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I Filed Chapter 7 - Still Going Through It

I've always had great credit and never had a late payment on anything. I was afraid of payments getting to the creditors even one day late. I was with the same company for 15 years. I got my MBA the last two years I was with the company. At that point, I decided to start my own business. Over the next 5 years I put all of my savings, home equity and retirement savings into the business. I was just turning a profit last year when the economy (particularly my segment in the market) went sour. In 6 short months, I had to declare bankruptcy. And because my business debt was guaranteed by the business and me personally...I'm losing everything.

But that's the risk I took and accepted. The problem I'm having is with how the bankruptcy Trustee is handling things. In the creditors meeting, he asked leading and vague questions in order to get the "incorrect" or "possibly incorrect answers". He refused to answer any questions from me. In fact, he refused to let me ask any questions to clarify my understanding of his questions. He used this one way interrogation to justify further investigation. Now, instead of three months, I'm looking at six months. In the meantime, I can't use my old credit cards and can't apply for new ones (not for spending, for renting a car for business travel). In addition, the banks closed my accounts, and I can't open another one until the bankruptcy is resolved. Also, he got an order to appraise my personal assets since he thought my estimates were "low". So, when I move out I either have to leave all my possessions in an abandoned house, or go to the expense of moving everything and then have the appraiser over value everything and the trustee takes it and sells it. If I stay, I have to pay an outrageous rent directly to the trustee.

So, that's where I'm at. Anyone else going through a chapter 7, here's my advice.

1) Get an appraiser for your home and all your personal belongings BEFORE filing.

2) After stating your name during the creditors meeting, stop the trustee in his tracks and ask him if can are allowed to ask him rephrase or be more specific in his questions to insure you can give a COMPLETE response. If he cuts you off or says no...stop the meeting and walk out. File a motion with the Judge.

3) Do not let the trustee intimidate you. Yes, you feel bad. Yes, you feel like scum. And yes, the trustee will use that to his advantage.

4) While the trustee is certainly interested in finding abuses, his main interest is getting paid. If he can justify further investigation, he and his friends get paid more. Make no mistake, the trustee is there for HIS interest, not the creditors.

5) The trustee will do everything they can to drag things out. The longer things go, the more pressure people put themselves under, the more likely they are too concede the value of possessions that the trustee wants. All he has to do is drag things out. It costs him nothing.

Hope this helps someone out there. I will update as the saga continues.

jdh5484 jdh5484 46-50 5 Responses Apr 27, 2008

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I am in the same shyt too. I filled for chapter 13 as my attorney advised without any in depth explanation of other options. Anyway, today will make it 1 year I filled for bankruptcy and have missed two payments due to financial hardship; loss of job. And I tried to talk to my attorney about other options I might have and all she talks about is I should bring her $400 fee for making a modification to send to the trustees and court. She called someone in the trustee's office and overheard the guy say that it is up for dismissal, unless if she acts quickly within 12 minutes to stop that action. At, that time she asked me to bring her the $400 to make that happen. The annoying thing was that she tries to intimidate me, so I got pissed and told her off. I asked to come in with the $400 and also speak to her about my options due to my latest situation and she told me no. She said she would see me next week but I could come by her office and drop the money. Anyway, finally when I insisted that I wanted to convert my chapter 13 to 7 she asked me to find another attorney and that she would go ahead and ask the court to dismiss the bankruptcy. I got pissed cos she was not listening to me at all. All I heard was money money money without addressing my issue. Some of these attorneys think they can intimidate you cos of their deep insight in the field. So, now I have to start all over after $4000 to the trustees. Why? just to save my car from being taken from me. Nonsense. A car that was valued at 10,000 dollars was valued at 13,500 dollars and my attorney insisted that I accept that after making payments of $22,000 for 44 months for a Toyota Camry. by the time I finish making payments of $400 for 3 years, I would have made payments of $14,400. Now am asking myself if its even worth it. Its either I convert to chapter 7 or I let it go and find a car I can buy to manage my life. This is very stressful in a bad economy as this. I don't even have a job and no one wants to listen to me and work with me till I get another job to continue my payments. Then let them have the car. I know for sure the car will not sell for the amount it was valued for that am making payments for. This system once again has failed.

Did you have an attorney when you went in to meet your trustee for the meeting?

I have my meeting with creditors on 1/27/09. I am not looking forward to it. I will most definitely take your advise in regards to the trustee. If he/she does not agree to answer my questions, I am out of there. I am also going though chapter 7 due to a job loss. I had to use my credit cards to pay the mortgage, other credits cards, etc. I also used my cards shortly before I filed, so I hope my case doesn't get dismissed. I will not allow the trustee to intimidate me. Thanks for the advise. Do they ask a lot of questions at the meeting of creditors? Do creditors actually show up for this meeting?

I am about to claim bankruptsy as well. I had a small business in print finishing.and commuted over an hour ea. way to get there. I struggled right fromt he start and had to get loans. The business started to pick up and I found some regular good paying customers. <br />
After a year into the business, my sister passed away and I had a hard time with it . Then my mom had breast cancer and I had to try and take her to her appt etc and she ended up having a masectomy. The my nephew and my sister inlaw passed away and I just seemed to go down hill. Then my two biggest customers closed their doors and I was left with only little customers. I downsized to a smaller unit but could not recover from it. I closed the shop after more than once the sherrif had locked the door. I sold most of my machines for next to nothing to pay the rent until the lease was up. I still had thousands of dollars in debt. My husband cased in some rrsps to help me but that did not work. I took my name off the mortgage and we sold the house and bought a smaller one. My financial problems have cause problems for my husband as well. I am so stressd out and have stopped paying my bills until I can come up with something. I went to the govn as i owe them too. they would not even accept any money from me. If I could get all of them into one and have them stop the interest, I would be willing to pay every penny I could , but I can't seem to find anyone who will guide me there. I really don't want to go bankrupt because i am in my fiftys and have worked and payed my way my entire life and i cannot fathom having nothing when I retire as my husban and i have worked hard and saved our entire life.. Our house should have been paid off but we mortgaged it for my business. now we have a large mortgage that we have paid for twice if you do the math. I am so depressed and just sick to death over all this. I used to be a very very happy person always and I find it hard to even wake up in the mornings. My mom has left me a small sum of money but i have not got it yet and it is not enough to pay any of my bills off. I am tying to hold off until I get it and that way i can maybe get my husbands credit in better shape. He took aout a line of credit that I wracked up too. and a credit card. those i want paid so that he is in the clear. the money i get wont even pay his credit card but it will help. If anyone knows any other way than bankruptcy, please let me know. Please, and thank you.

Thanks for your PM which I've just received. It must be so much worse losing your company as well as your home! Fortunately, since I've posted my experience, the bankruptcy experience hasn't been too bad. We've both had our official receiver interviews (well, I was exempt from one....OH got a half hour grilling), but she was quite nice, approachable, and didn't have any issues with our statement of affairs, and simply said we've had some rotten luck along with the credit crunch, and it's clear that 80% of the debts was simply to survive and keep paying the mortgage after I injured my back and couldn't work for almost 8 months. The most painful thing by far is losing the house as we can't afford mortgage and secured loan plus its arrears. And today my car was valued rather high, and I can't pay the beneficial interest so we'll lose that too...but we'll be given £2000 towards another one as we are car exempt (thank goodness) and the best news is as there is no surplus, no IPA for either of us. OR hinted at early discharge, so really...I can't complain! And as you said, it's a new start, and although we never wasted money on extravagant things, it's a good lesson to learn to always buy once you have the cash and not to use credit, apart from huge necessary expenses like car and house. It's really frightening to add up how much money is wasted on interest alone!!