Today I would like to address  your actual bankruptcy hearing.  The main thing I want to emphasize is that you should not be afraid of it.  You will not be going in front of a judge, but instead someone called a Bankruptcy Trustee.  The main reason for this hearing is just to make sure that you are being totally truthful about your financial situation.  If all the information you have submitted is truthful, then the hearing will be easy. 

The Trustee will just ask if your vital statistics are correct, make sure you have never filed for Bankruptcy in the last 7 years (locally or in another state) and that you do not own any assets you have not revealed.  My lawyer told me some real horror stories: a prospective client who got money from a charge card to gamble with and another one who had a second home in Iceland.  Obviously my lawyer did not take these folks on as clients.

Also, at this point, I’d like to talk a bit about how you hire a lawyer.  If you, like me, have little experience with lawyers, you want to be sure to hire someone who specializes in bankruptcy.  If you don’t know someone who can recommend such a lawyer, then the best way to go is through the County Legal Aid Association.  I paid $30.00 on the spot and was given a recommendation and entitled to a half hour meeting with that lawyer.  During that time you and he (or she) can decide if you are a good fit and the lawyer will tell you what the charge will be.  If you are not pleased with the lawyer, don’t hesitate to let him know and you will not sign up.  Of course, that means another$30.00 to meet with someone else.  I’ve already told you that I was very happy with the person I met with.

Let’s go back to that bankruptcy hearing.  Be sure to give yourself lots of extra time to get to the hearing.  That may seem evident, but I know how easy it is to be late getting out the door.  And it would be really disastrous to not be there when your name is called.   You could reschedule,  but you would not make a very good impression on the Trustee.  The hearing will be in the nearest Courthouse and do make absolutely sure you know how to find it and give yourself time to park or better still, take public transportation (and carefully check the schedule for that too).  Better to get to the hearing and have to wait than be late.  When your name is called, then just answer all the questions truthfully and it will be over in about 15 minutes.  And your lawyer will be there with you to answer any questions asked of him and also for any clarification.  That alone is enough reason to have a lawyer.

Now you are finished with the hardest parts of this process.  Next time: what happens after the hearing and the steps you’ll want to take to get your life back on track.



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