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What is bankruptcy? Section 101 of the Bankruptcy Code

Section 101 – Definitions


This is the first section of the bankruptcy code. It is entitled "Definitions". It is important to be familiar with the terms that are defined in the bankruptcy code. The terms will not be defined here, but they will be presented for possible reference to the bankruptcy code if need be. To read the definitions, refer to 11 USC Section 101.


Many of the terms relate to bankruptcy other than consumer bankruptcy law. To ensure the focus of this book is not lost, I removed the terms that do not pertain to consumer bankruptcy law. Despite this, some of the terms other than consumer bankruptcy terms are included due to overlap, and to maintain uniformity.


The purpose of listing the terms here is to recognize them and recognize that each of these words have their own unique meaning under bankruptcy law. The bankruptcy code starts out immediately by providing definitions of words under bankruptcy law. The words have their own meaning in bankruptcy law. It is important to read what they mean instead of assuming they mean the same thing in any other area of the law or in a general dictionary. The following are the terms defined in the bankruptcy code, along with a general definition. These definitions are only general definitions, they may be incomplete and they may each have exceptions. This should not be used as a substitute to reading the bankruptcy code:


1. Assisted Person: A person with primary consumer debt with less than $186,825 of unexempt assts.

2. Attorney: An attorney licensed to practice law.

3. Bankruptcy Assistance: Any good or services provided for counseling, preparing, filing or attending hearings for bankruptcy.

4. Claim: Right to payment.

5. Creditor: An entity that has a claim against a debtor that arose pre petition; or an entity with a claim against the estate post petition but pre conversion; or an entity with a claim arising from the rejection of, or from an unassumed executory contract or lease; or an entity with a claim arising from unexempt property unless disallowed by the court; or an entity that has a post petition claim for certain priority tax. Please refer to the bankruptcy code for more requirements.

6. Current Monthly Income: The average monthly income the debtor receives during the six month calendar period ending immediately proceeding the date of the commencement of the case. This includes any amount paid by any entity other than the debtor on a regular basis for the household expenses of the debtor, but excludes payments received under the Social Security Act.

7. Debt: Liability on a Claim:

8. Debt Relief Agency: A person who provides any bankruptcy assistance to an assisted person, or is a bankruptcy petition preparer, with some exceptions.

9. Debtor: A person or municipality concerning which a case under Title 11 has been commenced.

10. Debtor's Principal Residence: A residential structure used as the principal residence of the debtor.

11. Domestic Support Obligation: A debt owed for child support, family support, or alimony.

12. Entity: Includes person, estate, trust, governmental unit, and United States trustee.

13. Federal Depository Institutions Regulatory Agency: the appropriate Federal banking agency; the National Credit Union Administration; the Resolution Trust Corporation; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

14. Financial Institution: a Federal reserve bank, or an entity (domestic or foreign) that is a commercial or savings bank, industrial savings bank, savings and loan association, trust company, federally-insured credit union, or receiver, liquidating agent, or conservator for such entity.

15. Governmental Unit: United States; State; Commonwealth; District; Territory; municipality; foreign state; department, agency, or instrumentality of the foregoing, other than the United States Trustee while working in a case filed under this title.

16. Individual with Regular Income: An individual whose income is sufficiently stable to make payments under a chapter 13 payment plan .

17. Insider: A relative or partner of the debtor, or a corporation in which the debtor is an officer, director, or in control.

18. Insolvent: An entities financial condition where the sum of the debts exceed the fair market value of the assets, with some exceptions.

19. Judicial Lien: Lien obtained by judgment, or other legal or equitable proceeding.

20. Lien: Interest in property to secure performance or payment.

21. Median Family Income: The median family income reported by the Bureau of the Census, and if not reported in a current year, then calculated by the Bureau of Census to reflect the change in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

22. Patient Records: Any record relating to a patient.

23. Person: An individual, corporation, or partnership, but not a government unit, with exceptions.

24. Personally Identifiable Information: Regarding the debtor, the first and last name of an individual; the address; email; telephone number; social security number; or account number; and if 1 of the previous are connected to a birth date or any means of contacting the debtor.

25. Petition: A petition filed under title 11 of the US Code.

26. Relative: An individual related by consanguinity or affinity or step or adoptive within the third degree.

27. Security Agreement: An agreement that provides for a security agreement.

28. Security Interest: A lien created by an agreement.

29. State: Includes the District of Colombia and Puerto Rico.

30. Statutory Lien: A lien that solely arises by statute, but does not include security interest or judicial lien.

31. Transfer: The creation of a lien; retention of title as security interest; foreclosure of a debtor's equity of redemption; or each mode of parting with or disposing of property or an interest in property.

32. United States: All locations where the judicial jurisdiction of the United States extends.


For more information on the definitions in bankruptcy, contact a Houston bankruptcy attorney at the Rashid Law Firm.