualifies as Priority Debt then it might not be subject to a discharge in your bankruptcy. Make sure to review this issue with your attorney.

Pleadings

Pleadings are the bankruptcy papers that are filed with the Court in order to start the bankruptcy process. You will review these papers in detail prior to filing your case to ensure they are accurate.

Bankruptcy Code

The Bankruptcy Code is the set of laws applicable to bankruptcy proceedings.

Discharge

When you successfully complete your bankruptcy proceeding, the Court will issue a “Discharge.” This means creditors are prevented by law from attempting to collect any debt that was included in the Bankruptcy. You should save a copy of the Discharge Order for your records when it is received.

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