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Are your finances in disarray? Are the debts piling up faster than you are making money? Is your business in financial trouble? Do you have medical bills you’ll never be able to pay off?  If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, you aren’t alone and should consider filing for bankruptcy. Knowing what the stages of bankruptcy are and what to expect will help you make up your mind if you are speculative about the process.

What Happens When I File for Bankruptcy?

Filing is just the first stage of bankruptcy, no matter which structure you decide on; there are still many stages to the process from meeting with debtors to negotiating which debts will be discharged. Bankruptcy, regardless of the structure you choose, has many stages and it helps to understand the stages you will be going through when trying to decide if bankruptcy is right for you.

Bankruptcy Trustee

Soon after you file for bankruptcy, a trustee will be assigned to your case. The trustee works to ensure you pay as much to your creditors as possible. They will conduct a detailed evaluation of your finances and determine how much you must pay each creditor.

If you filed for Chapter 7, the trustee oversees the sale of your assets and pays off your creditors. It is important to note that you should never try to hide assets from a bankruptcy trustee because you can charge with bankruptcy fraud and put your case in danger.

Meeting with Creditors, 341 Meeting

When you file for bankruptcy, you along with your counsel and bankruptcy trustee must meet and begin discussing the how debts will be resolved. This meeting is called the 341 meeting because it is Section 341 of the U.S. bankruptcy code. Creditors don’t usually attend Chapter 7 meetings. However, in Chapter 13 cases, creditors can attend the 341 meeting if they would like to raise an objection. Creditors, debtors, and their legal counsel typically work out the bankruptcy terms without involving a judge unless they cannot come to mutually agreed upon terms. In such cases, a judge will decide.

Liquidation of Assets

If Chapter 7 is the best or only option in your circumstances, you will have to sell assets to pay creditors. Some property such as homes, primary vehicles, and items under a certain dollar amount are excluded from liquidation though you can choose to sell any item you want. Once you are fully liquidated, your remaining debt will be discharged.

Arrange a Case Evaluation with a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Missouri

If you are in financial trouble, you aren’t alone. Statistics from the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts shows that over one million Americans file for bankruptcy each year. Don’t be let your debts paralyze you and don’t be afraid to answer the phone. Call one of the bankruptcy lawyers at and set up a free initial consultation. Our team of debt relief experts will help you choose the right structure, negotiate favorable liquidation and debt repayment terms, and make sure you understand each stage of the process.