The Chapter 7 Process

Oregon Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys

Guiding Clients in Portland, Gresham, and Surrounding Areas through the Chapter 7 Process

Once eligibility for Chapter 7 relief is determined, our professionals will work together with you to prepare the Bankruptcy Petition. The petition consists of many lists, called “schedules,” that show the court your property and debts, as well as your income and expenses. The petition also provides other information about your financial affairs.

Approximately 30 days after the petition is filed, the debtor and his or her attorney attend a hearing called the Section 341(a) Meeting of Creditors, where a Chapter 7 trustee asks you about the information contained in the petition. You are required to attend this meeting; however, it is less formal than most court hearings. At the conclusion of the meeting, or shortly thereafter, the Chapter 7 trustee will declare whether your case is an “asset” or “no asset” case. In most “no asset” cases, you will receive a discharge of your eligible debts in about 60 days.

“No Asset” Case

A “no asset” case means your assets are exempt from execution, meaning there is nothing the Chapter 7 trustee can sell to pay your creditors. Each state in the U.S. allows debtors to keep certain property up to a specified value and prohibits creditors or the bankruptcy trustee from taking that property. These types of property are said to be ‘exempt.’ For example, in Oregon, an individual debtor can keep a home with as much as $40,000 in equity (up to $50,000 for married debtors). Other specific exemptions (and more) exist for things like:

  • Clothing
  • Household Goods
  • Firearms
  • Cars
  • Tools

Our bankruptcy attorneys can help you determine the reasonable value of your property and let you know before your 341(a) meeting whether the trustee will try to sell any of your property. In most cases, you can keep everything.

“Asset” Case

An “asset” case results when the Chapter 7 trustee determines that you have non-exempt assets or assets with a value that exceeds the allowable exemption amount that could be sold to partially pay your creditors.

For example, if you own a car outright that is currently worth $5,000, the exemption amount for a car in Oregon is $3,000. In this situation you would have $2,000 in non-exempt equity in your car, in which case the trustee could sell the car for $5,000, give you $3,000, and then give the remaining $2,000 to your creditors. In most cases, however, the trustee will accept payment from you for the non-exempt equity, allowing you to keep your car. Typically, these payments can be made over time and sometimes the amount of non-exempt equity is negotiable. Our attorneys can help you determine the best way to handle assets that exceed applicable exemptions.

Call the bankruptcy attorneys at Owens / Pinzelik, P.C. at 503.224.3100 or contact us online to see if bankruptcy can help you.

Our initial bankruptcy consultations are FREE. Call now to schedule your free no obligation consultation and find out if our bankruptcy attorneys can help you and your family.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy code. These materials have been prepared and are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.

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