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Dec 2010

After your bankruptcy trustee hearing–the goal line is in sight

Posted by / in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy / 222 comments

You’re in sight of the goal line.  It’s two months and two weeks ahead.

At your bankruptcy trustee hearing–called the section 341 hearing or “meeting of creditors”–two different trustees had a shot at you.

The Chapter 7 trustee looked at your papers to see if there was anything valuable to sell.  And the United States Trustee looked to see if you were a bankruptcy abuser–making too much money or dishonest in your bankruptcy papers.    If there was a problem with something, we probably would know on the spot.

Things are now on schedule for your bankruptcy to wrap up in about two weeks and two months.  No news is good news.  You don’t need to do anything.

Here are some deadlines we hope will pass with nothing happening.

The United States Trustee trustee has ten days to file a “statement of presumed abuse. ”  That would happen if he disagreed with the way I filled out your budgets–and they think you have too much money left over to be allowed to file Chapter 7.  If nobody showed up from their office to challenge me at your hearing, we expect this deadline to pass by.

Your Chapter 7 trustee has 30 days to object to your bankruptcy exemptions.  If the trustee thinks you have too much money in the bank, too much in paid for cars, too much real estate equity–or getting too much in a tax refund–that’s where problems would come from.  (Or, if you’ve moved in the last two years, there could be an argument about what law applies.)  Virginia has about the worst bankruptcy exemptions in the country.

If your exemptions are close, we would have spent a lot of time talking and planning when we first met.

Maybe one person in ten has an exemption problem.  The Chapter 7 trustee will almost always let us know at the hearing if it looks like there will be a problem with exemptions.

Your creditors have 60 days from the hearing to object.  (At least most of them do.  Debts like taxes–usually– and child support are not discharged by bankruptcy.  And they don’t have to do anything in the bankruptcy to prove that.  They can come after you whenever.)

Creditor objections come in two main kinds.  Credit card companies will object if they think you were running up your credit cards while you were getting ready to file bankruptcy.  One reason I like the Experian.com/reportaccess credit report is that it gives us balance history to look at together.  If I think there’s going to be a problem, we talk about putting off your bankruptcy for a few months.

Every year, only two or three of my bankruptcy clients (out of about seven hundred) have a creditor claim there was a run-up.  Usually we knew there would be a problem–but had to rush the bankruptcy for some other reason.   Now and then, someone will keep using the credit cards, after they see me and decide to file bankruptcy.  That will be trouble.

The other way we hear from creditors, is a claim that your whole debt is fraudulent.  Usually that’s what I call a “personal grudge creditor.”   Spouse or family member, former friend, or former business partner.     These personal grudge creditors can claim you lied to them when you got the debt–claimed it was for college but used it to buy drugs, for example.  Even worse, they claim you are lying to the court now–didn’t tell the court about the $80,000 in your overseas bank.

Those are tough for me to predict–I know a lot about the banks, but you know your friends.  (You also have an idea if your friends know something you didn’t tell me.) We hope there’s nothing like that out there.

The creditors’ deadline is 60 days from the date of bankruptcy trustee hearing.

We expect those 60 days will pass without anybody doing anything.  That’s true of nearly all my clients–and no news is good news.

When the 60 days are over, it takes the court about two more weeks to mail out your discharge.  The discharge is your final approval.

While you’re waiting, remember this.   The Supreme Court said just a few years ago, “the principal purpose of the Bankruptcy Code is to grant a fresh start to the honest but unfortunate debtor.”  549 U.S. 365 (2007).  That  “fresh start” the Court said, all the way back in the 19s0’s, is a “new opportunity in life and the clear field for future effort.”  292 US 234 (1934).

That’s what all this is about.  Your fresh start–your new opportunity and clear field–are just ahead.

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Robert Weed has helped fifteen thousand people file bankruptcy in Northern Virginia. Robert Weed is a frequent panelist and speaker at the meetings of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. He is one of Northern Virginia’s most experienced personal bankruptcy lawyers. As an expert on changing consumer bankruptcy laws, Robert Weed has been interviewed on local and national TV and quoted in newspapers across the country.

  • Karen Mikusak

    June 8, 2011, pm30 2:53 PM

    This article was VERY informative. I filed for Chapter 7 in Michigan recently and it would have been nice (and reassuring) if my attorney had explained the 341 Hearing process to me. Knowing the deadlines and responsibilities of the two Trustees certainly would have made it easier to sleep at night! I have not yet received a discharge, but after reading your article I am much more confident about my situation. Thank you.

    • Robert Weed

      June 9, 2011, am30 6:02 AM

      Thank you for those nice comments. Glad I can help.

      • jennie

        October 31, 2016, pm31 6:51 PM

        I went bankruptcy everything was cleared but I have a heat pump on my property through the power board I was told I didn’t owe it at the time I filed now they are saying I owe them and they want it all

        • Robert Weed

          October 31, 2016, pm31 7:16 PM


          The power board may have put a mechanics lien on your property when they installed the heat pump. Then the debt would still be attached to your property. I also have to admit that Washington Gas years ago claimed the right to repossess a heat pump if we didn’t pay–and the judge ruled they were right. (They clearly weren’t but you never know what you are going to get when you go in front of a judge.)

          What does your lawyer think is going on?

          • jennie

            November 1, 2016, pm30 1:28 PM

            Well you see the loan was in my brothers name and his name is not on the property and my lawyer says that it sounds fishie that now they are trying to say I owe for it because I went down there last month and they said my brother owed it because its his loan and they wouldn’t tell me nothing he went bankruptcy too about a year or two ago and they said his bankruptcy only paid half of it and their wanting it all in cash

          • Robert Weed

            November 2, 2016, am30 9:45 AM


            If it sounds fishie to your lawyer it seems strange to me too. Obviously way too strange for me to try to figure out on emails.

  • Steve Tran

    July 21, 2011, pm31 2:37 PM

    Hi Robert,

    Your article has been a lot of helps. Just want to ask you one thing. My tenant has filed Chp 7 on June 10, 2011 and the hearing was on July 20, 2011. She has not paid rent after the bankruptcy has been filed. Is she supposes to paid rent? Can I contact the Bankruptcy Trustee on this issue?

    • Robert Weed

      July 21, 2011, pm31 5:21 PM

      Trustee will not likely be any help.

      But you have the same right to collect rent starting June 11 that you would have had if there was no bankruptcy; send bills–for a partial month (unless June had been paid)–call, or court.

      Once the tenant moves out, you cannot hold them for the rest of the lease.

  • Jane

    July 22, 2011, pm31 7:45 PM

    Hello Mr. Weed. Thank you for such an informative website. It has been very helpful. We filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy and have our discharge hearing scheduled for Aug 4th. After filing last month, my husband has finally been able to find a full-time job. At our discharge hearing, will his new income be a factor on our bankruptcy?

    • Robert Weed

      July 24, 2011, am31 8:45 AM

      The big chance in the 2005 bankruptcy law was to spell out an eligibility formula called the “means test.” That’s based on your income over the last six months, so your husband’s new job doesn’t affect that.

      They also put in this vague provision about abuse based on the “totality of circumstances.” That totality of circumstances is, well, everything. So your husband’s new job is part of the totality of the circumstances.

      Having said that, I almost never see a totality of circumstances challenge around here. So if he were my client I’d tell you not to worry about it.

      But I don’t know where you are, or who your judge is. Or what kind of job he got.

      Did he get a contract with the NFL or Goldman Sachs? That would be more likely to be a problem than if he is doing the kind of job that most people do in your area.

  • Jane

    July 24, 2011, pm31 3:32 PM

    Thank you for your quick response to my previous question! We live in Southern California. My husband got a job that pays $12 per hour. When the judge asks us what our income is, I am assuming we inform him of the new amount we make monthly — and does the judge at that time tell us if we still qualify for bankruptcy?

  • Lisa

    April 10, 2012, am30 12:53 AM

    Mr. Robert Weed,
    I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jan. I had my meeting with creditors March 1st. The trustee wanted bank statements showing in 2010 I paid over $20,000 off in credit card debt, which i provided. I was asked if I expected a tax refund. I said “No, I owe” According to turbo tax I did owe. According to an accountant I can potentially receive $3,800 in federal, though I owe $200 to state. This is not exempt as far as i could see. Do I lose this amount?. Being quite honest it is the only opportunity I can see at getting ahead. Losing it is devastating. ‘
    If the trustee was concerned with the 341 meeting would I have already received a letter? My lawyer stated as you did..”No news is good news.” I am so scared, anxious…I never wanted to claim Bankruptcy, though my divorce, buying a home was impossible on only my income. I am current on my house payments.

    Thank you

    • Robert Weed

      April 10, 2012, am30 7:26 AM


      LISTEN to your lawyer. Your told a lie–well, a mistake–to the trustee. Your lawyer knows that trustee and will know what to do to correct that mistake.

      (You probably also were not very careful with your lawyer. If you had said, “I don’t know if I’ll get a refund,” then a good lawyer would have held on to your case and not filed until the taxes were done. Being complete and accurate with your lawyer avoids “scared, anxious…”)

  • mindy E

    July 17, 2012, pm31 8:23 PM

    My husband and I have filed for ch 7 in Orlando FL and have the 341 meeting next month. I want to know after that meeting will we be obligated to give any money to trustee once my husband finds a job?

  • Scott

    November 10, 2012, pm30 1:57 PM

    very informative site.
    I was wondering what your opinion is on signing (not sure of the name of the document) a confirmation that will let the bank I have my second mortgage through kept calling me and telling me they need it for there file. I was advised by my lawyer that he would not recommend signing anything and if I continue to make my monthly payments to that the bank cannot take my house from me.

    your thoughts would be appreciated

    Thank you

  • Ayeisha Clark

    December 2, 2012, pm31 1:39 PM

    Hii, i am currently waiting for the meeting of the creditors on 12.20.12. What i want to know is after that meeting I know that i have to do the counseling what I am confused on is how soon I can do it and if it takes about 60 days for everything to go through? I am also not sure if doing the chapter 7 can actually help my credit or not. Also I would like to know if you get paperwork after the meeting of the creditors stating that you met with the trustee and if you will also receive paperwork stating that your bankruptcy is done. I have another question as well, is it possible for this process to end sooner than expected?

    • Robert Weed

      December 2, 2012, pm31 2:56 PM


      Why isn’t your lawyer available to answer those questions, if you are in the middle of a chapter 7 bankruptcy?

      I don’t understand.

  • lorry

    December 11, 2012, am31 9:49 AM

    Hi, I’m overseas right now, I want to file bankruptcy chapter 7 my self, but I’m not sure if i can because I live here in Japan. I’m unemployed . Do I need my husband income to file for bankruptcy.

    Thanks a lot

    • Robert Weed

      December 11, 2012, am31 11:22 AM


      You need to talk to a lawyer and give him a complete picture of your situation before you decide what to do. Find a lawyer in the state where your permanent US address is.

  • Jeff D.

    January 5, 2013, pm31 7:23 PM


    I file for Ch 7 and my 341 meeting is coming soon. My attorney is out of town. I just realized that I have a mortgage overseas ( India) that i though it is not important to include it. I owe 80K and make $600 monthly on it. I use it for the family when we travel and stay few months of the year. My question is too late to include it knowing the meeting is coming soon ( my attorney is out of town till the end of the week not answering my emails).

    Not trying to hide this, If trustee asks me if i own a property overseas i will say YES, but what means the trustee has to know such thing.

    • Robert Weed

      January 6, 2013, am31 7:24 AM


      Lying to the bankruptcy court can be very serious. I really HATE it when people “just realize” something between when the papers go to the court and we go to the court. All the choices are bad.

      Let me just share one thing they teach young lawyers. “IF someone has to go to jail, make sure it’s the client and NOT the lawyer.”

  • Jeff D.

    January 6, 2013, pm31 3:23 PM

    Thanks. As I mentioned no one is trying to lie. I was searching for an advice. If someone assumes all questions asked by the attorney were pertained to debts and assets in USA only, then this is not intentionally a lie.

    BTW, I did not get an answer for my two questions, thanks anyway

    • Robert Weed

      January 6, 2013, pm31 3:29 PM


      Fair enough, your post is very helpful. It’s a reminder to me and everyone who works for me that we need to make sure people understand they need to tell the court about overseas property, too.

  • Melody

    January 31, 2013, am31 11:28 AM

    I am thinking about Chapter7 bankruptcy in Texas. If I have to sell my stocks can I use the money for appliances, flooring,swimming pool,pump and pool heater? Thank you for your time.

    • Robert Weed

      January 31, 2013, am31 11:40 AM


      I don’t know enough about Texas law, sorry.

  • Melinda

    February 13, 2013, pm28 1:39 PM

    I have a “personal grudge creditor” on my hands and I would like to know MY rights as a debtor. My husband and I are currently filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and we had our meeting of creditors just a few weeks ago. During this meeting it came to our attention that a bitter family member had contacted the trustee in our case prior to the meeting to tell lies and allegations (saying we own property and cars overseas) about us in order to have our case denied. They have no proof of these allegations yet our case is on hold and we were treated like criminals. Now WE are having to collect tons of paperwork to prove our innocence. I thought the “burden of proof” was on the creditor? Am I right and what are our rights in this situation?
    Thank you in advance!

    • Robert Weed

      February 13, 2013, pm28 2:53 PM


      The burden of proof is on the creditor, but you have the burden of answering any questions and producing and documents that they want.

  • Joe

    March 21, 2013, pm31 7:36 PM

    I am filing chapter 7 right now and I received around $4,700 for a tax refund which was of course spent on current bills, rent, phone bills, tv, internet, vehicle maintenance and so fourth. Will this have any effect on the filing or my bankruptcy going through? I do have receipts for most of this. I live in Colorado.
    Thanks, This site has been very helpful.

    • Robert Weed

      March 22, 2013, am31 6:37 AM


      Having receipts was smart. It has no affect as long as they don’t think you buried it in your back yard or sent it to Pakistan.

  • Teresa

    April 8, 2013, am30 10:35 AM

    Hi Robert, I have waited to the last minute literally to file my taxes because I thought I would owe since I owed the year before. I do not own any property and I don’t have much write off’s except for business expenses and child care.

    However, my situation is a little unique because I was defrauded out of money and this is why I had to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and it is listed in my schedules of what was defrauded and stolen from me. The judge accepted this and granted me a discharge. When I met with my accountant last week come to find out I can write off the money that was stolen from me and now I am getting a significant return and not sure how to handle it. Allot of the money that was taken from me was out from my 401K and I had taken out payday loans one up to $10k that had severely high interest rates for the person that was in need of money and conning me. This person is now in Jail for extortion and 2 counts of domestic violence.

    The Trustee also has an open claim to the person who defrauded me and his attorney. If they agree to buy out the settlement I would get to keep 65% of what they offer to buy of the claim and the Trustee would keep 35% minus administrative fee’s; if nothing is negotiated I can then move forward with civil litigation against the person who defrauded me out of money and his attorney.

    Considering the set of circumstances will the refund need to be returned the state and in all fairness I had no idea that I could write off the fraudulent activity?

    • Robert Weed

      April 8, 2013, am30 10:50 AM


      I’m sorry, but I don’t know enough about the status of your case to answer those questions. I also don’t know enough about tax law to answer your question even if I knew more about your case. Sorry.

    • Randy Reid

      September 14, 2016, pm30 11:19 PM

      Hello my chapter 7 case business was complete in August had to pay the trustee money due over personal exemptions my question is section 544 a trustee abandoned old receivables these were home improvement jobs the customer received the service just didn’t pay . Can I go after the money since 180 days have passed and I also would like to see a report what was sold how much etc am I entitled to that .

      • Robert Weed

        September 15, 2016, pm30 1:36 PM


        Yes abadoned assets go back to you; and when the trustee is ready top make payment, they send a report on what money was collected and how.

  • Cathy Lee

    April 26, 2013, am30 12:15 AM

    I filed chap 7 last jul 2012 and the creditor hearing was in aug and I received a discharge, but at the hearing I was told the exemptions were off and afterwards I was forced to turn in my car it was worth too much that was last oct 2012. I am still waiting for my case to be finished and have no car? How long will this drag out. The car hearing was April 2013. I live in the state of WA.

    • Robert Weed

      April 26, 2013, am30 9:09 AM


      Sorry, I know about Virignia I can’t shed any light on Washington. Obvioiusly you and your lawyer did not do good planning if you didn’t figure out how to protect your car. That’s sad.

  • Melissa Aronson

    June 22, 2013, pm30 10:48 PM

    My Chapter 7 bankruptcy meeting of the creditors is scheduled for Jul 10th in VA. Unfortunately, the law firm I am dealing with has not been very helpful in advising how to spend the money I have on hand now that it’s not going towards my credit card debt. I have $1,900 in my savings account left from my tax refund this year. Does that all need to be spent prior to bankruptcy? Am I going to lose future tax refunds? Can money be spent on clothing for my daughter and I? I am very cautious spending money except for on bills and necessities (such as groceries). Also, I am going to be reaffirming my car loan. Does this mean I will never be able to trade or sell the car until it’s paid for? Thank you!

    • Robert Weed

      June 24, 2013, am30 10:50 AM


      Sorry you have a lawyer who won’t answer your questions. The day the bank balances matter is the day your papers went to the court.

      I just looked it up–your papers went to Court on May 31, so that’s the date that the court looks at your money in the bank. Money building up after that doesn’t matter–and spending it down wouldn’t help. Most people are safe having up to $5000 in the bank at that time–as long as you didn’t own any really valuable paid for cars.

      Looks like you had your car with Cap One Auto. They are not hard to work with.

      (When I looked up your papers, I looked up your lawyer too. They have a very poor reputation with other bankruptcy lawyers. Sorry you picked them.)

  • Mike J

    July 10, 2013, pm31 6:48 PM

    My Chapter 7 bankruptcy meeting of the creditors is scheduled for Aug 2 13, i filed on June 3rd, Now one of the questions that i have, my wife bought a car under one of my credit cards back in Dec 2012, and it is under her name, we are not filing jointly, i am only filing for my self, shall i not tell the trustee about it? or should i tell them about it? since it is not under my name. your help is appreciated with this question

    • Robert Weed

      July 10, 2013, pm31 7:27 PM


      You bought a car(!) in your wife’s name, using a credit card in your name, back in December 2012?

      That’s definitely an issue….you really need a lawyer who knows your complete situation and the laws in your state to figure out the best way to handle that. I can imagine that not being a problem at all–and I can also imagine it being a big problem.

      • Mike J

        July 11, 2013, am31 1:50 AM

        It is the state of FL, i spoke to my attorney and she said not to mention it since it is not under my name, but i am not feeling so sure about it?

  • Alfredo

    September 5, 2013, pm30 7:07 PM

    Dear Mr Weed
    I filed chapter7 BKR in Texas, the 341 meeting just took place and everything went smooth. I defaulted on my mortgage loan back in May 2009. Texas code regarding statute of limitations has a four year dead line to file suit to foreclosure; my loan is presumably barred by the statute of limitations. I treated the loan as unsecured and disputed; the trustee didn’t mention or object to it, nor the lender. I understand that a secured lender doesn’t have to file proof of claim, therefore I would not be able to object it using the limitations as an affirmative defense. How can I raise the issue before the debt is discharged if the bank doesn’t do anything? The reaso I ask this is because the statute of limitations is usually an affirmative defense, can it be an adversary proceeding? Or does it have standing in BKR court?

    • Robert Weed

      September 5, 2013, pm30 7:11 PM


      You know FAR MORE than I do about foreclosure law in Texas. I’m a bankruptcy lawyer in Virginia and I often comment on stuff where the same rules should apply nationally. But your question is pretty specific to Texas and I have no qualification at all to say anything. Sorry.

  • Elaine C

    September 27, 2013, pm30 7:59 PM

    Hi Mr Weed

    Due to poor money management, an upside sown car loan and large student loan debt I filed Chap 7 in NY. I had my 341 meeting in August. It did not go well. I used my parents address for everything which I also gave my attorney. When we got to the court I informed my attorney this was my parents address and not the address I am actually paying rent. Big oops but we explained this to the trustee who asked immediately about the address. We were told to provide my rent payments and lease as well as all my bank statements for 2012 and 2011 and 2012 tax forms. The trustee also felt I had an excess of 600 a month which my attorney quickly realized could be fixed by including my student loans. I am nervous some mistakes were mine but all and all I think I have a lousy attorney. We resubmitted my schedules and provided the trustee with all information asked. Should I be worried? With my re submissions how long do I know if I am in the clear? Your thoughts?

    • Robert Weed

      September 27, 2013, pm30 8:20 PM


      I really lean on my clients to give me complete detailed information–even before I meet with them. I want everything in writing before I sit down with them in person.

      That, USUALLY, avoids the problem you are having “When we got to court I informed my attorney…” That’s what makes lawyers go home and throw up. I don’t know what to tell you.

  • Rachael Nguyen

    October 14, 2013, pm31 8:00 PM

    Hi Robert,

    I had my 341 meeting in Colorado and the trustee said that I have too much equity in the house that I’ve co-signed and need to sell the house to pay the creditors. Originally, my lawyer calculated and said that the house should be exempted but now the trustee said that the house market went up and I have too much equity and I have to pay $36k. Is there anyway I could get out of this? Is it possible to withdraw my filing or if worst case, negotiate to pay less? My lawyer is not too helpful. Thank you so much for your help!

    • Robert Weed

      October 14, 2013, pm31 10:15 PM


      I hate that! You can try to negotiate with the trustee, who may come down a little, if you can borrow form your 401k or something and pay. You are not allowed to drop out of Chapter 7 just because you don’t like the way it’s going, sorry. You could convert to chapter 13 and pay the bankruptcy court that 36,000 over five years–but it’s not clear where you would get the money–or how you would explain where you got it.

      There are no good answers.

  • karen Diane

    October 23, 2013, pm31 2:24 PM

    We had our bankruptcy hearing October 16, 2013 and all went well except a creditor showed up to our hearing )(we owed her money for a small claims court issue that we lost). Can she slow down our process?
    Our attoney told us not to worry about it because it is not something we are mandated to pay after chapter 7 bankruptcy,,,

    • Robert Weed

      October 23, 2013, pm31 5:08 PM

      Karen Diane:

      Sounds like your lawyer told you what the law is. You only need to worry about taxes, child support, DWI personal injury accidents, money you stole, student loans.

      Or intentional injuries. Years ago I talked to a women who had thrown an ashtray across the bar and hit another woman in the face–bankruptcy doesn’t help with that.

      You didn’t tell me what your small claim was, but your own lawyer asked you I’m sure.

  • Hoa Lam

    October 25, 2013, pm31 9:27 PM

    I filed bankruptcy chapter 7 in Oct- 2010. I got the discharged paper in 2011. I talked to the Bank of America Rep. yesterday, they said my bankruptcy case still open. My question are: when is bankruptcy case “Final Decree”? where do I get my bankruptcy case status?


    • Robert Weed

      October 26, 2013, pm31 12:43 PM


      Your bankruptcy lawyer should know if your case is still open and why–if it is at all. Sometimes when you talk to a bank they are just looking at their records and they forgot to update the records.

      If your case still is open, it could be any number of things. Sometimes just a computer glitch. Maybe you forgot to take the second class. Maybe you are under investigation for something. Maybe your bankruptcy trustee found something valuable they are trying to sell.

      Easy for your lawyer to find out what’s going on.

  • Jas

    November 10, 2013, pm30 4:52 PM

    Question: My Chap 7 has been discharged but is still open due to an on-going lawsuit, that I have agreed to allow the trustee to take party to, but the lawsuit is going to go on for years – I would like to trade in my old car and apply for a newer car purchase using the old car as the down payment (which I still make payments on). So do I have to contact the trustee when doing this or applying for any new credit while the case is still open?

    • Robert Weed

      November 11, 2013, pm30 12:34 PM


      You need to ask your lawyer there what the judges think about it where you are. Different judges see it different ways. Or ask the trustee.

  • Mike

    January 8, 2014, pm31 2:42 PM

    Dear Mr. Weed,
    I was reading your article and it says that taxes will not be discharged in the bankruptcy, is this always the case as I was lead to believe that based on my circumstances I could discharge my taxes. In dealing with the IRS they have had me in an uncollectible status for 2 years and when they updated my means test this year they didn’t say I should file bankruptcy but did elude that it may be my best option. I fell under all the guidelines to include these taxes but now I am concerned. Please help!!!

    • Robert Weed

      January 8, 2014, pm31 4:57 PM


      Thanks Mike; I’m changing it to taxes–USUALLY

  • Kristy morgan

    February 14, 2014, am28 3:18 AM

    Our chpt 13 is now done after 5 yrs. However during the process we sold property (through the court) but our repayment schedule was never adjusted to reflect this. Our creditors have all been paid at the initial 9% but there is an excess of 40k in our trustee account. Do we get this money back? Can the court take this money? I can’t get a straight answer from our attorney. Any thoughts?r

    • Robert Weed

      February 14, 2014, am28 11:04 AM


      Wow! That’s a mess.

      What happens to that $40,000 that would have gone to catch up your mortgage and now is just sitting there? The first thing it depends on is whether your judge thinks you had a “pot” plan or a “percentage” plan. If it’s a pot plan, then the money in the “pot” would likely go to the creditors–and they get a LOT more than the 9% they were promised. In as percentage plan, money over the 9% percentage MIGHT come back to you.

      I don’t know how your plan is worded–and I don’t know your judge, so I have no guess.

      Obviously you should have had a LONG talk with your lawyer when you sold that house. (When you decided to sell it, actually.) Did you need to stay in Chapter 13 for some other reason? Could you have switched to Chapter 7 at that point? What does your judge think about those things?

      A good lawyer would need to know the full details of your situation back when the house was sold, to decide what you needed to do then. A lot harder to fix now.

  • Rene Otero

    February 17, 2014, pm28 4:57 PM

    Hello, I have the meeting with the trustee in 2 weeks in my chapter 7 case. I have a family member offering me as a gift 3 fire arms, none of high value. My lawyer advised me to wait to have them shipped to me just in case but wont answer when I ask him about the time frame. How long after the meeting with the trustee, assuming it goes well, should I wait to have them sent to me?

    • Robert Weed

      February 18, 2014, am28 11:17 AM


      Sounds like your lawyer gave you a straight answer to your first question. I’d see what he says on the second question, too.

  • So Tired

    February 20, 2014, pm28 10:23 PM

    Hello Mr Weed,
    My husband & I received our chapter 7 discharge letter from the courts in Dec 2013 but are still waiting for the close letter.
    Shortly before the courts granted us our discharge one of the attorney working on our case granted our mortgage company a release from stay without our knowledge & The Company immediately filed a foreclosure suit which was rejected by the KS courts 9 days later after we submitted our papers from the GA courts. They then sent us to a collection company who is now hounding us with mail & phone calls demanding full payment for the Mortgage, foreclosure fees, attorney fees, & court costs. Our attorney wanted us to sign a consent order with the collection comp which I refused so they have told us there is nothing they can do untill the GA courts send us the Final Closure letter. Our attorney told us when we first received our discharge letter that we could now start over & begin to rebuild our lives, our youngest son age 5 has needed vision alignment surgery but we have postponed it because the only way we can pay for it would be to take the money from our 401k but we are afraid the attorney was not entirely truthful & if we touch that money we will forfeit our chapter 7 somehow.

    So my question(s) to you are can I do something to end the Collection attempt on my own & are we legally covered to take the money to pay for the portion of his surgery not covered by our insurance?

    • Robert Weed

      February 20, 2014, pm28 11:44 PM


      Am I right that the bankruptcy is in Georgia but the property is in Kansas. And you were able to block the foreclosure in the Kansas Courts.

      Sending you then to collections is a blatant violation of the bankruptcy discharge–they can foreclose, but they can’t threaten or call. And it’s also a violation of the FDCPA–Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Obviously you don’t trust your bankruptcy lawyer (in Georgia?) to handle that–not sure why. A bankruptcy lawyer in Kansas probably does not have jurisdiction, but a Fair Debt Collection lawyer in Kansas could go after them. One place to look for a lawyer who does FDCPA is here. http://www.naca.net/.

      And yes, as long at the 401k was properly listed in your bankruptcy (and of course it was PROTECTED by law in your bankruptcy) if you need to take money out for medical reasons and you don’t have anywhere else to get it–it does NOT interfere with your bankruptcy discharge.

    • So Tired

      February 21, 2014, pm28 7:16 PM

      Yes the bankruptcy is in Georgia but the property is in Kansas & we were able to halt the foreclosure in the KS Courts.
      The Company (CITI) did not take any action until after the discharge was issued & has only done so in the Kansas courts system. After that was rejected they moved on to the current tactics.

      You are correct is assuming we don’t trust our attorney.
      We have spent 9 mo dealing with someone who because of basic mathematical error 3x & 1x because they wanted everything to equil zero & not what the actual doc backing it stated, caused us to have to go thru a motion to dismiss, we have had to amend our bankruptcy 4x, I finally had to sit in the office with this person & stare over the shoulder as they input our figures just so I could make sure it was done correctly. Normally you would have to do some paper work that is to be expected but I have had to hand write every part of this process, itemize every single thing spent ie: groceries: 3/13-4/13 $476.11( toilet paper $11.98, juice $23.14) you get the idea. Every step of this process has been ridicules & the attorney has tried to push us into agreeing to change to a chapter 13 after month 2. I have had to search & read all I could on the law just so we could get threw this & our attorney even missed a deadline to submit our amendment #3 & on our final counseling certificates. Then the very day we won our motion to dismiss case this attorney signed a form giving the mortgage company the ok to come after us without even asking us. I received a letter from the court telling me they had done it & asked them why & was told when I signed the papers & paid them in the beginning of 2013 I gave them permission to act on my behalf.
      So yes I do not trust our attorney in the slightest & have tried to replace them 5x but once we entered the motion to dismiss which was very shortly after filing nobody would touch us.

  • Manuel Ortiz

    April 1, 2014, am30 12:01 AM

    Thank you sir for this article, very informative. I ask you this question because the attorney I used was part of a legal plan through my job, and he found out after we filed that I did not have full coverage. In good faith I put the money together to pay him what the legal plan would have, how ever he was not happy with this and wanted more, which I could not afford at the time. So he now is avoiding me. My question is this, in the trustee meeting the only question the trustee had was how much I would receive from my tax refund, how ever being that I only used about $1800 in exemptions he said it did not matter and that I was free to go. I did receive my refund and was given a .22 caliber rifle, of not much value. $450 total, as a gift not too long after. Which would still, with my refund fit with in my exemptions if it was listed. Will this become a problem with the trustee? Again it is a low budget rifle, and I had a lot of wiggle room in my exemptions.

    • Robert Weed

      April 1, 2014, am30 10:14 AM


      Assuming you are in Chapter 7. Gifts given to you after the Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed are not a problem. The .22 is not a problem.

      • Manuel Ortiz

        April 1, 2014, pm30 1:33 PM

        Thank you for answering. Yes chapter 7, what worried me is that allthough its a gift, I had to take possession of the rifle as a buyer since the person gifting it to me is not licensed for it in my state. So I was affraid of the trustee some how seeing it and thinking I hid assets. I was completely honest in my questionaire and listing everything. I was tottally honest. So even if I technically look like a “buyer” of the .22 I should still be ok?

  • Dean

    June 11, 2014, pm30 4:30 PM

    Mr. Robert Weed,

    I am currently 2 weeks away from a discharge. I am currently looking to surrneder my vehcile in that time but i also need to purchase a replacement vehicle. What is the best route to go with? Should i wait 2 more weeks, or can i safely assume and go ahead and finance a replacement vehicle at a cheaper rate? My attourney has advised me to wait until the discharge. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank You.

    • Robert Weed

      June 11, 2014, pm30 4:34 PM


      Your attorney knows your situation lots better than me.

      But I STRONGLY urge my clients to see if they can get a junker from somewhere that will get them around until they are back to good credit in three years. Financing a car right out of bankruptcy is usually an awful move. But like I say, your lawyer knows your situation and I don’t.

      • Dean

        June 11, 2014, pm30 4:40 PM

        A Junker is kind of hard to get right now since cash is a bit tight. I will need a vehicle before my bank comes and repo’s my current vehicle that is due for surrender. Just wanted to know if i can finance 2 weeks before discharge date

        • Robert Weed

          June 11, 2014, pm30 4:49 PM


          You are back doing the stuff that got you into trouble. I’d GUESS that after the discharge you’ll be able to get slightly better (although still bad) terms than you can get before. But your lawyer would know how things work in your area a lot better than I would.

          • Dean

            June 11, 2014, pm30 4:58 PM

            I understand that. Im not by any means looking to finance $20K. Much less than that. I need a vehicle for my daily commute. I also live in VA if that helps.

          • Robert Weed

            June 11, 2014, pm30 8:00 PM


            I’ve given you my best advice. Your lawyers has, too.

  • John

    June 27, 2014, pm30 4:20 PM

    After your Meeting of Creditors Hearing does anyone verify stated income? For example say i just started a job and they know that i have a job but I told them that i make 300 per week but i actually get closer to 500. At the time of filing I didnt have any stubs to verify income. Are they going to call my employer before my discharge is granted? They did not continue the case and the lawyer said it would take 3 months for discharge.

    • Robert Weed

      June 27, 2014, pm30 5:04 PM


      Telling them the truth would not have been any problem; your bankruptcy could be turned down for lying to the court, although I think the chance of that is very, very tiny.

      • John

        June 27, 2014, pm30 7:58 PM

        Thanks for the response. One follow up question to that. Would a trustee call to verify income? At the time I filed I was to receive my first check in two weeks. I told him 300 is what it would be for and that is what he turned in to the trustee. Obviously it is a little more than that. They concluded my hearing. It is my understanding that it will be discharged after the 60 day period that creditors have to dispute the bankruptcy. So basically I’m asking will the trustees put any more thought into my case or is it basically just going to be rubber stamped out the door provided no creditors object? And if the answer to that is yes or most likely, is there any chance that when I file taxes in the future and have a higher income than I stated does anyone check in on that or is it pretty much once your discharged its out of sight out of mind?

        • Robert Weed

          June 27, 2014, pm30 10:24 PM


          I’m not gonna say any more than I’ve said. Maybe not on purpose, but you misled your own lawyer and the court and now you want me to tell you to NOT worry?

  • Cami Brinkehoff

    July 25, 2014, pm31 6:08 PM

    I have a question I filed chapter 7 bk back in 09 got my discharge in April 10 i thought the whole process was done and over with. we are now trying to buy a house and I found out from my loan guy that yes our credit report shows we filed in 09 got discharged in April 10 but then it shows it was reopened in May of 10 and just closed in 2013. i called my lawyer who isnt available to talk for over a week but the paralegal said she thinks it could have been reopened by the trustee since we had to submit our tax refund. if that is the case why was it opened for 2 years would it really take him that long to distribute 2000 dollars. The big dilemma is my loan guy is saying we have to wait 2 years to buy a house which we thought would have been April of 2012 2 years from the discharge date. i guess my question is will we have to wait 2 years from the 2013 date since the trustee reopened our case? Also shouldn’t we have been informed of our case getting reopened? Thanks for any info you might have for me

    • Robert Weed

      July 25, 2014, pm31 7:12 PM


      I think it should be two years from the discharge. You should talk to a different loan guy.

  • Lenny

    August 5, 2014, am31 2:50 AM

    I tried to file a Chapter 7 due to previous business debt from personal guarantees. Once I closed my business I started working at a company with a good paying salary plus commission. I have busted my butt and now based on my commissions my income level is to high for a Chapter 7 according to my current bankruptcy attorney.

    I am now filing a Chapter 13 for only my “Personal Debt” and in hopes the Trustee would not accept any claims from past “Business Debt”

    Is this correct and also the way I should have gone about this?

    • Robert Weed

      August 5, 2014, am31 10:08 AM


      Sorry that you made a mistake lots of people do. you waited until you had recovered too much, and lost income eligibility for Chapter 7. I hate that and it happens a lot. One thing you should look at–if a majority of your debts are business debt, then you have Chapter 7 eligibility and your income doesn’t matter.

  • Henry Hackett

    August 24, 2014, pm31 5:33 PM

    Approximately 10 years ago we filed bankruptcy on all but cars and house. About two years ago we were contacted that we were part of a settlement from second mortgage that we were cheated on and we were awarded $30, 000. We were told that the money was going to a bankruptcy trustee due to our bankruptcy was during same time of second mortgage mishandling our money. We put everything in bankruptcy except the house, second mortgage and vehicles. We were told by the trustee that the reason we filed bankruptcy was the second mortgage. The actual reason we filed was due to huge medical bills and credit card debt. We are working on two years with them trying to get the creditors in our bankruptcy to claim the money. We want to know what kind of lawyer would help us, our bankruptcy lawyer didn’t want to help since it has been so long since we filed bankruptcy. There is one claim filed against our settlement, the trustee has change the settlement date for us to get the settlement money at least four times. Is there any way to get her to move along with this process? And is there anyone we can contact to help us? We just want this resolved to get our money and we really can not understand how this can go on for almost two years, especially when we were told initially it takes a year or less in the beginning. She has our numbers memorized we have called so often and will not answer or return our calls. I have PTSD from Desert Shield Desert Storm. And we tried the military, VA, the Trustee over the trustees in Missouri and no one will help said just wait. Any assistance would be appreciated! Thank you! Henry Hackett

  • Billy Ray

    September 4, 2014, am30 1:45 AM

    Mr. Weed,
    I will be filing Chapter 7 next month, have been waiting because in March of this year I made a lot of money and don’t pass the means test until then. Since March it has been pretty tough making the bills. Pretty much behind on everything. Is it required to be up to date on the Items you plan to keep, house, cars ect when filing or at the 341 meeting? Another question I had is…. I plan on getting a second job to help pay the bills… When is a good time to do that. Of course I know I can’t do it before I file as it may risk me passing the means test. And I can’t do it before 341 meeting as you have to take last two pay stubs to that meeting???? is that correct? To not effect my chapter 7 bankruptcy, should I start my second job after 341 meeting or should I wait a certain amount of time after it? Thanks for your thoughts on this.. Billy Ray

    • Robert Weed

      September 4, 2014, am30 10:20 AM

      Bill Ray:

      Obviously a lot of planning has gone into lining up your case. That’s great. You need to go over all those questions with the person you did your planning with–your lawyer, I hope.

  • Tina

    October 25, 2014, pm31 9:27 PM

    Hi, I already received my discharge for my bankruptcy chapter 7 on October 10. Then on October 20th my lawyer called me and told me trustee asking $5700.00 buy back for my business. I have a pizza shop which I don’t own. I don’t have no lease. I’m just paying monthly to month rent. I just own 20 pizza pans and some old chair and table and some inventory. I already mention everything when I filed bankruptcy. I asked my lawyer why trustee asking that much money for? They told they can’t answer that. My question is how I can find out my trustee asking for that amount. Because I did’nt received any kind a letter. We supposed to receive any kind a letter from trustee?? Please let me know

    • Robert Weed

      October 26, 2014, am31 11:18 AM


      Well you have the right to fight that value in court. Your lawyer should be able to explain why the trustee thinks it’s worth that much and what chance you have if you fight it.

  • Sara

    November 21, 2014, pm30 1:39 PM

    Your article has been helpful. My question is I live in Missouri and my husband and I filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy and had our meeting of creditors about 30 days ago. So we are just waiting on the discharge papers. I’m currently a stay at home mom and he works. We both got offers for new jobs and could possibly be starting in December. We would be making over the median of our states chapter 7. Would we have to notify our lawyer of change of employment if we take these jobs? Could it affect our bankruptcy?

    • Robert Weed

      November 21, 2014, pm30 2:33 PM


      The purpose of bankruptcy is a new start in life and a clear field for the future. That’s from the Supreme Court in the famous case of Local Loan v Hunt. Here in Virginia there would be no problem. Your lawyer would know if the judge where you are sees it differently.

  • Emily Haley

    December 15, 2014, pm31 9:01 PM

    I just had my CH 7 hearing and all went well, until 3 days after my hearing when I received a letter indicating I abused the bankruptcy means test and made to much.
    I emailed my attorney immedately and was told all we could do was wait. Well its been weeks and I am still waiting.ln the meantime, I went through my paperwork and realized that a timeshare I owed on was not inlcuded in my monthly bills because I stopped paying on it over a year ago after my divorce because my ex said he was going to pay it as agreed. Well I just received foreslcosure papers on the timeshare and they are going after it in court. I sent all the paperwork to my attorney and advised her that I forgot about this but soley because my ex was going to handle the monthly payment but they can legally come after me for what is owed because I signed the closing papers also. My question is the following: do you see people having to go to a ch13 ofter because of the means test. How often do you see this and what is the outcome? Also ,is it too late to include the timehsare foreclosure and will this help me on the means test since its in my name and they can come after me for what is owed? I also wanted to ask is the means test based on take home pay or gross pay?
    Thank you in advance for your help and answers. 🙂

    • Robert Weed

      December 16, 2014, am31 2:19 AM


      Don’t know exactly when all this happened; they have one deadline to fidn a presumption of abuse–they did that. Then a seocnd deadline to either decide to fight you or to drop it. That’s what your attorney is waiting on now.

      Enforcement is very different in different parts of the country on whether they always fight after they’ve sent that first letter, or sometimes don’t. So I can’t tell you any more about that. and it would depend in part on the details of your situation. For example if child support is what puts you over the Chapter 7 means test, but they can’t go after child support in Chapter 13, that would be one reason some courts might leave you alone.

      No it’s not too late to include the timeshare, but your lawyer will probably charge you to do the extra work.

  • Emily Haley

    December 17, 2014, pm31 4:42 PM

    Thank you Robert. I still have not heard anything back and the letter of the abuse is dated Dec 4th. Do you know if they will take in consideration my time share and realize that it would mean now that the means test would look different with the time share now included. I would think this would fall under the special circumstances that is outlined in the letter I received but I wasn’t sure. I do appreciate all your help.

  • L.powell

    January 8, 2015, pm31 7:32 PM

    Hi Mr. Robert weed I have a question,I want to file a chapter 7 but will it affect me on buying a house? my credit score is 637 will that drop if I file.

    • Robert Weed

      January 8, 2015, pm31 7:34 PM


      Yes, you need two years of good credit after BK to get approved on a mortgage.

  • Sheila Rae

    January 10, 2015, pm31 3:13 PM

    My son is filling out paper for chapter 7, he lives in Las Vegas. Re the Means test, he has 3 months wage income then 2 months were combo unemployment and wages, then 1 month unemployment. When all 6 months are added and divided by 6 the cmi is $3113 which is less than the median income – the question is how does he divide the numbers on the means test form. Can he put his average in the income section and then put “see note” on the unemployment line and enclose a statement re the unemployment is included with the wages? He could then show how he got his average cmi in the statement. Or does he apportion some of the average to wages and some to unemployment so that they equal the $3113? Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    • Robert Weed

      January 10, 2015, pm31 4:53 PM


      My means test form includes wages in one place and unemployment further down.

  • Sheila Rae

    January 10, 2015, pm31 10:15 PM

    Thank you for getting back to me swiftly. Yes I understand there are 2 places to list but the problem is how to divide between the two. The unemployment income is current whereas the wages are not. If you add them together they almost double the monthly income, this is not accurate. The CMI is supposed to be an average of 6 months not two averages added together. Does this make sense? I think there needs to be some kind of prorated amount so that it totals the average of the 6 months total income divided by 6. I hope you can help me figure this part out. Thank you again.

  • Sheila Rae

    January 10, 2015, pm31 10:54 PM

    Thanks again for your reply to me. I understand it now. The key was to divide both amounts by 6 even though there was not income for all 6 months and not unemployment for all 6 months but when I added the two together it effectively apportioned the amount like I wanted to do. Thank you very very much for your help.

  • TRE

    January 19, 2015, am31 2:51 AM

    Hi Mr. Weed,
    Filed in May of 14, 341 went perfect, trustee reviewed and could see we couldn’t make it being as upside down as we were and my husband being out of work for several years. My attorney said we “were good to go and start over with nothing to worry about”….discharge came in Oct of 14. We are just getting ready to file and should receive a refund….I emailed my attorney and have not received a reply but I don’t believe we have to file a 1040 and a 1014? correct. Should we not be entitled to the entire refund, correct?
    Thank you,

    • Robert Weed

      January 19, 2015, am31 10:55 AM


      Based on what you told me you should get your entire refund. Now you didn’t tell me if you owed money for recent taxes or unfiled taxes. The bankruptcy would not help you with that. Or back child support.

      So there are a few things that would grab your refund; but it doesn’t sound like the bankrutpcy trustee is one of them.

      (I don’t know what you mean, though, about filing a 1040–that’s your regular tax form–of course you have to file that.)

      • TRE

        January 20, 2015, am31 3:27 AM

        Mr. Weed,

        Nothing else there so I should be in good shape…thank you sir for providing free advice…it is very much appreciated!

  • Linda Taylor

    January 22, 2015, am31 12:25 AM

    Dear Mr. Reed, your articles and blogs are very informative and helpful. We filed for Chapter 13 in February 2012. We paid in almost $30,000 back to the Trustee and creditors for 2 years, through payroll deduction, and have been honest and compliant with everything. In July, 2014, my husband lost his job and I had major surgery. We asked our attorney to have our case converted to a Chapter 7. Through weeks of non-filings and no communication from our attorney, the motion to modify was finally completed in October 2014. Our 341 Meeting of the Creditors and Trustee took place January 8, 2015. After a series of questions, the Trustee said our meeting was concluded. This has been a very long and stressful 3 years. What are the next steps? The 60 day objection date is scheduled for Monday, January 26, 2015. Will this be over with and when can we expect our discharge to happen? I am following Pacer daily and do not see any updates from the Trustee or creditors. We are anxiously waiting for this to finally be over. We live in Michigan. Thank you, LKT

    • Robert Weed

      January 22, 2015, am31 10:59 AM


      You should get your discharge about two weeks after the end of the 60 day objection period.

      I’m sure you will be glad to get it.

      • Linda

        January 22, 2015, pm31 4:07 PM

        Dear Mr. Weed,
        Thank you so much, you have responded quicker than I have ever heard from our sub-par attorney. You have eased my mind, and yes, we are very ready for this to be final! Wishing you a very Happy New Year! LKT

  • Sheronda Neal

    March 2, 2015, am31 6:48 AM

    I filed Chapter 7 in 2012 and it was discharged in Dec of 2012. I just received a certified letter from a timeshare (Westgate Resorts) on 02/27/15. Saying that if I don’t pay the maintance fees I will be placed in foreclosure. This is from a debt collector (CFI Resorts Management, INC.) Working on behalf of WestGate Resorts. I am a little confused because when I called them they know I included them in my Bankruptcy. So why are they trying to get money out of me. They want me to sign this document they call “Warranty Deed In Lieu Of Foreclosure.” And they want me to pay $10.00 to do it.
    Not sure if I mention I live in Flordia. And this is were I filed my Bankruptcy and also were the timeshare is located (Orlando FL).

    • Robert Weed

      March 3, 2015, am31 12:23 AM


      If the bankruptcy trustee did NOT sell your time share (and they almost never do) then you are still the owner. Since you haven’t paid, they want to foreclose you.

  • Fred Dixon

    March 29, 2015, pm31 4:35 PM

    Hello Robert: As always I find your comments regarding bankruptcy to be to the point, very helpful, and not too many shades of gray. Would you please comment on reverse mortgages where the person is receiving no monthly payments from the mortgage company, but simply has a reverse mortgage. Is the mortgage protected in Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Can the reverse mortgage company call in the mortgage, providing the person is current with all obligations such as taxes and insurance. Providing also there is no ipso-facto clauses in the reverse mortgage that the mortgage company may call the mortgage due if the person files and is discharged in Chapter 7. Thank You as always and please keep your informative site up and running. Fred Kansas

    • Robert Weed

      March 29, 2015, pm31 4:39 PM


      In a reverse mortgage, your biggest concern is whether there is equity that the BK trustee can grab. That depends on the value, how much you owe, and the laws in your state.

      • Fred

        March 30, 2015, pm31 2:01 PM

        Mr. Weed: Thank You for the reply. I guess my main concern was if my reverse mortgage company can call the HECM mortgage due by the fact I filed for bankruptcy. My home value just about matches what the amount of the mortgage is to date, so there would not be much the BK trustee could grab.

  • dawn

    May 6, 2015, am31 6:04 AM

    Need help!Husband and IAre physically separated but not legally separated in VirginiaIf he declares bankruptcy as he is told me that he’s going to do then his children and I will lose our home Both of our names are on this house But he is not going to file a homestead bankruptcy Does he have to notify me How can I find out when his hearing is He will also leave me with his truck payment because I cosigned on it years ago PLEASE HELP

    • Robert Weed

      May 6, 2015, pm31 2:33 PM


      You need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer in your area–or a divorce lawyer who also knows aobut bankruptcy.

      This is way too complicated to answer based on a short email.

  • Anne Marie

    May 17, 2015, pm31 1:44 PM

    Hello ,
    I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Sep of 14 , It was granted all debts and also dis-charged. All of my Creditors were notified none showed up at my hearing nor did they contact me. A few months later one of my debts ” My Pool” started contacting my lawyer and myself. Letter was stating I had to return all ” Pool Equipment” I have no idea wbat that means. I was adviced to just ignore all contact from the company. They had the chance to dispute it and never did. I in recent recieved a cirtified letter from the company wich I refused to sign. Not a word from them in the last month. But my question is if they never disputed the “Pool Equipment” Being returned till months after do they have the right to come take it. With or without my permission on my property? I still have no idea what they mean by pool equipment and some I had purchased on my account and some I paid cash for but do not have any of the recipets either way. The letters did state they were offering to let me still pay for the merchansise but still at this time with medicial issues I have no way to resolve the debt. So do they have the right to come on my property and take the pool and or all equipment? Advise is much appreciated thank you so much for reading my post.

    • Robert Weed

      May 18, 2015, am31 12:44 AM

      Anne Marie:

      Depends on your state law and what you bought. They may have the right to repo it.

      You ask the right question, though, when you wonder what they mean by “pool equipment.”

      Here’s my rule as a lawyer. If they send us a letter on exactly what my client bought and when they bought it and what they think it’s worth now, then they get a call from me. If they send us a letter about their “stuff” I throw it in the trash.

      I explain more, here. https://robertweed.com/2010/03/09/after-bankruptcy-whats-this-from-weltman-weinberg-reis/.

  • Lucas Anderson

    June 10, 2015, pm30 8:08 PM

    Hello, We just changed attorneys because our previous counsel messed up our Chapter 7 filing. As a result, my case came up for audit by the UST. My new attorney reran the means test and qualified us, based on “future payments on secured claims”, since my mortgage (escrow) will potentially go up, due to insurance and tax increases in my area. Still, the UST sent a notice that my case may be dismissed if we don’t provide circumstances. My lawyer said if they’re not bluffing us, our case could go for a hearing. He thinks either way he’s right. Do you think we are ok, based on this information?

    • Robert Weed

      June 10, 2015, pm30 8:11 PM


      It sounds like your new attorney is on top of it. Obviously I’d have to rerun everything myself to know.

      • Lucas Anderson

        June 10, 2015, pm30 8:24 PM

        I appreciate your quick response. My new attorney had to amend nearly all of our schedules and means test after our 341 Creditors meeting with our previous counsel. I’m just worried because the UST has not accepted my new attorney’s findings based on future payments of our potential mortgage increases over the next 60 months, and they just sent a notice of presumed abuse. Although I’ve read all over the Internet and even on the DOJ Web site that future payments on secured claims is allowed by law, I’m just afraid if it goes to a hearing, the judge will already have his mind made up to dismiss our case, since the courts nowadays seem to side with creditors.

        • Lucas Anderson

          June 10, 2015, pm30 8:43 PM

          However, I my attorney said the UST is hoping to scare us into converting to a Chapter 13 before our case would ever go to hearing.

          • Robert Weed

            June 10, 2015, pm30 9:03 PM


            If you are over the income cut off and want to try to get approved for Chapter 7 anyway, you need one of the top lawyers in your area on your side. Obviously you didn’t when you started. Hope you do now.

  • Clarice Killian

    June 13, 2015, am30 1:16 AM

    Mr. Weed – We live in MI. and had our bankruptcy finalized in Dec. of 2007. In March of 2011, I joined a class action suit because I took Avondia and 8 months later I had a heart attack. Just this year I was awarded $20,255 by the courts for my Avondia lawsuit. Now the Trustee in MI. has reopened my bankruptcy and wants this money. Isn’t there a statue of limitations on this matter. My husband is 71 and I am 69 – we are both still working. We have managed to pay our bills on time and have paid off any debt not included in our bankruptcy. We lost all our retirement money on 9/11/2001. This little pitence of money is all we will have for retirement. Can the Trustee take it from us?

    • Robert Weed

      June 13, 2015, pm30 8:26 PM


      Whether the personal injury recovery belongs to you or the bankruptcy court depends partly on state law; and I don’t know the state law in Michigan. You also can hope nobody files a claim in your reopened case–they may not have any records on you any more. When was the heart attack? Was that before the summer of 2007, when your bankruptcy case was first filed? Should you have known you had a claim in 2007? Did you indirectly disclose it in some way?

      I’m just throwing out ideas here. You need to go back to your original lawyer and if he’s no longer in business, try somebody who knows how things work in Michigan. I don’t. Sorry.

  • T. Johnson

    June 24, 2015, am30 3:16 AM

    My wife and I filed chapter 7 in Washington last year and was closed on 6/19/14 per PACER. Now she is being awarded money from the nuvaring settlement all the debt due from the injury was wrote off before the bankruptcy, because she was unemployed and we were not married at the time of the injury. We have to have the trustee write off on the settlement, now our plans for the money is to pay off her reaffirmed car loan and a student loan (salle Mae) that transferred to her moms name, and put the rest in savings to buy a house in a year. Now my question is the trustee we had no longer is taking cases so how to we get him to sign off on the settlement? Also can we exempt this per state law of $20,000 for exemption? Also per pacer total abandoned debts were $9600 is that the only amount the trustee would have to pay since the remainder was either federal student loans, reaffirmed or reassigned?

    • Robert Weed

      June 26, 2015, pm30 5:32 PM


      You definitely need to talk to a lawyer who is familiar with your court and the law in Washington State.

  • EFB

    July 22, 2015, pm31 4:40 PM

    As part of my Chapter 7 the agreement was a percentage of a pending lawsuit would be handed over to the trustee following a judgement. The Bankruptcy was discharged – but left opened due to this caveat. I was just notified that the lawsuit is closed and the the claim was dismissed – leaving nothing for myself and the trustee. The attorneys office handling the civil case stated there will be no appeal and the recommendation was no appeal. They further stated that the will notify the trustee if this, and that I fully cooperated with the attorneys office in pursuit of this lawsuit.
    What possibly happens now?
    Does the trustee request the court to close the bankruptcy?
    The other agreement was for me to pay back a Be there in a few Be there in a few minutes thousand dollars – which I completed shortly after the bankruptcy was discharged. Other than that – the lawsuit was the only thing leaving the case open.

    • Robert Weed

      July 24, 2015, pm31 8:24 PM


      Based on what you told me, you’re right. The bankruptcy case should close.

      All I know is what you told me, but it sounds like you have it figured out right.

  • Rebecca Martin

    July 30, 2015, pm31 8:45 PM

    I am half way through a Chapter 13. Everyone is being paid back 100%. My husband found out he could get a great refinance rate and we are almost through the refinance process. The bank said all that is left is to get approval from the bankruptcy trustee. My attorney says that is not necessary and has left it at that. The bank says we are approved for the refinance with the contingency being the trustee approval. I am confused now about exactly how to proceed. I have tried to contact my attorney to speak to him directly but cannot get past his secretary who insists they can do nothing.

    • Robert Weed

      July 30, 2015, pm31 8:52 PM


      In our court a refinance needs to be approved by the bankruptcy JUDGE. Many courts allow it with the approval of the TRUSTEE, which is easier. (Depending I guess on the trustee.)

      You can try to call the trustee and say your lawyer won’t help what does he want to approve the deal. Hope that works.

  • SA

    August 27, 2015, pm31 11:25 PM

    Dear Sir, I was a victim of financial fraud (October 2014) by my then fiancé who had taken over family finances, then absconded with funds and other valuables leaving me with unpaid mortgage payments of almost 6 months for my FL Homestead property. which theft I discovered when he left. I had purchased the Florida property as a single woman in 2009 and paid it down from 130K to 116K. I immediately contacted the Bank for a forbearance and instead they started foreclosure proceedings – being without funds I could not get legal help and the foreclosure went quickly to trial when I was compelled to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, pro se, to stop the Foreclosure. I have a second run-down property in SC, purchased in April 2014 for 35K with a mortgage balance of 25K as my retirement home when I return to SC. The property is not habitable just yet but I am current on the SC mortgage payments and I just signed a Reaffirmation Agreement thru the BKC.. I listed both properties as exempt on the 7 Bankruptcy (since one was in Foreclosure). At the creditors Hearing last week, the Trustee said he wanted to take the SC property because it has equity of 25K according to him – the Credit Union Mortgagee shows an Equity of 15K on their Reaffirmation Agreement. My total unsecured Schedule F debt is approx. 25 K ( actual amount is less, but includes duplicates from Collection agencies, I listed them all for the total of 25K) The trustee was upset that I did not have an attorney even though there were no mistakes on my Petition. He mentioned something about taking the SC home and going into my County Pension. He said he would let me know my options (nothing yet). I am worried sick because the Mortgagee Bank on the Florida property which compelled me into the Bankruptcy in the first place is seeking Relief from Automatic Stay and may take the property if their motion is granted despite my objections and reaffirmation of their debt. If the Trustee takes the SC property I will have nowhere to go back to. Can he just take the property without me knowing? I work as a County Bus driver for Mass Transit and had carpal tunnel surgery in right hand in July but went back to work for pay – I have put off surgery on my other hand fearing that I may not be able to work at all at 60 years of age. I am also taking care of a 62 year old handicapped sister. Can I file for a Voluntary Dismissal? Could you please guide me – Many, many thanks for your help.

    • Robert Weed

      August 28, 2015, pm31 1:06 PM


      Like the trustee I think you made a disastrous mistake filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy without a lawyer. I don’t have any idea what to do now. If you can scrape together some money you really need to see a lawyer in your area, who MIGHT be able to help.

  • Sharon Dotson

    August 31, 2015, pm31 9:58 PM

    I filed bankruptcy in Flint, Michigan. My dad left me some money and died 20 days before the bankruptcy was final. They appointed some Trustee to re-open the bankruptcy. My question is the creditors wanted $18,232 but my lawyer said to send $28,000. He said the Trustee was to get the rest and that he had a right to it. Why can he take almost $10,000 of my money. Is there anyway I can find out what he gets this money for and why so much? This all seems very fishy to me. I am a 70 year old widow and I think I am being scammed. Can I call the District Attorney or the disciplinary commitee to fight this. Thank you for your time.

    • Robert Weed

      September 2, 2015, pm30 8:44 PM


      The trustee is entitled to a commission. $10,000 seems high. But maybe they ran up extra hours or something if you weren’t cooperative.

      The people who look over the shoulder of the bankruptcy trustees are the Office of the US Trustee. They OBJECT if the trustee commission seems too high. It looks to me like this is the person to complain to.

      Paul Randel
      United States Trustee
      211 West Fort Street
      Suite 700
      Detroit, MI 48226
      (313) 226-7999

  • Rhys Butler

    September 12, 2015, pm30 2:12 PM

    Hi Robert,

    My wife and I have stopped paying credit cards a couple of months ago to save up for a lawyer & bankruptcy fees. We have over $60,000 in credit card debt and currently make about $56,000 per year (family of five). We’re about to turn in our paperwork and pay the lawyer, but I just got word that my company may be selling it’s Florida assets and closing our Florida office. It’s somewhat speculative at this point, but needless to say I’m terrified about possibly losing my job and then my home (due to not having the money to pay my mortgage) on top of going bankrupt. Can I still keep my homestead under chapter 7 if I am temporarily unemployed? Thank you in advance for any insight. We are so underwater and want a fresh start, but I’m concerned about our home if my income goes away and I can’t show the mortgage company that I can take care of that obligation.

    • Robert Weed

      September 12, 2015, pm30 6:27 PM


      I would spend at least an hour, if you were my client, going over your complete picture, before answering that kind of question. I obviously do NOT know enough about you to give you good advice based on a five sentence email. And as a Virginia bankruptcy lawyer I know nothing about Florida foreclosure law, or the real estate market in your area. And while you have told me you are underwater, you haven’t said by how much. And whether there is one mortgage or two.

      I also don’t know what kind of work you do and how long you’d guess it would take to find a new job.

      All those things would go into giving you really good advice.

      Put it another way. Your question is only partly a legal question. It’s a planning question. You and your lawyer need to have your complete picture, to do smart planning.

      Now if you don’t think the lawyer you are about to pay is helping you do that kind of planning, then you need to talk to another lawyer. another lawyer who will take the time to understand your situation.

  • Kellie

    September 25, 2015, pm30 6:12 PM

    My ex-husband has filed Ch. 7 bankruptcy in Idaho, and the 341 meeting is in two weeks. He has declared that he owes child support, which is protected. However, I am concerned that he didn’t mention that the debt in the divorce decree that he agreed to pay (two credit cards, in particular), is going to be relieved, and then the creditors will come to me. I’ve been told that since he’s filed Ch. 7, I can’t file a contempt of court against him. Can I appear at the 341 meeting?

    • Robert Weed

      October 5, 2015, am31 12:20 AM


      Yes you can appear at the 341 meeting. I’m NOT AT ALL SURE that you can’t file a contempt of court against him, if he’s not paying the debts he agreed to pay in the divorce. You say “I’ve been told”–by somebody who knows?? You need to talk to a lawyer who knows about divorce and bankrutpcy in your area.

  • Bob

    October 19, 2015, am31 7:31 AM

    When I filed my chapter 7 in and Idaho, I reported my domestic obligations end this year. At the 341 hearing, am I obligated 2 point this out to the Trustee? Because it’s about 20% of my income and it is come to an end right after my filing.

    • Robert Weed

      October 21, 2015, am31 10:13 AM


      Around here the Trustee asks very limited questions. At the 341 you are obligated to answer the questions asked. If you accurately disclosed everything on your papers and you honestly answer the questions that are asked, then you have done what the law requires.

  • Alice

    November 14, 2015, am30 7:43 AM

    Thank your for all of the information given and your answers to all of the questions.
    A family member wants to do a quit claim of their property to me. I filed for chapter 7 in December 2014 and it was discharged at the end of March 2015 in Washington State. Do I need to let the bankruptcy Trustee know about this? Is there an amount of time after the discharge when I would no longer have to account for this kind of gift/inheritance or worry that it would be an asset that might be taken by the trustee or creditors to repay the debts? I’d heard 6 months from the date of filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy was the time frame. Would acquiring a gift such as this be susceptible to any of the previous creditors?
    Also, included in the bankruptcy was the amount of money we were in arrears on our mortgage. The Bankruptcy Trustee is doing a short sale of our home. No equity and under water. Is there any way the lien holder can come after us if it is sold by short sale or if it goes into foreclosure? Thank you for any information you might be able to give.

    • Robert Weed

      November 15, 2015, pm30 3:32 PM


      Thanks for your question. Your fresh start in bankruptcy starts the exact day your Chapter 7 case is filed. In chapter 7 there are only two kinds of property that are subject to the 180 rule. Inheritances, and property that comes to your separate ownership because of a divorce. I tell me clients if you win America Idol the day AFTER your bankruptcy is filed, the only requirement is that you “buy your lawyer a beer.”

      Still, unless there’s some reason for a rush, I’d give it a little more time, because you don’t want questions to come up. But in terms of the wording of the law, you are fine.

      What does your lawyer think?

  • rachael

    November 21, 2015, pm30 3:01 PM

    My husband and I filed ch. 7 bankruptcy this month and our 341 meeting is December 8th. We have no assets and I am the only income for our family of 5. If all goes well our bankruptcy should be discharged mid to late february. Our biggest question is if we file our taxes after we receive our discharge will we need to report any tax refund to the trustee? And can they take that? We were hoping to do some much needed maintinence on our vehicle with whayever we receive. We owe about $1200 in taxes from 2014 so we know that will probably be held from any refund first. So we arent sure if we will receive a very significant refund. We did put down in our filing paperwork that we do expect to get some kind of a refund.

    • Robert Weed

      November 21, 2015, pm30 8:42 PM

      Some bankruptcy trustees at the end of the year–like about now–wait around for those tax refunds and try to grab them; some don’t.

      It depends on a lot of things, including the laws in your state and the personalities of the trustees. So I can’t give you a specific guess.

      There are only a couple pay periods left this year, but you might want to possibly change your withholding allowances to 20 for the rest of the year–to hold down the size of the refund. Your lawyer would know a lot better than me whether that makes sense in your situation, since I hardly know anything about you.

  • Mike

    December 1, 2015, pm31 8:45 PM

    Robert I had reached a settlement with chapter 7 trustee he accepted then moved to give me a receipt saying I bought non except items then moved to final report then got letter from court saying they also approved him to get paid my question can I go live my life now with my family it’s been a nightmare I had a family member as my attorney advise to everyone don’t do this or should I still be Afrikaner this man can come back 5 years later wanting more money

    • Robert Weed

      December 2, 2015, am31 11:18 AM


      Having a family member as your attorney if he had no experience in bankruptcy–that would be a nightmare. Thanks for sharing.

  • katoria

    December 8, 2015, pm31 9:35 PM

    I wanted to know how the courts look at gambling when deciding if your debt will be discharged. I used my tax return and my school refund for gambling which totaled about $7500. Will that have a negative effect on my case?

    • Robert Weed

      December 8, 2015, pm31 9:50 PM


      Different courts have different attitudes on that. It might have a small negative impact, it might have a big one. That’s about all I can say.

  • Rebecca

    December 9, 2015, am31 2:01 AM

    My cosigner on my student loan has filed for bankruptcy and did not include the loan on his Chapter 13 payment plan proposal. How can I get this loan included in the payment plan?

    • Robert Weed

      December 9, 2015, pm31 8:57 PM


      Well, if it’s YOUR loan–you were the person who was in school–than I’m not sure most judges would even allow it to be paid in the co-signers Chapter 13. But a lawyer where the cosigner filed would know better than me what the judge is likely to think. It would also depend on the cosigners income and what else is or isn’t being paid. I don’t know any of that.

  • Becky

    December 9, 2015, pm31 7:31 PM

    My student loan co-signer filed for Ch. 13 bankruptcy, but did not list the loan on a schedule or any other filings including the payment plan proposal. Our loan’s owner has not made an appearance or an objection. As a co-debtor with someone in bankruptcy (confirmation hearing yet to occur), how can I object so that the loan is included in the payment plan?

    • Robert Weed

      December 9, 2015, pm31 8:59 PM


      Well not listing it at all is lying to the court. You should send something in writing to the court, but also to the Chapter 13 trustee. Most trustee’s would be really angry to find out a loan wasn’t listed at all. In fact, I think the first step is to call the Chapter 13 trustee and tell him.

  • Travis

    December 10, 2015, pm31 9:25 PM

    I just filed chapter 7 and my 341 is in January. Should I wait until after my bankruptcy is complete before I try to settle my private student loan debt with Navient.

    • Robert Weed

      December 11, 2015, pm31 4:33 PM


      They will probably tell you they can’t talk to you until your Chapter 7 is over. Bankruptcy does not get rid of student loans. But during they time the bankrutpcy is going on, nobody, including student loans, are allowed to bother you for payments. So that likely means they won’t talk to you.

  • John

    December 29, 2015, am31 11:27 AM

    I filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Ohio and have a few more months of payments. I am worried about my credit report. I have opened a few credit cards. They have 0 balance. I thought I could have accounts below $1,000 but I now understand that the $1,000 is total for all accounts. Should I cancel these accounts since I do not use them. Also I am an authorized user on an account and I am having that cancelled. Does the trustee look at a person’s credit report before issuing a discharge and if I close the accounts will that keep me from receiving a discharge? Thank you for any information you can give me.

    • Robert Weed

      December 29, 2015, pm31 3:00 PM


      That would NOT be a problem with the bankruptcy court where I am, in Alexandria VA. But I do NOT know what the rule is where you are–or what you should do about it. sorry.

  • Jennifer Ding

    December 29, 2015, pm31 5:24 PM

    Here is my challenge. My husband has been unemployed for 1 year and I have been unemployed for several months pending our bankruptcy 341 Hearing on January 5th of this upcoming year. I accrued a ton of debt due to mixing our business and personal finances and running out of operating money. We lost about 125k this past year. I am becoming an independent contractor through newly established business, an educational consulting business. Does my Trustee have any rights to earnings after the 341 meeting, as my income will be significantly more than my previous employment? I know that the Trustee does have the right to full compensation of my income tax for 2015. Does the Trustee get 2016 as well?

    Thank you,

    • Robert Weed

      December 29, 2015, pm31 6:30 PM


      Based on what you told me, there is no problem. But I wonder why you are asking me, not your own lawyer, if your hearing is NEXT WEEK. Based on what you said, your finances were pretty complicated–and you have substantial earning power. Did you file bankruptcy without a lawyer????

  • Cassie

    January 23, 2016, pm31 5:47 PM

    Hi I have a question concerning my home and the bankruptcy.
    My husband filed bankruptcy and has had his debtors meeting. A couple days after we were told that the trustee is sending out a realtor to take pictures of our house and to do an appraisal. We owe approx $58,000 on the house and according to other realtors the house is worth about $80,000. But according to the realestate websites our house is worth 120,000 to 150,000. I’m scared the trustee might go with the value listed on the website and we might lose our house. Have you every seen something like this happen?
    Thank you,
    From Michigan

    • Robert Weed

      January 23, 2016, pm31 8:15 PM


      Yes, that happens a lot. There’s a good chance the trustee will list the house for soemthing close to what Zillow or those types of websites show it. If it sells, you could very well end up losing your house. The time for a gut check on the real value was before you filed the bankruptcy case.

  • Kami buzinski

    January 25, 2016, pm31 7:38 PM

    My fiance is going thru bankruptcy. He gave me $10,000 three months before he filed. He lost 3 employees and it ruined his company very quickly. We reported the 10,000 on his bankruptcy filing because it was a gift and we have nothing to hide. Now his trustee wants to see my bank statements for the past year. I know they have a right to do that but we already reported the 10,000. Can I black out everything besides that transaction that came from him? I am a business owner and I don’t want to share how much money I make or have in my account. We are not married. Should I hire a lawyer?

    • Robert Weed

      January 27, 2016, pm31 12:16 PM


      Yes, you should hire a lawyer. Since your fiance gave you $10,000, the trustee wants to see if he gave you any more.

  • John Doe

    January 26, 2016, pm31 6:35 PM

    Hey Mr. Robert I found your info very helpful. My question is I just switched from a chapter 13 to a 7 because the only thing I had left to pay for was a vehicle that was not in good shape and was not worth the payment at all and was causing me more money to fix than the car was worth so my paralegal suggested that I surrender the vehicle and convert to 7 and purchase a new vehicle I filled bankruptcy because I had lost my job and was trying to catch up with bills and start fresh. I found a new job making pretty good money to get me back on track so it was best to just file 7 surrender the vehicle instead of asking the trustee to incur new debt I did that and was able to purchase a new car but now Capt one wants me to get a discharge letter from the attorney or court stating that my case is close and that I’m currently waiting for discharge papers is that possible to receive something in writing from the attorney or court while I’m waiting on the discharge letter. I’m in Georgia.

    • Robert Weed

      January 27, 2016, pm31 12:07 PM


      Your lawyer should be willing to write you a letter. But that’s no guarantee that Cap One Auto will accept that.

    • Laura Valencia

      October 19, 2016, pm31 6:41 PM

      Can someone put a lien in your property after two years the you have bankruptcy character 7?

      • Robert Weed

        October 20, 2016, am31 9:36 AM


        Not for a pre bankrutpcy debt, no. Sometimes this comes up when people forget that they have to keep paying the home owner association after bankrutpcy as long as they own the house. If it’s not that, there’s aa good chance it’s a violation. You need to get back in touch with your bankruptcy lawyer.

  • Brittany

    January 27, 2016, pm31 8:24 PM

    Hi Mr weed,

    my case was discharged January 21, 2016. I’ve been trying to get in touch with my attorney but haven’t received a call back. I simply would like to know will I have to give up my tax refund this year or how does that work? Do I need to postpone filing?

    • Robert Weed

      January 28, 2016, pm31 6:55 PM


      I’m sorry your attorney won’t call you back. Postponing filing does not change anything. If your bankruptcy trustee asked you to turn the refund in, then you probably need to do it. If the trustee didn’t ask for it, then you probably don’t.

  • Tequela

    February 12, 2016, pm29 7:26 PM

    I filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nov of 2015. And a im having a issue, My trustee request the irs ro give her my entire tax refund but I filed an exemption up to 12.000 on my schedule C form , my refund was only 8,000 I also sign a motion that was written up where I would only have to pay the filing fee once I received my refund. On the motion the trustee even tells me my tax refund for 2015 is exempt but she still had it tooken. What would be my next t step because I do not have a lawyer, any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Robert Weed

      February 13, 2016, am29 11:23 AM


      I don’t know what to tell you. That’s one of the reasons you needed a lawyer.

  • Stephanie Grider

    March 8, 2016, pm31 4:16 PM

    I’m looking to file. I’m married but just left and moved with my parents. How will all that work? For me to ever make it I will have to file.

    • Robert Weed

      March 15, 2016, pm31 5:10 PM


      When you are married and living together you have to show the court a whole family budget. If you are separated (as long as it’s not just cooked up for the bankruptcy) then you need to show the court just your own budget.

  • Wanda Alexander

    March 17, 2016, pm31 3:38 PM

    I found your information very helpful. My husband was a Senior corrections
    Officer. In August we found out he had Stage 4 Kidney Cancer. We knew immediately he would have to retire after surgery and that we would have to file a chapter 7. We started this in September of 2015. We had our court hearing on February 26th. Unfortunately I am on disability because of multiple knee replacement surgeries. My husband does have an IRA of sorts but it is called a TSP. We need to make mortgage payments and even with the chapter 7, we need extra to do this. Can we take out 2 months of payments for the house from the tsp? When we get the discharge we will be paying off the house we did have no one come against us at the hearing. On 2262016. Thank you. Bottom heart.

    • Robert Weed

      March 17, 2016, pm31 6:47 PM


      The court here would have no problem with you pulling $ out of the TSP after the hearing to make the house payment. I don’t guess it would be a problem where you are, but I don’t know your judge. You should ask your own lawyer.

  • Jeremy Young

    April 11, 2016, pm30 3:13 PM

    Dear Atty Weed,

    My wife and I filed a chapter 7 in January ’16, with the 341 held in March here in NC Western district. We filed pro se.

    We filed a Motion to Redeem (to be financed through 722 Redemption Funding). Recently, I spotted a car that would potentially have a cheaper payment, providing a better fresh start.

    Is it necessary to seek court or trustee approval to replace/finance the car in lieu of redemption? If so, how is this done? I have not found a concrete answer in my research. I know we would need to amend the Statement of Intentions to abandon, rather than retain.

    Thank you for any help.

    • Robert Weed

      April 12, 2016, am30 10:21 AM


      Here it would not be necessary to obtain court approval to buy another car–you want to withdraw your motion to redeem.

      • Jeremy Young

        May 8, 2016, pm31 9:18 PM

        Thank you for your reply.

        Would you mind helping with a related question?

        We ended up not seeking a replacement.

        The Motion to Redeem was filed less than 30 days after the 341 meeting. It has been over a month since it was filed, but the judge has not yet signed the order. The last day for creditors to object to discharge was 05/06. Will this hold up the discharge? Is it possible the judge will sign after discharge? If she signs after, will there be a risk of the lender trying to take the vehicle? They have not objected to the value in the motion.

        Thank you.

        • Robert Weed

          May 9, 2016, am31 10:31 AM


          I don’t know what the practice of your judge is. There may be a reason she didn’t like your order; maybe she wants evidence of value even if the creditor doesn’t object. MAYBE if you call the judge’s law clerk you can find out what the hold up is; maybe the judge has a regular signing day, or wants a hearing set. It’s hard to guess.

          • Jeremy

            May 11, 2016, pm31 12:21 PM

            Thank you. She just signed the Discharge Order today. Still no order on the redemption. Do I still have protection from reposessipon as all parties were properly noticed of the motion to redeem?

            I will try to call the clerk as per your suggestion.

          • Robert Weed

            May 11, 2016, pm31 4:28 PM


            I don’t know any more than what I told you.

  • Jeremy

    May 12, 2016, am31 2:11 AM

    I *may* have figured it out. The clerk’s office previously told me the court prepares their own orders. I wonder if this is not correct-I may need to file a proposed order for her to sign.

    Thank you for your help.

    If I may trouble you with one more question-my research has been unclear. How long after the order for redemption is signed, does the creditor need to be paid?

    Thank you.

    • Robert Weed

      May 12, 2016, am31 9:29 AM


      The judge’s order should say. I usually ask for 30 days.

  • Nick

    May 13, 2016, pm31 5:04 PM

    Hi Robert,

    If I am surrendering a vehicle (secured debt), how soon after the 341 meeting can the bank repossess the property, providing I have followed procedures and deadlines listed in the bankruptcy code advising them of my intent to surrender?

    • Robert Weed

      May 14, 2016, pm31 1:32 PM


      Good question. 11 USC 521(2)(2) says you are supposed to give it back within 30 days of the 341 meeting. 11 USC 521(a)(6) says after 45 days, they can come and get it. The creditor would be allowed to ask the court for permission to get it sooner. 11 USC 362(d).

      • Nick

        May 16, 2016, pm31 5:48 PM

        Thank you for your reply. I’ll read the federal code but if I correctly understand your response they can come and get it 45 days after the 341 meeting.

  • Jason

    May 18, 2016, am31 1:31 AM

    Hi Robert,

    I have read through all of the Q&A and one question that I had not seen deals with discharges and case closings in relation to selling an exempted property. I filed Chapter 7 in Dec 2015. I received a discharge on 3/14/16. My question is, since my case is still open, can I sell my home without worry from the Trustee? They Trustee did have a real estate agent do an appraisal in January 2016 since it was close to the exemption amount. They valued it within the limits of my exemption and did file a notice of no distribution. Since then, the value of the home has went up by about 50k and we would like to list it soon. Should we be concerned. We live in CO and we can’t trust our attorney since most of their advice up to this point has been wrong or inaccurate to be nice. They are younger attorneys.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Robert Weed

      May 18, 2016, am31 9:22 AM


      As long as the case is still open I wouldn’t chance it. The notice of no distribution should mean you are safe, BUT….why take a chance.

  • concerned

    June 20, 2016, pm30 6:19 PM

    I filed pro se because I had no choice. I lost my job could barely make ends meet. My unemployment ran out so now I have no income. Finding a new job has been difficult. I had my 341 meeting today, went smoothly as the trustee abandoned the property(real estate) no equity. However, 1 month prior the mortgage company filed motion for relief and IT was granted on 6/14/26. My mortgage has several liens that must be satisfied before the mortgage company can sell it correct? How long do I have until my property is foreclosed? I have no heard from mortgage company yet. Thank you for your informative post and your time.

    • Robert Weed

      June 21, 2016, am30 6:08 AM


      No, the mortgage company does NOT have to satisfy the liens; the mortgage company comes first. How long? I don’t remember if I know if you are in Virginia. In Virginia it might be two or three more months, depending on how fast they get going, other states longer. You might want to try to apply for a loan mod and see if you get a mod, or at least get more time.

  • Gordon Harmon

    August 26, 2016, pm31 1:23 PM

    We just returned from our cha 7 hearing with the trustee in Colorado. He wants our tax returns submitted to him next tax year, so he can take any money we receive. I am fine with that, however I have a couple of questions? Would it be prudent to change my W2, so I am getting more deductions, and therefore get more in pay and less in returns or is this considered fraud? Second, does this mean our case remains open till March, and we will have no resolution with the Credit card companies till then?

    Thank you for the advice

    • Robert Weed

      August 26, 2016, pm31 4:30 PM


      Starting this time of year I tell my clients who usually get big refunds to “change your withholding.” We’ve never gotten in trouble for that, here. I have no idea what the judge in Colorado would think of that.

      Unless something else is going on, you will get your discharge in about 2 months and two weeks from the trustee hearing, even if the trustee is leaving the case open waiting on possible assets.

  • Robert Shivers

    August 29, 2016, am31 12:32 AM

    I am in year two of my chapter 13 in Ga. I have a question I do have a lawyer but I wanted to know that if I trade in my stock from my employer for cash do I have to report it to the trustees? My stock just became excersiable this year and I don’t have the money to buy it so I’m selling them back to the company to relieve the net gain. I do need the money 11,000 to use on the two cars that are in my chapter 13…they both need repairs to the cost of $8000 …or should I just convert to a chapter 7??? And if I do would I be able to get another car loan quickly??

    • Robert Weed

      August 29, 2016, pm31 12:24 PM


      In Virginia, the trustee would pick it up when it shows on your taxes next year. Your court may have TOLD you what you are supposed to do;I don’t know about that

      Don’t know why you were in Chapter 13 to begin with, so I don’t know if you should convert. Sorry.I can tell you I’m usually looking for ways people can get out of Chapter 13.

  • Nicholas

    September 14, 2016, pm30 8:16 PM

    Robert, I appreciate what you are doing. I have a small question. I have my Meeting of creditors tomorrow for my Ch. 7. My car just broke down and my Father has been kind enough to give me one of his old cars. Will the Trustee take the car to try and pay off debts? It value is around 4,000

    • Robert Weed

      September 15, 2016, pm30 1:37 PM


      Tomorrow is now today, so this may be too late. Your father giving you a car AFTER the bankrutpcy was filed is NOT a problem. It belongs to you.

  • Angela Smith

    November 3, 2016, pm30 5:26 PM

    Thank you this was very informative. I just filed for bankruptcy yesterday and my trustee hearing is in a month. I have about 4000 $ (and there will be more coming this month) in receivables that haven’t been deposited yet into my account. ( because I am self employed. ) how do I protect this money?

    Thank you!

    • Robert Weed

      November 6, 2016, am30 10:12 AM


      Sorry, I don’t know what state you are in or what the rest of your financial picture looks like. So my advice would just be a shot in the dark.

  • J

    January 9, 2017, am31 2:05 AM

    Robert, I’m in Colorado, I have read some contradicting views on finding a good job after filing for Chapter 7, so I was wondering which one is true – let’s say you qualify for ch 7, and when you filed you were unemployed, but then you got a job offer that would pay really well before you had your creditor’s meeting. Would your ch 7 be changed to a 13? Or do you get locked in in the ch 7 because at the time of filing you qualified for that? And if it would change to a ch 13 – how long would you have to wait before you could get a good paying job and not worry about it changing to a ch 13?

    • Robert Weed

      January 9, 2017, am31 5:44 AM


      Well that’s a good question. Let me just say that’s a gray area and I wouldn’t want to put any more than that in writing.

  • Ron Blauvelt

    January 29, 2017, pm31 12:07 PM

    when i took out my credit cards, i made alot more money than i have over the last yeat. Problem is this money was from side income(tiling, painting etc) and was paid in cash and not included in my tax returns. During the few years i was making the side money i wasted the money on gambling and strip clubs.
    i am worried that the creditors or trustee may try to claim fraud, since i cannot prove i made that money.

    i have had health problems over last 18 months(gi bleed and heart attack) that have discontinued me from being able to make substantial money anymore. my source of income is my regular 40hr wk job, paying 35k yr. i had listed 120k on my credit apps, with side jobs and fiance income. how likely is it that i will have an objection to my bk. im in arizona

    • Robert Weed

      January 29, 2017, pm31 1:19 PM


      If you were here we’d spend maybe half an hour looking at your credit report, your taxes, the times you used the cards and how long you paid—all to decide when, and if, it would be safe to go into the bankruptcy court. All I can say at this distance is you are right to be concerned.

  • David

    February 13, 2017, am28 1:47 AM

    My 5 years in chapter 13 is almost up I paid over 30,00 on my house only around 840 on interest but showing I still owe 53,000 on it should it not be lower

    • Robert Weed

      February 13, 2017, am28 11:33 AM


      Still showing where?

  • Chad hutchison

    February 16, 2017, pm28 2:10 PM

    How soon can I begin applying for credit in order to begin rebuilding?.. Do I have to wait for discharge?
    I’m only asking because I want to start as soon as I can. I will need a new o me vehicle soon (almost 300k miles) so improving my credit is important before I have a serious breakdown.
    First meeting of creditors was today by the way.

    • Robert Weed

      February 16, 2017, pm28 5:02 PM


      You can apply whenever, but they rarely approve you until after the discharge.

  • Steve

    February 28, 2017, pm28 6:40 PM

    Great page Mr. Woods.. We just had our trustee meeting and none of the creditors showed up.. We are now in the waiting phase… My questions are, Did the trustee already investigate for anything that may be wrong with what I filled and he would have said so at the meeting if he found something?? or is the trustee just now started investigating for things that may be wrong with what we had filed and said on the forms and at the meeting.. Are we now out of the wood sort a speak? Just trying to sleep at night now… Thank you

    • Robert Weed

      March 1, 2017, am31 9:51 AM


      I could tell your the process here in Northern Virginia, but I don’t know if it’s the same where you are. Sorry.

  • Kady

    May 17, 2017, am31 1:07 AM

    Hi, my husband and I just went to our meeting of creditors this week. I’m the time since we originally filed, my car broke down and we had to sell an old truck to try and get me another vehicle or repair it. We updated our information, the trustee said we got $1000 more than what the truck’s value was, so now he is coming to our home to appraise our personal belongings. We don’t own a home, we own nothing of value, why is he doing this? Any idea what he will try to take? Is this routine? My lawyer is in shock and didn’t see this coming. Thank you for any insight. This is all very scary. I just imagine them carrying my kids toys out to trucks.

    • Robert Weed

      May 17, 2017, pm31 2:11 PM


      If your lawyer was surprised, I am too. Different trustees act differently in different parts of the country. I have a tought time keeping up with mine, but that’s as far as I can go. Wish I could be of some help.

  • Christine Noel

    June 10, 2017, am30 5:39 AM

    Since filing my Chap 7 and having gone through the creditors meeting, I’m just waiting to hear from my attorney. We’re about a month out from the time it should be discharged. I guess if I have not heard from him, it must mean good news? I was about $45K in debt with no assets to speak of. What I’d like to know is, I do need a little bit of money until I get my next social security check but that’s in another 3 weeks. I have a small ring (included in my list of jewelry I own with bankruptcy papers) but I need to pawn it for three weeks to allow me to have the cash ($100) and then I’ll pick it back up from the pawn shop once I get my SS check. Would that be illegal to do? Would the pawn shop be able to look up and see that I’ve filed Chap 7? (They know me for years but I’ve not told them.) I don’t want to do anything to get me in hot water but then again, I need money to pick up medication, buy a few groceries. Thank you.

    • Robert Weed

      June 20, 2017, pm30 12:07 PM


      You need to ask your lawyer. Different judges would feel differently about that.

  • Michael

    July 10, 2017, pm31 2:00 PM

    I recently filed a chapter 7 and had my 341 meeting..i have a purchase security money interest on a lawn tractor that was recently stolen and I’m now not going to reaffirm the loan..what happens if the creditor comes to pick up the tractor and I no longer have it?

    • Robert Weed

      July 10, 2017, pm31 2:12 PM

      Probably nothing, unless they can show that you somehow stole the tractor yourself. Did you file a police report? Did you list it in your state of affairs where they ask about property lost through theft?

  • Michelle

    September 25, 2017, pm30 3:44 PM

    Hi Robert,

    I live in the state of FL and I only had 91.00 in my bank account when I filed my bankruptcy and I added it to schedule b but not schedule c. My meeting of creditors is Oct 26th 2017. should I amend schedule c to exempt the 91.00 before the 26th? or how much time do I have to make the amendment?

    • Robert Weed

      October 1, 2017, pm31 3:01 PM

      If you made a mistake you should correct it as fast as you can.

  • SaraF

    October 12, 2017, am31 12:24 AM

    Do you have any experience with the means test exemption for disabled vets? We filed ch7 and have our 341 in two weeks. My husband skipped the means test because he is 100% disabled and nearly all of our debt was incurred while he was active. Our biggest debt is clearly our home which we purchased in 2015, a year before he retired. However our attorney thinks we could get some push back from the UST because we refinanced the home after he retired. He thinks they could look at this like new debt, therefor the biggest chunk of our debt incurred after he retired. We refinanced because we were able to get a much lower interest rate and get a little cash to pay off some debt. It seems like such a grey area to me but I am really scared because if he has to take the means test we will for sure need to file 13.

    • Robert Weed

      October 12, 2017, am31 9:37 AM


      I’ve never had them fight me on that here in Alexandria VA. But your judgement may have a problem with it; I don’t know.

  • Melody Carnell

    December 7, 2017, pm31 10:28 PM

    Mr. Weed
    In Maryland, If you filed for chapter 7 in Oct 2017 then got laid off in Nov 2017 and offered a severance package, can the trustee take the severance package even though it was offered to you AFTER you filed and was not for any work done in the year, prior to filing?

    • Robert Weed

      December 10, 2017, am31 9:53 AM

      Melody: I don’t risk commenting on Maryland law. My insurance wouldn’t let me. Sorry.

  • Stevie

    December 21, 2017, am31 11:17 AM

    Mr. Weed,
    My wife and I filed Ch. 13 in central Va. Our 341 meeting is not until middle of Jan 2018. If we get a tax refund, will that automatically go to trustee? We file online every year and usually get a small amount. Or will this years tax refund not be affected because the tax year of 2017 is over?

    • Robert Weed

      December 22, 2017, am31 9:51 AM


      Sorry I don’t know. It depends partly on what your plan says, and partly on what the judges thinks should happen if the plan doesn’t say.

  • judith

    February 13, 2018, pm28 1:01 PM

    This article was very helpful. We recently filed chapter 7, Oct 2017, and the judge wanted to see the last 3 months of my bank statements, which my lawyer had with him and wants to see my 2017 tax refund. I am concerned about this as this is the only money we have to get a fresh start and use for any type of savings if anything goes wrong, cars, house etc. It usually is only about $5000.00 We recently found out it was discharged, which leads me to believe the judge wont take my tax refund, is this false hope? We have not received any notification from lawyer yet or anything from the courts, it was a car dealer solicitation but it had the correct discharge number on it.

    • Robert Weed

      February 13, 2018, pm28 1:45 PM


      Each state has it’s own rules on how much money you would have been able to keep. Your lawyer should look and see if a “no assets report” was filed.

  • Crystle

    April 17, 2018, am30 2:57 AM

    my husband filed in march of this year. we received our tax return a couple weeks prior and spent it down on bills and clothing for our children and repairs to our vehicles. at the creditors meeting the trustee said he wanted a check for $2,500 since that’s what we had left from our return. my husband sent him the documents for our 2017 return and we received an email on April 15th from the trustee’s office stating that he reviewed the documents and we need to pay him $5,000. he has it recorded that all we have to do is give him a check for $2,500 and a copy of the return documents and the case will me discharged. now he is changing the amount. is there anything we can do?

    • Robert Weed

      April 21, 2018, pm30 1:18 PM


      Don’t know, sorry. Depends on what you filed with the court and your tax refund. And your state laws.

  • Robert

    July 15, 2019, pm31 5:38 PM

    Mr Weed,
    My wife and I filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy because I lost my job. At the time we filed I had no income and we passed the means test. About 2 weeks later the unemployment investigator concluded that I qualified for benefits. With my benefits we still qualify under the means test but should I bring up that I’m recieving unemployment? Is unemployment something the trustee will find if I dont disclose?

    • Robert Weed

      July 16, 2019, pm31 3:47 PM


      The trustee will ask you “are you still working at the same place?” and you should say, “I’m drawing unemployment.”

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