Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyers Want To Hear The Chapter 7 Trustee State “I’ll Make A Finding Of No Assets.”

Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyers

Chicago bankruptcy lawyers want to have their clients’ bankruptcy cases be determined to be no asset cases by the panel trustees. This rather simple expression means that the debtor is not going to lose any property while going through the bankruptcy process. As a bankruptcy lawyer, my goal is to get a person out of debt without having that person give up any property. When the trustee makes a finding of no assets, he is closing the book on the case and is seeking no other interest in the debtor’s estate.

 Fear Of Losing Property

Many people are afraid to file for bankruptcy because they think that they are going to lose their property. It’s a very understandable concern. They just don’t know that the state of Illinois allows for an individual or couple to protect or shield a specific amount of property from the trustee when going through a bankruptcy process to get out of debt. Some people feel that if they own a home, they can’t file a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Other people feel that if their cars are paid in full, that they won’t be able to file for bankruptcy protection. Still other people feel that if you have a savings account or a checking account at a bank or credit union then they will not be able to keep that account and still file for bankruptcy. Because of these numerous misconceptions, it’s extremely important for someone who is struggling with debt and thinking of filing bankruptcy to seek the advice of a professional.

 Free Consultations Are Common

Most Chicago bankruptcy lawyers are going to offer a free, initial consultation. The attorneys realize that potential clients who are struggling financially don’t have the ability to pay for advice unless their actually going to go through with the process. For this reason, you see the overwhelming majority of attorneys offering a free initial consultation so that they can get their message out to the general public about the types of relief that are available and as to how the process works. Unfortunately, many potential clients get lost in the numerous writings on the Internet as well as conversations with friends and co-workers who have no idea of how the bankruptcy process actually works.

 Some Assets Are Protected

Did you know that you can protect up to $15,000 worth of equity in your real estate? Do you know that you can protect up to $2400 worth of equity in a motor vehicle? Did you know that your IRA, 401(k) and profit sharing plans were 100% protected? Did you know that your household goods and your clothing can be protected under Illinois exemption laws provided you don’t exceed a certain dollar amount? These are the types of questions that need to be asked in front of the bankruptcy lawyer. The lawyer will advise you if the value or equity in your property exceeds the specific dollar amounts allowed in your state. And even if your property is more than what the state exemption laws provide for, you still may be able to file and not give up your property. In practical terms, for the trustee to administer that asset, he or she must have significant equity available to handle such administration.

 Real Estate Example

Let’s look at a real estate example. The state of Illinois provides for a $15,000 exemption in a Homestead real estate property. If you are filing jointly husband-and-wife, then the exemption amount doubles to $30,000 of protection. If you are slightly over that amount, you should not fear that the trustee will try to sell the property. This is because the trustee has costs involved in the administration of the property. If the property is valued at $200,000, then the trustee is going to have to expend about $10,000-$15,000 in broker’s commissions, closing costs, title expenses and other expenses associated with selling a piece of real estate. Unless there is plenty of equity above and beyond the exemption amount, the trustee is not going to go through the exercise of selling a property only to realize a very small dividend for the unsecured creditors. In addition, all of these actions have to be approved by the bankruptcy judge. The debtor’s attorney can certainly fight against any kind administration if it’s overly burdensome and not providing a decent benefit to the unsecured creditors. So before you start thinking that you’re not going to be able to file for bankruptcy because you have some property or a vehicle or a bank account, talk with an attorney first.

 Trustee’s Findings

Most bankruptcy cases are going to end with a meeting of creditors where the trustee states “I’ll make a finding of no assets.” This statement basically puts the debtor and the debtor’s attorney and all creditors on notice that there is not going to be an administration for the benefit of creditors. This means that the debtor is basically home free. There is a short window of time where creditors can still object to the debtor’s discharge if the debtor did something fraudulent. Maybe the debtor ran up credit cards in anticipation of filing or transferred property out of his or her name which was never disclosed to the trustee. Absent something major such as that, a finding of no assets by the trustee is an indication that the case is going to make it without any issues from the trustee.

For more information on your rights and your property with regard to bankruptcy, you can contact my office at 847-520-8100. After meeting with me, I can let you know with a great deal of certainty whether or not you are going to be looking at a no asset case or not.

  • AS SEEN ON:Fox News Chicago
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Daily Herald
Fox News Chicago Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Tribune Daily Herald