Glossary

341 meeting, or meeting of creditors

The mandatory meeting that debtors must attend after filing a bankruptcy case.  A Trustee will ask you questions under oath to make sure that all of the information you provided with your bankruptcy case was correct and complete.  Creditors may (but are not required) to appear at the meeting to ask questions about the case. 

Adversary Proceeding

 

A separate lawsuit filed in a bankruptcy case.  An adversary proceeding can be about many different “standalone” issues in the case.  For example, a debtor can file an adversary proceeding if needed to stop creditor activity or recover property.  Creditors can file an adversary proceeding to determine if some or all debts should be discharged. 

Attorney fee

The fee charged by an attorney for representing you in a bankruptcy case.  This is different from the bankruptcy filing fee and handled separately.

Automatic stay

The provision in the Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code that requires creditors to stop collection efforts the moment you file the bankruptcy case.  The automatic stay stops harassing phone calls, repossessions and foreclosures, wage garnishments and most lawsuits.

 

Bankruptcy Code

 

The Federal statute (found in Title 11 of the United States Code) that is the source of the bankruptcy laws.  The U.S. Constitution gave Congress the power to establish bankruptcy laws. 

 

Bankruptcy Court

 

The Federal Courts established to administer bankruptcy cases.  Federal Bankruptcy Judges, appointed for a term of 14 years, preside over bankruptcy cases.  In the Southern District of Georgia there are three Bankruptcy Judges and six Bankruptcy Courts (located in Savannah, Augusta, Brunswick, Statesboro, Dublin and Waycross).  The Southern District of Georgia is part of the Federal Eleventh Circuit. 

 

Bankruptcy petition

 

The major document filed in order to commence a bankruptcy case.  The actual bankruptcy petition is only a few pages long and includes only the most basic information.  The phrase “petition” often means all of the documents required for the bankruptcy filing.  The full packet of documents includes a series of schedules, Statement of Financial Affairs, a “means test” form and other documents, and often exceeds 50 or 60 pages in total. 

 

Bankruptcy Rules

 

The Bankruptcy Rules supplement the laws passed by Congress in the Bankruptcy Code.  The “Rules” tend to be procedural and set many of the deadlines required for bankruptcy filings. 

 

Bankruptcy schedules

 

A set of lists required to be submitted with your bankruptcy filing.  They can tell the story of your financial picture, in alphabetical order: 

Schedule A/B lists all your real and personal property.

 

Schedule C lists the property that you claim exempt.

 

Schedule D lists “secured” creditors who have collateral ensuring repayment of their claims.

 

Schedule E/F lists two types of “unsecured” creditors, who do not have collateral for their claims.  Schedule E lists “priority” claims, such as tax or child support claims.  Schedule F lists “general unsecured” claims who often come last in line and are not given any special treatment in the bankruptcy case.

 

Schedule G lists any leases or ongoing contracts that you may have.

 

Schedule H lists cosigners who may be liable with you on debts.

 

Schedule I lists your household income.

 

Schedule J is a list of your household expenses.

 

Chapter 13

 

A reorganization chapter under the Bankruptcy Code for individuals. 

 

Chapter 13 plan

 

Filed in a bankruptcy reorganization, it proposes treatment of all creditors.  If the Bankruptcy Court approves the plan, all creditors will be bound by its terms.

 

Chapter 13 Trustee

 

A private individual who receives payments under a bankruptcy plan and uses the funds to pay creditors according to the plan. 

The Chapter 13 Trustee advises the Court whether the bankruptcy plan can be approved and makes sure that the Debtor makes the payments required under the plan.  Unlike a Chapter 7 Trustee, Chapter 13 Trustees cannot sell a debtor’s property to pay creditors.

A Chapter 13 Trustee is separate from the Bankruptcy Court and Bankruptcy Clerk. 

Chapter 7

A liquidation chapter under the Bankruptcy Code.

 

Chapter 7 Trustee

 

A private individual appointed to review Chapter 7 cases.  A Chapter 7 Trustee has the ability to sell a debtor’s property in order to pay creditors.

 

Claim 

A claim means a creditor has a right to payment.  The claim may be secured, priority, or general unsecured:

A “secured claim” means the creditor’s claim is backed by collateral which guarantees either full or partial payment.

Priority claims” do not attach to collateral, but as the name suggests, repayment of those claims from bankruptcy funds are given priority.  Examples include child support claims and most tax claims.  Most priority claims need to be paid in full in a Chapter 13 case.   These claims are often not discharged if they are not paid in a Chapter 7 case.

General unsecured claims” are not given any special repayment priority from bankruptcy funds.  In a “no asset” Chapter 7 case, in which a Chapter 7 Trustee does not sell property, general unsecured creditors will receive nothing.  In a Chapter 13 case, general unsecured creditors will receive at least partial payment if a debtor has “disposable income” to contribute, or if property could be sold (in a hypothetical Chapter 7 case) in order to pay those creditors. 

Claims bar date

 

The deadline set by the Bankruptcy Rules for creditors to file proofs of claim. 

 

Clerk of Court

 

The Clerk’s Office in the Bankruptcy Court, who receives the filing, collects the bankruptcy filing fee, and sets important deadlines in the bankruptcy case.

Important note: The Trustee is not affiliated with the Clerk of Court.  Be careful that you don’t get them confused when paying your filing fee! 

Conduit mortgage

A type of Chapter 13 plan where you make your mortgage payment to the Chapter 13 Trustee, instead of directly to the mortgage lender.  The Chapter 13 Trustee will handle the payments, make sure the mortgage claim is correct and is not overstated, and will assist in providing an accounting of all payments made during your Chapter 13 case.  Conduit mortgage plans come with a higher payment, but it may sometimes be a useful solution in helping you resolve long-standing issues with your mortgage lender.

Credit counseling

 

A mandatory requirement before filing a petition for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.  You must file a certification with the Bankruptcy Court that you have completed the course.