Do I Have To Go To Court In Chicago If I File Bankruptcy?

Court Is In Chicago

If you live in Chicago or any part of Cook County, Illinois and file bankruptcy, then your court date is going to be in downtown Chicago. The court will take place at the Dirksen Federal building which is located at 219 South Dearborn Street in Chicago. The court date is in reality a 341 meeting of creditors. The meeting of creditors is the opportunity for a chapter 7 panel trustee to examine you under oath with regard to the petition and schedules that you filed. The role of the chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee is to make sure that you do not have any assets that can be administered for the benefit of creditors. You are able to protect a certain amount of personal property when going through the bankruptcy process. For example, you can protect up to $4000 worth of miscellaneous personal property. You can also protect 100% of your 401(k) if it is a qualified retirement plan. You can also protect up to $15,000 worth of equity in real estate.

 Appearing Before The Trustee After You File Bankruptcy

At the court date, the trustee is going to ask you a series of yes and no questions. The total time that the meeting should take will be approximately 5 minutes. The trustee reviews the petition and schedules in advance and only asks a series of questions based on information that might need further flushing out. For example, you might list in your schedules that you transferred a piece of property within the last three years. The trustee is going to want to know what type of proceeds you received from said transfer. All other questions that the trustee will ask are going to be basically the same in each case. The trustee wants to make sure that you signed the documents under oath. The trustee wants to make sure that you listed all of your assets and all of your liabilities. The trustee wants to make sure that you don’t have any assets such as personal injury claims or inheritance awards coming your way. The trustee also wants to make sure that you haven’t given away or sold anything to anyone in the last year for less than the fair market value. Provided the trustee makes a finding of no assets, you will receive a discharge order within two months of your 341 meeting of creditors.

Creditor Inquiries

Creditors have an opportunity to appear and examine you at your meeting. In my experience, I have found that most creditors will not appear if you file bankruptcy. In fact, most creditors will rely on the expertise of the chapter 7 panel Trustee to determine whether or not there is going to be any type of distribution for creditors. In some instances, the United States Trustee will appear and attend the meeting. Sometimes the United States Trustee has questions that they want to ask you personally. In most cases, the trustee is going to make a finding of no assets and you are going to get a fresh start under chapter 7. It is only in rare an extreme cases where a debtor is going to be denied a bankruptcy discharge. Those cases involved fraud to a great extent. Fraud can involve the hiding or concealing of assets, the inability to document particular spending, or simply incurring debt through fraud.

Telephone Meetings

In the rarest of circumstances, your 341 meeting of creditors may be held via telephone after you file bankruptcy. To qualify for this type of treatment, your attorney will have to bring a motion before the court demonstrating why you don’t have the ability to make it to downtown Chicago, Illinois. We have done 341 meetings via telephone for those that are sick, in the military, or for some other reason where the person did not have the capacity to travel to the downtown location.

For more information about how to file bankruptcy , including the court date, court location, and other procedures, please contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your local area. Your attorney will be able to give you all the information that you need to have a successful chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

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