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Riemenschneider-McCrary Law Firm

Jackie L. Riemenschneider-McCrary, Bankruptcy Attorney, 190 S. Seguin Ave., New Braunfels, TX 78130

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Important Things to Do and Remember after Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

1. Credit Counseling- Part 2:  Please complete the second part of the credit counseling, called “debtor education course” before the 341 Meeting date. Be sure to take about 2 hours to complete the course because it is timed. Please forward the certificates to me to be filed. Also, please note that you may receive other ads and offers regarding the second course. Please disregard those mail outs. Only use the Dave Ramsey course with the information card I gave you. Also, if you will be reaffirming any debts, please note I may refrain from filing your certificates until all your reaffirmation agreements have been filed.

2. Creditors and Court Notices:  Please be aware that notice of your case filing will be mailed to your creditors and co-debtors within 7 to 10 days from the date of filing your case. My address will be in the return area on the envelop so that any mail that does not reach a creditor do to invalid or incomplete mailing address will be returned to me. I do NOT mail out the official notices.  When you receive your notice, your creditors will also be receiving their notices, which will be identical to your notice. Do not be surprised or concerned if you continue to receive statements or calls from your creditors for a month or so after filing. If you receive a statement after your notices have been received, please check your bankruptcy case to see if we had the correct address. If so, please call the creditor to see if they have received the notice. If so, please inform them that you still received a statement, and they should provide an explanation. If they have not received the notice, please ask for a correct mailing address and if possible, a fax number, so I can mail or fax a notice to them directly, and change their address in the court system.  If the creditor was not listed at all, please provide me with the mailing address, account number, account balance, type of account, and the $150 amendment fee, so that I may file an amendment to your case to add this creditor. I have to amend the case before it is discharged or it will be too late to add the creditor.

3. Reaffirmation Agreements: All secured debts that you do not want discharged, must be reaffirmed during the time of your bankruptcy case. A reaffirmation agreement must be filed before your case is discharged. The reaffirmation agreement is a 9 to 11 page form that "renews" your contract with the lender. It must be provided by the creditor, signed by you, me and the creditor's representative. You also must be able to show in your budge that you can afford to reaffirm the debt. Reaffirming boats and motorcycles are frowned upon and may be set for hearing by the judge. If a reaffirmation agreement is set for a hearing, you will need to appear and explain to the judge why you think reaffirming the debt is in your best interest and that you can afford to do so.  In order to reaffirm a house, you must call the mortgage company and request a reaffirmation agreement be sent to me. If they will not speak to you, then please provide me with direct contact information for me to request the reaffirmation agreement on your behalf. You will need your case # and your loan # to request a reaffirmation agreement.  Please be sure your payments are made on time because you must be current to reaffirm a debt. On houses and cars, there may be no grace period in the bankruptcy, and if your payment is due on the first, you need to make sure it is received on or before that date.

4. Making payments on secured debts after filing:  Please be aware that all automatic draft payments will cease until after the bankruptcy. If you use auto-drafting to make a house/vehicle or secured credit card payment and you do not how to submit a payment by mail, be sure to contact the creditor with enough time to find out were to temporarily mail a payment or make the payment by phone. Some creditors may charge to make payments over the phone.  Again, secured debts need to remain current in order to reaffirm.
If you owe less than $5,000 on a vehicle (that is worth more then $5,000) or if you have a non-filing co-debtor on the account, the creditor may not want to go to the trouble to reaffirm. Please be sure to continue to make payments on time.

5. The Hearing / aka the 341 Meeting of Creditors:  This is the mandatory hearing where the Chapter 7 Trustee will ask you questions to determine if you have any non-exempt assets that he could take to give to your creditors. If there were any concerns about exempting your property, we would have reviewed it before the meeting. He will also inquire as to transfers of property, insider payments, pre-filing large purchases, and any other activity that would appear suspect or fraudulent. Again, we would have reviewed these areas before you filed. The goal of the meeting (in a “no-assets” case) is to get the trustee to declare your case is a no-assets case.  This does not mean that you have no assets, just that you have no assets that are not exempted by applicable laws, or that you do not have any property that may be seized to give to your creditors.  He will usually make his determination at the end of the hearing and announce it.  To make this hearing go as smoothly and as quickly as possible, you will have needed to have provided me with the necessary documents applicable to your case at filing. Please refer to your bankruptcy checklist. In addition, you will need your photo ID AND your social security card. Copies of these will NOT be accepted. Please do not forget to bring both.  Please arrive with enough time to get through security (leave knives and guns at home) and locate the meeting room 333 on the 3rd floor. I will meet you in the hallway about 15 minutes before your hearing time.

6. US Trustee: Being under audit provisions, and with the new means tests requirements, occasionally cases will be scrutinized by the US Trustee's office. Unlike the chapter 7 trustees, they are trying to determine whether they believe you qualify to file a chapter 7 and that you are not abusing the process. If you are a borderline case, we will have discussed this possibility. Also, the trustee will often inform me before the hearing if your case will be under scrutiny and ask for additional documentation specific to your case. The sooner you can provide these documents, the better. They may be satisfied with the extra documents, or they may appear at the hearing to ask you more questions. Since bankruptcy is based on full disclosure, answering their questions fully is required for you to receive a discharge. Also, the hearings are recorded and you will be answering the question under penalty of perjury.  If the US trustee's office feels you do not qualify, you will usually be given the option to voluntarily convert your case to a chapter 13 or have your case dismissed. If we disagree with the trustee's determination, we may also have a hearing in front of the judge and allow the judge to decide.