Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline

6 or 8 Years Before Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
You are eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge after 8 years have passed from the date you filed a prior Chapter 7 case and received a discharge; or after 6 years have passed if you filed a Chapter 13 case and received a discharge.
2 or 4 Years Before Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
You are eligible for a Chapter 13 discharge after 4 years have passed from the date you filed a prior Chapter 7 case and received a discharge or after 2 years have passed from the date you filed a Chapter 13 case and received a discharge.
If you have tried to delay or defraud your creditors by transferring, hiding, or destroying your property within a five-year period prior to your bankruptcy, the court may deny you a Chapter 7 discharge and even allow your creditors to recover the property that you transferred.
1 Year Before Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you pay back one of your creditors who is also a relative or close business associate (“insider”) at any time within the 1-year period prior to the filing of your bankruptcy case, any amount over $600 may be recovered by the Chapter 7 trustee and the amount may then be distributed to your other creditors.
If you had a prior bankruptcy case dismissed within one year of the time you file a Chapter 7 case, the Automatic Stay entered in the Chapter 7 case will be terminated within 30 days unless you can demonstrate that the Chapter 7 case was filed in good faith.
180 Days Before Your Bankruptcy
If within 180 days before your bankruptcy you had a prior bankruptcy case that was dismissed because you failed to obey court orders or you voluntarily requested a dismissal, then you may not file your bankruptcy case until this 180 day period expires.
Also, within 180 days of your bankruptcy filing, you must receive an individual or group briefing from an approved non-profit budget and credit-counseling agency.
90 Days Before Your Bankruptcy
You must be a resident of the state in which you intend to file your bankruptcy case for at least 90 days before the filing. If you have not lived in the state in which you intend to file your case for at least 90 days, you may only file your case in the state where you have resided, or which has been the location of your principal assets, for a majority of the prior 180 days.
Also, if you pay back any of your creditors over $600, even one who is not a relative or close business associate (“insider”), at any time within the 90-day period prior to the filing of your bankruptcy case, the payment may be considered a “preference” payment and the court may recover the amount over $600 and distribute it to your other creditors. This usually does not apply to payments on secured loans like mortgages and car notes.
If you incurred new debt of $500 or more for “luxury goods or services” within the 90-day period before your bankruptcy, or if you obtain a cash advance in the amount of $750 or more within a 70-day period before your bankruptcy, the debt is presumed to be non-dischargeable.
You meet with our law firm for the initial consultation, retain our office and receive the bankruptcy packet of information for your completion. You complete your first step of credit counseling.
You return to our office for your Be-Back appointment where you meet with your paralegal to drop off your completed questionnaire, documents and attorney fee balance.
You return a third time to our office to meet with your attorney and paralegal to review and sign your petition and ask any follow up questions.
Your Case is Filed!
Your case is formally commenced when we file your bankruptcy petition with the appropriate bankruptcy court. As soon as we file your petition, the court will enter an Automatic Stay order prohibiting your creditors from taking or continuing any collection or legal action against you. This means no more harassing letters or phone calls while your case is in progress.
Next, the court will send a notice of your case to all of the creditors listed in your petition.
Additionally, the bankruptcy court will assign a bankruptcy trustee to oversee your case. The trustee is a federal employee appointed by the court to monitor your case and make sure you are eligible for bankruptcy. The trustee will review your petition, make sure that it is complete, and then schedule a meeting of your creditors.
15 Days After Your Case is Filed
You have a deadline of 15 days after you file your petition to file certain financial “schedules” with the court. These are documents declaring your assets, liabilities, expenses, income and a statement of your affairs. In most cases, however, we will file these forms for you with your petition.
Approximately 15 Days After Your Case is Filed
Within approximately 15 days after you file your case, the court will mail the Notice of Commencement of Case to you and to all of the creditors listed in your petition. This notice will inform you of the date set by the court for the meeting of your creditors, and the deadlines for your creditors to object to your case and file their claims against you.
Approximately 30 Days After Your Case is Filed
Within 30 days after you file your case, or before the meeting of your creditors if that occurs first, you are required to file a Statement of Intention. In this document, you advise the court whether you intend to keep your property that serves as collateral for your debts, or whether you intend to surrender it to your creditors. Again, our firm will file this form for you.
If you intend to keep the property, you must indicate your intention to: (1) reaffirm your debts and continue making all of your payments on those debts; or (2) redeem the property by paying the fair market value for it, in which case you will receive a discharge of debt owed over the fair market value of the item.
45 Days After Your Statement of Intention is Filed
You have 45 days after your Statement of Intention is filed to surrender or keep your property as you indicated in your Statement and make all necessary payments.
Approximately 6 Weeks After Your Case is Filed
The court will hold the Meeting of Your Creditors about six weeks after your bankruptcy case is filed. At least seven days before this meeting, you are required to provide to the trustee and any creditor requesting it, a copy of your most recently filed tax return. We will do this for you!
The court-appointed trustee will preside over this meeting. At the meeting, which you are required to attend, you will be asked to testify under oath as to the accuracy of the statements in your petition. However, most of your creditors will not appear at the meeting, and you will not be before a judge. The meeting is very informal, and in most cases will last no more than 10 minutes. If you do not attend the meeting, your case will be dismissed.
Within 45 days after you file your petition, you must file a statement containing a certificate from your attorney that you received an explanation of the various chapters available to you under the bankruptcy code, evidence of any payments you’ve received from any employer within 60 days of your filing, an itemized statement of your monthly income, and an estimate of any increase in income or expenditures you expect over the next 12 months.
30 Days After the Meeting of Your Creditors
The bankruptcy trustee and your creditors have to object to all of your exemption claims within 30 days after the conclusion of the meeting of your creditors.
60 Days After the Meeting of Your Creditors
Your creditors have 60 days after the date first set for the Meeting of Your Creditors to object to the discharge of any of the debts listed in your petition and schedules.
Your creditors can object to your request to discharge a debt if the debt was obtained or incurred as a result of any of the following types of misconduct: fraud; embezzlement or larceny; and any willful or malicious injuries you have caused others; or a divorce or separation. This does not include debts for child support and spousal maintenance, which are non-dischargeable by law.
Additionally, your creditors can object to the discharge of all your debts if you have engaged in any of the following conduct: concealment or destruction of property or financial records; false statements; withholding information; failing to explain losses; failure to respond to material questions; or a discharge in a prior case.
The trustee must move to dismiss your case within this time period if he finds that the granting of relief would be an abuse of the provisions of Chapter 7. You will receive your Chapter 7 discharge 60 days after the meeting of your creditors You will receive your discharge as soon as the 60-day time period for objecting to discharge or moving to dismiss your case expires. Even if you receive your discharge, the trustee may, however, move to set it aside if you do not turn over nonexempt property or if you commit other bankruptcy violations.
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 imposes one last hurdle before you’re eligible for your discharge–the financial education requirement. This requires you to complete an instructional course concerning personal financial management. Your attorney can refer you to an approved financial management class.
90 Days After the Meeting of Your Creditors
If you have an asset case which you most likely will not have, all of your creditors (except for government entities) must file their proofs of claim (these are documents your creditors submit to the court specifying how much you owe them) within 90 days after the first date set for your creditor meeting if they wish to share in the payments from your case if any assets are available for liquidation.
If your case was a no asset case and there were no objections filed by the trustee and/or your creditors, your case will be discharged and closed out.
Finally, you should order copies of your credit reports from all three credit-reporting agencies to make sure that all of the debts you intended to discharge are zeroed out on your credit report with a notation that the debt was included in your bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Denied?

The ability to file for bankruptcy is dependent on the chosen type of bankruptcy. You can file a Chapter 7 once every eight years, starting from the filing date, not discharge. You can file for Chapter 13 after successfully completing a Chapter 7 case. However, if you file within four years of the Chapter 7 filing, you will not receive a discharge at the end of the case. If the previous Chapter 13 case resulted in creditors receiving less than 70 percent of their claims, you have to wait six years before filing for Chapter 7.  Upon completion of a Chapter 13 case, you can file for another Chapter 13 bankruptcy at any time, except if the previous case lasted less than two years. In that situation, you must wait until the two-year mark is reached before filing again.

If your bankruptcy was denied:

Carefully read through the denial notice to understand the specific reasons for the denial. This information will help you determine your next course of action.

Consult with an attorney who can review your case and provide guidance on the best way forward. They may be able to identify any errors or issues that can be addressed to increase your chances of a successful bankruptcy filing.

If you believe there were errors or misunderstandings leading to the denial, you can dispute it. This usually involves filing an appeal with the bankruptcy court within a specific time frame. An attorney can assist you with this process.

You can also explore alternative debt relief options such as debt consolidation, settlement negotiations with creditors, or working out a repayment plan. An attorney or a reputable credit counseling agency can help you understand and evaluate these alternatives.

Take steps to improve your financial situation by managing your debts, cutting unnecessary expenses, and increasing your income. This will help you regain control of your finances and potentially put you in a better position for future bankruptcy filings, if necessary.

Remember, bankruptcy denial is not the end of the road, and there are often alternative paths to finding relief from overwhelming debt. Engaging with a qualified attorney or debt counselor can help you navigate through the process and find the best solution for your situation.

Read more @ Heuser Law Office

Contact Louisville Bankruptcy Clinic: Contact Us

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879



Important Precautions to Take Prior to Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult and overwhelming process. With proper planning and precautionary measures, individuals can navigate it smoothly. Consulting with an attorney can ease your mind and ensure you do things the right way. This article highlights the crucial steps one should avoid before filing for bankruptcy to ensure a more favorable outcome.

Do Not Accumulate Additional Debt:
In the time leading up to bankruptcy, it is crucial to refrain from incurring new debts. This includes credit card purchases, loans, and other forms of borrowing. Such actions may raise concerns about fraudulent behavior, potentially hindering the bankruptcy process.

Avoid Draining Retirement Accounts:
It is essential to refrain from using or emptying retirement accounts, if possible. These savings are usually protected during bankruptcy proceedings as they are intended for future living expenses. Prematurely withdrawing or depleting these funds not only jeopardizes financial security but may create unnecessary limitations during the bankruptcy process.

Steer Clear of Repayment Preferences:
Before filing for bankruptcy, it is important to avoid benefiting specific creditors over others. Giving preferential treatment to certain creditors by repaying them ahead of others within a year before filing can lead to legal complications. Bankruptcy courts aim to enact equal distribution of assets among creditors, thus avoiding any biased actions is crucial. Contact a lawyer to avoid unnecessary complications.

Cease Transferring Assets:
Transferring ownership or assets to others with the intention of protecting them from the reach of creditors is strongly discouraged before filing for bankruptcy. These actions are often viewed as fraudulent and can result in legal consequences. It is important to maintain transparency regarding your assets throughout the bankruptcy process.

Hold Off on Closing Bank Accounts:
Closing bank accounts prior to filing for bankruptcy can raise concerns about potential attempts to hide assets. It is advisable to maintain existing accounts and facilitate clear financial records that detail transactions leading up to the bankruptcy filing. Transparent financial practices ensure a more efficient and streamlined bankruptcy procedure.

Do Not Misrepresent Information:
Honesty and accuracy are paramount when it comes to providing financial information during bankruptcy proceedings. Misrepresenting, lying or concealing financial details not only undermines the legitimacy of the process, but may also result in severe legal penalties. It is crucial to disclose all relevant financial information truthfully to ensure a fair and just resolution for all parties involved. An attorney can help ensure this is done the right way.

Before initiating bankruptcy proceedings, it is crucial to be proactive and informed about the necessary precautions. By avoiding additional debt, refraining from draining retirement accounts, exercising fairness in repayments, abstaining from asset transfers, keeping bank accounts open, and maintaining accurate financial reporting, individuals can navigate the bankruptcy process more smoothly, ensuring a better outcome for all parties involved.

Contact an attorney today to make sure the bankruptcy process is done correctly in order to avoid more problems.

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

Do I Need A Bankruptcy Lawyer?

While it is not legally required to have a lawyer before filing bankruptcy, it is highly recommended to consult with one. Bankruptcy law can be complex and navigating the process without proper legal knowledge and representation can be challenging. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you avoid mistakes, ensure that your rights and interests are protected, maximize the benefits of bankruptcy, guide you through the necessary paperwork, and provide proper representation in court if needed.

There are several reasons why you might need a bankruptcy attorney:
1. Expertise: Bankruptcy law can be complex and varies from one jurisdiction to another. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can navigate through the legal process and provide expert guidance based on your specific situation.

2. Evaluation of options: A bankruptcy attorney can help evaluate your financial situation and determine if filing for bankruptcy is the most suitable option for you. They can also explore alternative solutions that may be available.

3. Documentation and paperwork: Filing for bankruptcy involves a significant amount of paperwork. Filling out paperwork correctly is vital to avoid further issues. A bankruptcy attorney can assist in gathering and organizing the necessary documents and preparing the required forms, ensuring that everything is completed accurately and on time.

4. Protection from creditors: Once you file for bankruptcy, creditors are required to cease most collection actions against you. A bankruptcy attorney can handle communication with creditors, putting an end to collection calls and lawsuits.

5. Representation in court: If your bankruptcy case goes to court, a bankruptcy attorney can represent you and ensure that your rights are protected. They can argue your case before the judge and handle any potential disputes that may arise.

6. Maximizing benefits and exemptions: Bankruptcy laws provide for various exemptions and benefits that can help protect certain assets and provide a fresh financial start. A bankruptcy attorney can help you understand and take advantage of these exemptions, maximizing the benefits you receive.

7. Avoiding mistakes and pitfalls: Filing for bankruptcy without proper legal guidance can be risky. Mistakes made during the process can result in delays, dismissal of the case, or loss of assets. A bankruptcy attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls and ensure a smooth and successful bankruptcy process.

It is important to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to assess your specific situation and determine how they can assist you in navigating through the bankruptcy process effectively.

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

Economic Time Bomb

As you may know, the Federal Reserve has made more than $11 trillion in repo loans for the bigger banks to gamble in the stock market and bundle and trade derivatives. With the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the banks are allowed to use customer deposits to fund their market trading if in reading this you think you’re smelling smoke, its probably the fuse of the largest economic time bomb in history. If you’re in significant debt now is a good time to make your preparations for bankruptcy and if you’re a creditor with significant loans outstanding you may want to review your loan security requirements and your insurance coverage. If you need help with a claim in bankruptcy, the Heuser Law Office recommends that you reach out as soon as you get notice that a bankruptcy was filed. You can contact them here:

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
Attorney at Law
Heuser Law Office
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

Personal Injury Claim

The debtor listed a personal injury claim against his former employer, James Simms (“Simms”), on his schedule of assets. Subsequently, a personal injury lawsuit was filed against the former employer, as well as another party, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (“BWC”). The claim against BWC was not included in the debtor’s schedules. The debtor claimed no exemption related to the value of the personal injury claim.

The trustee filed a Report of No Distribution (“NDR”), certifying that the estate had been fully administered “with the exception of a possible settlement in connection with a personal injury claim against Simms.” The bankruptcy court order closing the case contained no reservation of rights related to the personal injury claim.

Two years later the trustee filed a motion requesting the bankruptcy court to reopen the case in order to present a settlement resolving the personal injury claim for the court’s approval. The debtor objected on the basis that the trustee had abandoned any interest in the personal injury litigation.

The bankruptcy court ruled against the debtor, finding that the personal injury claim was not abandoned and granted the trustee’s motion to reopen and motion for authority to compromise. The debtor appealed the decision.
The Appeal

The Court first considered whether the trustee did, in fact, abandon the personal injury claim pursuant to Section 554(c). Ruling in favor of the debtor on this issue, the Court explained that “[t]he plain language of the statute unambiguously states that if an asset was properly scheduled and not administered by the trustee, upon closing the case, the asset is abandoned as a matter of law.”

The Court next turned to whether the personal injury claim against BWC – which was not listed on the debtor’s schedules – was also abandoned by the trustee. According to Section 554(d), if a debtor fails to schedule property, it is not abandoned upon closure of the case. The Court ruled that such circumstances did not exist in this case.

Finally, the Court considered whether the bankruptcy court erred in approving the trustee’s request to settle or compromise the personal injury claim. The Court ruled that the bankruptcy court erred in approving the compromise because the trustee had no right to settle the abandoned personal injury claim.

If you have any questions about this case, or bankruptcy in general, please visit the Contact page.

Hotel Group Loan

Janee Hotel Group formed Lexington Hospitality Group (LHG) and acted as its manager. Janee acquired a hotel with acquisition financing provided by PCG Credit Partners (PCG).

PCG required LHG to include certain “Bankruptcy Restrictions” in its operating agreement. As a condition to the loan, the lender required the affirmative vote of an “Independent Manager” and 75% of the members to authorize a bankruptcy. As well as the advance, written affirmative vote of the lender.

Eventually, LHG filed for bankruptcy without satisfying the above requirements. PCG moved to dismiss the bankruptcy as unauthorized.

The court found that Kentucky law authorized LHG to file bankruptcy, since filing bankruptcy is within the expansive decisional authority reserved to managers under the Kentucky limited liability company act. The court concluded that the Independent Manger provisions were not adequately drafted to preserve the Bankruptcy Restrictions.

The court also took issue with the requirement that PCG consent to any LHG bankruptcy. Most troubling was that “PCG [had] no restrictions and no fiduciary duties to LHG that might limit self-interested decisions that ignore the best interest of [LHG].” The court, therefore, held that the Bankruptcy Restrictions as a whole “serve[d] only one purpose: to frustrate LHG’s ability to file bankruptcy;” and accordingly, were unenforceable.

If you have any questions about this case, or bankruptcy in general, please visit the Contact page.

Can You Convert Your Existing Chapter 11 to a Subchapter 5?

in March (2020), a Bankruptcy Court in Michigan allowed a debtor who had filed for bankruptcy before the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA) amendments, to proceed under Subchapter V of chapter 11. The judge’s opinion joins a growing set of decisions that hold that cases that are already proceeding in a “traditional” chapter 11 may elect to switch and proceed under the SBRA instead.

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
Hirsh and Heuser Attorneys
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville, KY 40220
(502) 458-5879


Small Business Reorganization Act
Subchapter V of Chapter 11 Amendments
For a period of one year from February, 2020, the CARES Act allows more small businesses to qualify as a debtor under the small business reorganization provisions of chapter 11 recently added by the SBRA.
The Bankruptcy Code provides special rules and procedures for “small business debtors.” See 11 U.S.C. §101(51D). Congress recently found that “small business chapter 11 cases continue to encounter difficulty in successfully reorganizing.” H.R. Rep. No. 116-171, at 4 (2019). Because of this, Congress enacted the SBRA (11 U.S.C. §1181 et seq.), which was signed by President Trump in August 2019 and became effective on February 19, 2020. The goal is to streamline small business bankruptcies, establish an expedited schedule for reorganization, reduce legal expenses, and provide more debtor friendly plan requirements and confirmation standards.
Previously, to qualify as a “small business debtor,” a business must have had non-contingent, liquidated debts (secured and unsecured) totaling not more than $2,725,625. (11 U.S.C. § 1182(1) and 11 U.S.C. §101(51D). The CARES Act modifies the SBRA by raising the threshold to $7.5 million in debts, excluding insider and affiliate debt, but this section has a sunset provision such that one year from enactment, the amendment expires and the $2,725,625 threshold is reinstated. No affiliate of a public company is eligible pursuant to amended SBRA.
Struggling businesses may want to file for Chapter 11 now to take advantage of the SBRA’s more friendly procedures. Some of the key provisions include:
• The United States Trustee will be required to appoint a trustee in every small business chapter 11 case. The trustee will have a role in assisting the debtor in developing a plan of reorganization, and will be responsible for disbursing payments under a plan. However, the trustee will serve in a mostly supervisory role and will not generally be involved in any operational aspects of the business. See 11 U.S.C. §§ 1183-1184. In this sense, the SBRA preserves the notion of a “debtor in possession” in small business cases.
• An unsecured creditors’ committee will not be appointed unless ordered by the court for cause. See 11 U.S.C. § 1102(a)(3).
• A status conference must be held within 60 days of the date of the petition to determine how best to proceed with the case. The date of the status conference may be extended if cause is demonstrated. See 11 U.S.C. § 1188(a).
• A plan of reorganization must be filed within 90 days of the petition date, although the court can extend the deadline if circumstances outside the control of the debtor merit an extension. Only a debtor may file a plan, and no disclosure statement is required. However, a plan must contain some information, such as a liquidation analysis and a projection of a debtor’s ability to make payments under the plan, traditionally associated with a disclosure statement. See 11 U.S.C. § 1189.
• A plan may modify the rights of a secured lender with a lien on the principal residence of the debtor if the “new value” received from the loan was not used primarily to acquire the residence and was used primarily in connection with the small business. See 11 U.S.C. § 1190. Modification of such a loan is otherwise prohibited in chapter 11 cases. See 11 U.S.C. § 1123(b)(5).
• The SBRA makes it easier for a debtor to confirm a plan and maintain ownership of its business. In a typical chapter 11 case, the “absolute priority rule” ensures that owners cannot retain equity in a business unless creditors are paid in full by the chapter 11 plan. The SBRA abrogates this rule and provides that existing owners of a business may retain their full ownership without providing any “new value,” but only if the plan provides for the debtor to distribute all of its projected disposable income over at least three years and no more than five from the date the first payment is due under the plan. See 11 U.S.C. § 1191.
• In a regular Chapter 11, the debtor must pay admin expense claims on the effective date of the plan. Under the SBRA, a small business debtor may stretch payment of administrative expense claims out over the term of the plan. See 11 U.S.C. § 1191(e).
• Under the SBRA, a discharge is not granted until the debtor completes all payments due within the first three years of the plan or a longer period not to exceed five years as the court determines. The discharge applies to all debts addressed by the plan except for debts on which the last payment is due after the term of the plan or which are non-dischargeable. See 11 U.S.C. § 1192.

That’s Entertainment…

In February, Access Entertainment Group LLC, Louisville, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 allows a company to reorganize while continuing to operate. The company listed debts of almost $1 million and assets around $75,000 in the filing. It listed fewer than 50 creditors, the largest of whom is Dennis Jourdan of Indianapolis for more than $236,000. Other creditors include the disputed claim of Duane Durkos for $158,000 and Fifth Third Bank N.A. $100,000, Stub Hub $76,000 and Paypal for over $75,000.

We recommend you use an attorney for business bankruptcy!

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
Hirsh and Heuser Attorneys
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville, KY 40220
(502) 458-5879