There are several important terms that a client will hear when filing for bankruptcy that may be confusing. Below are definitions of common bankruptcy terminology:
This is the term used to refer to you! The person filing for bankruptcy protection is called the Debtor. The Debtor can be a single individual or a married couple referred to as Debtors. A bankruptcy is a voluntary action, so even if the couple is married, one person can file individually: both parties are not required to file.
In each bankruptcy filing, the case is assigned to a person called a trustee. The trustee is appointed by the court to oversee the bankruptcy filing. He or she will be the person that the Debtor meets with shortly after filing for bankruptcy to go through the bankruptcy petition and ask questions regarding the content of the petition.
This is the document that your bankruptcy attorney prepares and reviews with you prior to you signing to file for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy petition includes all your assets, all your debts, income information, monthly expenses and other pertinent information that is required to be disclosed to the court. After reviewing the bankruptcy petition with your attorney, the documents will be signed and filed with the court.
These are all of the companies/people that you owe money to that will be included in the bankruptcy. This can include mortgage companies, credit cards, medical facilities, automobile companies and banks.
This is the hearing that the Debtor attends to meet with the trustee after filing the bankruptcy petition. Your bankruptcy attorney will be with you at this hearing. You will be placed under oath and will be asked a series of questions by the trustee based on the information in the bankruptcy petition. On most occasions, this will be the one and only hearing the Debtor has to attend.