Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most effective forms of relief from debt. The process generally takes about four months to complete and will discharge most debt while allowing the individual who filed to keep most of his or her property.
Debt can be a problem even for those with a higher income. A former sheriff for Knox County, in spite of having a $93,000 yearly pension, recently filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. His assets were listed at over $300,000. However, his liabilities -- many resulting from a lawsuit -- were even higher.
A list of assets and liabilities is part of the filing that one must make when the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process begins. Other information that must be provided includes a list of all creditors, a statement of income, a list of living expenses and of property owned, copies of tax returns and a certificate that the individual has sought credit counseling.
Filing a petition for Chapter 7 relief automatically stops most collection actions against the debtor while the case proceeds. A case trustee or bankruptcy administrator is assigned and a meeting with the creditors is held within 21 to 40 days after the petition is filed. The debtor is placed under oath and creditors may ask questions of the debtor. The trustee also asks questions to ensure that the debtor understands the consequences of bankruptcy and is aware of the other forms of bankruptcy that may be available in lieu of Chapter 7.
Debtors almost always receive a discharge of debt after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, meaning that a creditor may no longer pursue legal actions to collect on the debt. Debts that will not be discharged include alimony and child support, some taxes and government student loans, debts for willful or malicious injury, death or personal injury to another person or entity and some criminal restitution orders.
Source: WATE.com, "Former Knox County sheriff files for bankruptcy," July 10, 2013