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From Beginning to End: The Filing Process

filing bankruptcy documents

A lot of clients wonder what steps it takes to file a bankruptcy case. Below is a basic outline of our appointment schedule. We don't charge you for wanting to see us, and you are always welcome to add a follow-up, document drop-off or payment appointment if you choose.

At Lincoln Law, we understand that you are going through tough times so we don't hassle you for payments or to schedule appointments. The appointments below are always required.

IC (Initial Consultation): This is the appointment where we will take some time to learn about you and your situation and answer any questions that you may have about us or the bankruptcy process. This appointment is at absolutely no charge to you whether you chose to file or not.

When you come in we will hand you a brief questionnaire for you to fill out, it only takes about ten minutes. This short questionnaire is just meant to give us a brief description of your situation.

RET (Retainer): If you decide that bankruptcy is the best option for you to pursue then we'll have you sign a retainer agreement which basically states that you agree for our office to represent you in your filing. The retainer can be done the same day as your IC appointment if you chose, or we can schedule it for another day.

After you sign the retainer we will give you a binder and checklist for you to complete. The binder generally takes an average of 1-3 weeks to complete and it will contain all your personal information about you and your debts. You will also have a checklist of pertinent tax documents, paystubs, lawsuits, retirement accounts, ID, and other miscellaneous documents that need to be brought with you to your next appointment

BBA (Bring Back Appointment): This is done after you have completed your binder and when you have gathered the bulk of your pertinent documents. We will go over the binder with you to answer any questions that you may have had and we'll also scan all your paystubs, tax information, ID's, etc. and return them to you. We are a "green" office and keep very little paper and everything is saved electronically.

SIGN (Signing Appointment): This is the last appointment in our office.  At this appointment you review your petition in the forms that we will submit to the court and officially sign on the dotted line. Unless you make other arrangements your petition is filed with the court at the end of the week in which you sign. When you arrive we will hand you a brief questionnaire that contains any special questions we had about your petition and to give us up to date information. After you've completed this brief questionnaire we will give you your official petition to review and check for misspellings or any missing information.

After you have approved your petition, you and the attorney will go over any last minute concerns or questions while you sign some key pages. After you have finished signing we will file your petition electronically.  When we do this you are officially protected under the automatic stay and any and all foreclosures/collections/repossessions against you must stop immediately.

341 Meeting (Court meeting): Typically 1-2 months after you sign/file your petition, you will have a court date at the Federal Bankruptcy Court. This is a meeting where your creditors (if they choose) and the trustee will ask you a few basic questions about your petition. Although this meeting sounds daunting it only lasts a 3-5 minutes, creditors rarely ever show up, and your attorney will be there by your side the entire time.

After your 341 meeting you are done!! The courts will process your petition and you should be officially discharged 3 months after your case was filed in a Chapter 7 case, or at the end of your payment plan in a Chapter 13 case.

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