Filing a Will County, IL bankruptcy can seem like a confusing and daunting process. We have outlined the process below, so you can understand how it works. We make sure that all of these steps are handled correctly and in a timely matter. No need to worry!
1. Call or email us.
We are happy to introduce ourselves to you over the phone or via email and to answer your questions, but we will need to meet with you in person to get the bankruptcy started. Our consultations are free. The meeting will last about 30 minutes or so. We will explain the process to you and answer all of your questions. For those clients who have email or fax, we can send you our intake sheets and checklist of items needed to file bankruptcy before the meeting. If you can bring that information to the first meeting, it will help speed up the whole process.
You will receive several documents explaining the process and giving you valuable information that is required by the bankruptcy laws. These include:
- Informational intake sheet and checklist of items needed to file bankruptcy.
- Statement of Information required by 11 U.S.C. Section 341. This is put out by the United States Trustee’s Office.
- Information notice required by 527(a)(2)(A-D)
- Retainer agreement outlining our agreement including information about the bankruptcy process, fees, and what our services include.
2. Determine what type of bankruptcy is best for you.
If you decide to hire us to file your bankruptcy, the next step is to determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is best for you. To determine what type of bankruptcy is best for you, we will need to review your information and complete the Means Test. The Means Test is a required calculation that must be completed for every debtor. Don’t worry; we will handle this for you. It is an extremely complicated formula and we never recommend you to attempt this on your own. Once we determine what type of bankruptcy to file, we will need to collect a retainer fee and filing costs to get started. We are one of the most affordable bankruptcy firms in Will County, IL and we work with our clients according to their unique situations. There is a filing fee that goes to the clerk’s office of the bankruptcy court. The fee is $299.00 for a Chapter 7 and $274.00 for a Chapter 13.
3. Gather information.
At this point in the process we have figured out whether it is a good idea for you to file or not, and if so, what type of bankruptcy you are going to file. The next step is to gather the rest of the information we will need from you to get your bankruptcy filed.
We will need certain information from you to file bankruptcy. Most of the information comes from your intake sheet and from the checklist that you will receive at or before the first meeting. It is usually not difficult to gather this information. Sometimes we will need a current credit report completed so we don’t miss any of your creditors. (We run a credit report at our office.) We may also need to do some research about the value of your house, car or other valuables. We take care of most of this for you. Lastly in this step, we complete your bankruptcy petition, which is long and complicated, but again nothing you need to worry about!
You will also need to complete the bankruptcy requirement of pre petition credit counseling. We will give you an informational sheet with names of credit counselors who are approved by the United State’s Trustee’s Office. You can take this course over the phone or on the internet in the privacy of your own home. It should only take you an hour or so, and once you finish you will receive a certificate. We will need the certificate before we file your bankruptcy. It is a good idea to get this done right away.
4. We file your bankruptcy!!
The Automatic Stay.
Within a few days after we file you bankruptcy the ‘automatic stay’ begins. This is the step in bankruptcy that most debtors were waiting for! Once we file your bankruptcy and creditors receive notice of your filing they must stop calling and harassing you and stop all efforts at collection!
5. Attend the Trustee’s 341 Meeting.
For Will County, IL clients this takes place at City Hall in Joliet, IL normally about 30 days after we file. The meeting normally lasts 5-10 minutes and is nothing to worry about if all of the information in your petition is truthful. We will prepare you for the questions the trustee might ask, so you feel comfortable. The Trustee’s job is to determine what your assets are and if any are available to distribution to your creditors. Our job is to help you protect assets by applying any applicable exemptions available through the bankruptcy law. Once the meeting is over we will usually have to wait about 60 days for your ‘discharge’ that will come in the mail. In a Chapter 7 a ‘discharge’ means all of your qualifying debts are relieved!
6. Post petition financial counseling.
Under the bankruptcy act, there is a final requirement of post petition financial counseling. This course can normally be done through the same credit counselor you used for the pre-petition counseling. The certificate of completion must be returned to our office immediately so we can file it with the court in a timely matter. We would like you to finish this course before the 341 Trustee’s Meeting. The course should take you about 2 hours and can be completed on the phone or via internet at your home.
7. Once you receive your discharge your FRESH START begins!!!! Congratulations!!
*Every case is different and these steps do not fit every case. For example a Chapter 13 has additional steps and outcomes. This is a general outline of the bankruptcy process and may not apply to your case.