The duties and responsibilities of a debtor under chapter 7 in Houston
In Houston, Texas, in either a personal or corporate bankruptcy, the Debtor (or its representative(s)) has on going legal obligations to the Trustee, the creditors and to the Bankruptcy Court. Failure to fulfill the obligations can result in a denial of discharge, revocation of discharge or criminal prosecution. It is a Debtor’s legal obligation to fully comply with all statutory requirements of Title 11. A Debtor must advise the Trustee if any of the conditions and circumstances stated herein apply to you.
1. You must provide written notice to the Trustee if you remember or become aware of any property (of any kind or value) that you owned or were entitled to at the date you filed your bankruptcy, that you forgot to list or that you did not become aware of until after you filed bankruptcy.
2. You must provide written notice to the Trustee of any inheritance or monies that you receive or become entitled to as a result of a death that occurred either before you filed bankruptcy or within six (6) months after your bankruptcy filing.
3. You must provide written notice to the Trustee of any money or property you may receive as a result of a final divorce decree (excluding child support) that occurred either before you filed bankruptcy or within six (6) months after the date you filed your bankruptcy petition. (A copy of the Divorce Decree and the Property Settlement Agreement or Agreement Incident to Divorce should be sent with the notice.)
4. You must provide a written statement to the Trustee regarding the status of any domestic support obligations you owe, i.e. the amount you owe; when it is owed; are you current or delinquent; if delinquent for how long and how much is owed; and the name and address to whom you pay a domestic support obligations.
5. You must provide written notice to the Trustee of any monies you may receive as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or as a result of a death benefit plan that you acquire or become entitled to prior to the filing of bankruptcy or within six (6) months after the date you filed your bankruptcy petition.
6. You must turn over to the Trustee any money that you receive as a result of rental properties that are not claimed as exempt.
7. You must provide written notice to the Trustee of any leases, contracts or agreements that require you to provide services or property in the future that entitle you to compensation, services or property in the future.
8. You must turnover to the Trustee the names and addresses of each and every party to whom any transfers, conveyances of gifts or your property that you made and that were not scheduled and that were made within one (1) year prior to the date you filed bankruptcy.
9. You must provide written notice to the Trustee of all debts repaid within the year prior to filing bankruptcy. You need not advise the Trustee of debts repayments that are properly scheduled or if the total amount of the debt was less than $1,000.00.
10. You must provide written notice to the Trustee of any tax refund in excess of $2,500.00 you anticipate receiving or actually receive.
11. Please be aware that you are still responsible for filing your own personal income tax return. You should inform your tax advisor of the filing of your bankruptcy petition, as it affects your own personal tax return. If necessary for the administration of the bankruptcy estate, I will request copies of pre petition tax returns. If you believe that you need to amend a pre-petition tax return you must notify the Trustee in writing.
12. CORPORATE OR PARTNERSHIP DEBTORS – ONLY. In order to comply with the Federal Income Tax Laws applicable to this type of bankruptcy estate, you must give the Trustee copies of your last two (2) income tax returns. If you are not current in your tax filings, please advise me of this and provide copies of the two (2) most recent returns, regardless of year. You are responsible for filing all required unfiled tax returns.
13. CORPORATE DEBTORS – ONLY. Debtor’s Representatives must advise me in writing of all bank accounts owned by the Corporation, both open and closed, on the day of filing, including the name and address of the bank, account numbers, and who is authorized to withdraw on the account. This is property of the estate from the date of the filing and no withdrawals should be made by anyone after that date. You must promptly advise the Trustee of any post petition withdrawals and provide the Trustee with a complete accounting of those transactions.
14. You are required to file and complete your statement as to your intention concerning secured consumer debt. I will assume that you have done so within the time provided unless you advise me in writing to the contrary, and state your plans to remedy any default.
15. Pursuant to the rules regarding electronic filing, you are required to provide the Trustee at least ten (10) days prior to your scheduled creditors meeting, with a copy of your schedules, statement of financial affairs, means test form, certificate of credit counseling, two years of tax returns, the bank statements for the two months prior to filing including the month of filing and proof of income for the 60 days prior to filing. Failure to provide this information within ten (10) days in advance of the First Meeting of Creditors will cause your meeting to be reset. Additionally, if you fail to provide these documents it could result in dismissal of your case.
16. You are required to appear and attend a Meeting of Creditors. The clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court provides notice of this meeting. If you have not received notice of your meeting within 20 days after your case is filed, contact your attorney or the Clerk. The meeting can only be rescheduled as a result of an emergency or an unavoidable or unforeseen conflict. Work related conflicts must be resolved by the Debtor. Travel and/or vacations plans are not grounds for rescheduling. If you are not represented by counsel, requests for a new date and time must be in writing and received more than 15 fifteen days prior to your scheduled meeting and you must provide a statement as to the nature of the emergency or conflict. It is the Trustee’s discretion as to whether a reset date and time will be given. You or your attorney will be responsible for renoticing all creditors of the date and time of the reset. Do not call our office and ask for a reset.
17. You must bring picture identification issued by a governmental authority, such as a driver’s license, and your social security card. If you do not have a social security card, you must bring a pay stub, W-2, 1099 or other documents not created by you with the complete number. Your tax return is not sufficient. Failure to bring proper identification or proof of social security will cause your meeting to be reset.
18. If your meeting is reset, you and your attorney must sign and file with the Court a written statement that the reset date is the new date for the First Meeting of Creditors, and that you agree and acknowledge that all deadlines associated with the date set for the First Meeting of Creditors run from the new date.
19. Do not contact the Trustee or the Trustee’s Office if you are represented by counsel. The Trustee and the Trustee’s Office cannot provide you with legal advice. If you need to request information, you or your attorney must do so in writing. You must provide your name, case number and current address when making such request. If you do not receive a copy of your discharge contact your attorney or the Clerk, the Trustee does not issue the discharge.
20. You must swear under oath that you have read the foregoing and have complied with all of its provisions. If you have any questions regarding any of the duties or statements made herein, you or your counsel should address those to me at the §341 Meeting or in a written request. You have a legal obligation to promptly provide the Trustee with the information requested herein as soon as you learn of it. You must advise the Trustee in writing of all facts that are necessary to fully determine whether the circumstances of your case require action by me as your Trustee. If you receive money or property under any of the categories listed above, you must keep all such monies or property in your possession until the Trustee directs you to take a specific course of action. Along with this notice, you will be receiving a Bankruptcy Information Sheet attached hereto as Exhibit A required under 11 U.S.C. §341. You must review and be familiar with this information prior to the Meeting of Creditors. I will assume that you have done so. If you have any questions regarding the Statement, please ask at the Creditors’ meeting or contact your attorney.
These are only some of the duties of all debtors in Houston, Texas. Our bankruptcy blog will later provide additional duties and responsibilities that take into account some new laws, specifically regarding the selling of a homestead and reinvesting of the proceeds.
For more information, please feel free to contact us and schedule a free consultation with an attorney at the Rashid Law Firm.