You need to know as much as possible about the entire process of filing bankruptcy prior to consulting a qualified Chapter 7 lawyer in San Diego, CA. However, you also need to know what you should never do prior to filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7. Some actions can severely hamper your entire bankruptcy case. Let’s take a look at the most important actions to avoid before and during the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
What should I avoid doing when filing Chapter 7?
Knowing which mistakes to avoid making when filing Chapter 7 is as important, if not more so, than knowing how to adequately file for bankruptcy. These are the most important actions to avoid before filing for bankruptcy.
Transferring any assets before bankruptcy
Moving assets from your name will not stop the bankruptcy court from reaching them. What’s more, this can lead to the court deciding you’ve committed bankruptcy fraud, causing you to lose your chance at bankruptcy. These are some transactions that can spell trouble for your bankruptcy claim:
- Changing names on your bank accounts
- Deleting your name from joint accounts.
- Removing your name from a business.
- Moving or depositing funds into accounts that belong to others.
- Deeding property you own to another person.
Favoring creditors before filing Chapter 7
Some individuals who want to file for bankruptcy are trying to do the right thing and pay off certain creditors before filing Chapter 7. However, you have to know that such transactions cause problems. You should not pay off any single creditor in full while ignoring all others. These kinds of preferential transfers often instigate a “clawback” lawsuit. Here are some of the preferential payments you should not do before filing:
- Paying back mom and dad funds loaned to you.
- Payoff friends you owe money.
- Transferring large payments to anyone you borrowed money from.
While it makes sense to pay back friends and family over say your credit card companies this can complicate your bankruptcy case.
Making purchases with your credit cards prior to filing
Ideally, you would completely stop using your credit cards when you decide to file bankruptcy. Most likely you are only using your credit cards to fund your life necessities like food, clothing, gas and medical expenses. But sometimes you might make larger purchases like buying luxury items or taking cash advances from your cards.
These charges, especially right before you file bankruptcy, might cause an objection to your claim from your creditors. That is another complication that can easily be avoided by limiting your credit card usage.
Depositing unusual amounts of money before Chapter 7
Avoid depositing funds into your bank account that don’t belong to you. An example of such a mistake is depositing money in your own bank account as a favor to somebody else. It is very difficult to prove in court that the funds were not yours. If you then give or transfer the money, it might cause problems in your case. Actually, you might have to give the money to the bankruptcy court.
If you find yourself with a sum of money from a lawsuit settlement, inheritance or selling your property, you should talk with an attorney about your options. More likely than not you will be able to keep that money.
Filing the wrong bankruptcy forms
Successfully completing your bankruptcy process involves filling out and filing several different types of forms, including a petition, schedules, statement of financial affairs, statement of intention and means test among others. You can certainly complete these forms yourself to avoid paying an attorney.
If you own assets or earn more than the median income for your household size, you should probably reach out to an attorney. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation so you can meet and discuss your situation. Attorneys usually take care of preparing all of the documents for you. But if you don’t want to hire one, it’s paramount to pay attention to filling out and submitting proper documentation to the court.
Using wrong exemptions
Bankruptcy exemptions are what allows you to retain some of your property under Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, you need to know which exemptions you are eligible for, and which ones you are not.
Exemptions are by far the most important and also complex part of filing bankruptcy. Choosing the right exemptions is essential for ensuring you keep assets during bankruptcy rather than lose it to your creditors.
Not attending the meeting of creditors
Finally, you need to attend a meeting of creditors some twenty to forty days after submitting your bankruptcy documents. This is called the 341a meeting. Failing to attend it will most probably mean your case will be dismissed after all the work you put into getting it filed. You will not receive any bankruptcy discharge and your creditors will still hold claims against you.
Who are the leading Chapter 7 lawyers in San Diego, CA?
Filing a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy claim is a detailed process that requires you to pay attention to different important aspects of the procedure in order to ensure its success. First, you need to know how the process of filing Chapter 7 works, and if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Finally, once you’ve gathered some general knowledge about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s time to start preparing for a meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer who you would like to handle your case. Ensuring adequate legal representation is paramount for a successful bankruptcy.
If you’re trying to find experienced and qualified bankruptcy lawyers in San Diego, you should reach out to the Bankruptcy Law Offices of Mark L. Miller and let us handle all the details of your bankruptcy case. We have assembled a team of knowledgeable and educated attorneys who are familiar with all the details of bankruptcy law in the state of California.
We will make sure your claim is a success and that you are able to gain a fresh financial start. No need to worry about filling out forms, claiming exemptions or remembering to attend your 341a meeting because the Miller Legal team will do all of that for you. You can find our offices near historic Old Town San Diego. Our consultation is always free. Give us a call today at 619-574-0551!