I am Kendall David Coffman, a skilled San Mateo bankruptcy attorney who has helped many people throughout the Bay Area. In my experience helping people, I have found that knowledge of bankruptcy terms such as the following can be helpful:
- Automatic stay: This is an injunction issued by the Federal Bankruptcy Court that automatically stops all collection activity against the debtor. It goes into effect the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed on the debtor's behalf.
- Bankruptcy estate: When you file bankruptcy, everything you own becomes property of the bankruptcy estate. For instance, if you own a home, it becomes part of the bankruptcy estate. However, certain types of property are not part of the estate such as your IRA or 401(k).
- Bankruptcy means test: This is a test that compares your income to the median income for your household size in your state. Essentially, if you make "too much" money, you cannot qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Bankruptcy trustee: A bankruptcy trustee is a person who represents the interests of the bankruptcy estate as well as the creditors.
- Consumer credit counseling: This is an online class that you are required to participate in prior to going through a bankruptcy.
- Discharge: A discharge releases you from personal liability for your debts.
- Disposable income test: In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor undergoes a disposable monthly income (DMI) test to determine how much they can afford to pay each month to the payment plan.
- Financial management course: After the debtor files bankruptcy and obtains a case number, they will be required to participate in this course. If they fail to take the course, the discharge will not be ordered.
- Meeting of creditors: This is also called a 341 meeting where the debtor is questioned under oath by several parties — creditors, bankruptcy trustee and United States trustee. The questions involve the debtor's financial affairs.
- Priority debts: These types of debts are not dischargeable. Examples include government debt like taxes, child support and alimony.
Contact a San Mateo, California, Bankruptcy Lawyer
Filing for bankruptcy can be frightening if you feel as if there is no one standing by your side. For more than a decade, I have provided representation and guidance in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings. I offer a free 45-minute consultation. To schedule yours, call me locally at 650-295-0934 or toll free at 866-899-8561. You can also contact my California law firm online.