Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock, S.C. Attorneys at Law — Founded 1908


In Green Bay, Wisconsin and other states, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often referred to as “straight liquidation,” meaning that the debtor’s unsecured and nonexempt assets are sold, and the proceeds from the sale of those assets are used to pay the administrative expenses of the bankruptcy along with the claims of the unsecured creditors.  More often than not, however, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor does not have any nonexempt assets and therefore there are no proceeds to pay to the unsecured creditors.

When a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, a trustee is appointed whose main purpose is to discover if there are any unsecured nonexempt assets in order to pay the debtor’s unsecured creditors.  The trustee also investigates whether the debtor made any preferential transfers to any unsecured creditors or family members within 90 days of the bankruptcy filing or made any fraudulent conveyances within 2 years of the filing.

 In most Chapter 7 bankruptcies, the only major event that occurs is that the debtor receives a discharge of his or her liability on dischargeable debts.  In addition, the debtor is also able to retain assets subject to secured liens through reaffirmation agreements with the secured creditor, provided that all or the majority of the equity in the property is exempt and the debtor pays the secured debt.

There are several factors to consider to determine if a person is eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  This includes an evaluation of the debtor’s income (i.e. the mean’s test) and a review of the debtor’s prior bankruptcy filings.  In addition, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might not be the best scenario for a debtor who wants to keep certain property that is not exempt from creditors.  In such a situation, other options should be explored including a possible Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is commenced with the filing of a petition and numerous supporting schedules with the respective bankruptcy court which essentially discloses all the assets, liabilities, income and expenses of the debtor.  Once the case is filed, an automatic stay becomes effective immediately which prohibits creditors from bringing most actions against the debtor and against the debtor’s property.  In certain circumstances, creditors may obtain relief from the automatic stay so that they may continue the pursuit of their claims against the debtor while the bankruptcy case is pending.

A meeting of creditors is held between 20 and 60 days after the bankruptcy case is filed.  The trustee presides at the meeting and questions the debtor about the schedules and the debtor’s financial dealings.  Creditors are allowed to question the debtor at this meeting but often do not attend.  If it is found that the debtor is entitled to a discharge of his or her debts, the debtor will be granted a discharge about two months following the meeting of creditors and the case will be closed.

This is a basic overview of some of the key concepts of bankruptcy.  There are many other details involved and this article should not be construed to be an exhaustive list.  In the Green Bay, Wisconsin area, if you have any questions regarding bankruptcy, contact Attorney Greg Babcock at our law firm:Wanezek, Jaekels, Daul & Babcock. Our experienced attorneys are ready to help you learn your bankruptcy rights.

Tags: bankruptcy