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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases result in the immediate end of any legal proceedings against you to take money or other kinds of property, including your home, away from you. A trustee is appointed to manage your case. The trustee’s job is to read the petition and schedules and ask the debtor questions under oath about property, debts, and other financial issues. This usually occurs at a courthouse or in some other governmental office. The debtor must attend this important meeting.
The trustee has a duty to sell the debtor’s nonexempt property and to pay creditors in a specific order of priority required in the Bankruptcy Code.
Since exempt property may vary from state to state, the debtor or person preparing the bankruptcy petition and schedules must know what law applies in order to preserve the most property for the person desiring a fresh start in life. ‘Exempt property’ is property a debtor gets to keep to help get a fresh start in life. Under the Bankruptcy Code, each state has the right to opt out of the generous federal exemptions and to add their own. The State of Florida does not recognize the Federal exemptions. Instead, you must use the Florida exemptions.
The filing of any bankruptcy petition results in the automatic stay being imposed. Creditors are prohibited by Federal law from taking any action to collect money or take property from you. This includes cars or homes. They must ask the bankruptcy judge for permission to resume any action except in very limited circumstances. They must prove their legal right to do so.
A Chapter 7 debtor receives a discharge of all debts. There are a few exceptions to debts to be discharged. These include student loan debt and, under some circumstances, Federal tax debt. The discharge is mailed to the debtor 60 days after the debtor meets with the trustee.