First of all, as soon as your case is filed you are assigned a case number. Then you are assigned a Trustee and Judge in the case. You will receive a Notice of Bankrupty Filing a few days after the case is filed with more information. Our office will also send you a very informative letter by email explaning everything to you. Please make sure you check your email often and please read your emails very carefully!
The majority of communication is done by email during your case. We are also available by phone but we cannot accept any legal questions by text message and will not give you advice over text message or WhatsApp communication. All communication regarding legal issues should be done by email or phone.
As soon as we file your case you will be assigned a Trustee and a meeting date for your initial meeting of creditors also called a 341 meeting of creditors. Post-Covid the meetings are all done virtually by ZOOM! So you can avoid the drive downtown or to the local courthouse and do the meeting from the comfort of your home. You can also be at work or at another location as long as you are in a quiet and private area with no background noise and access to a good internet signal. You cannot be driving your car! But you can be inside of your car if absolutely necessary as long as you are in a quiet place, away from traffic, preferrably in a private garage or parking lot. Please also remember that this is an official court proceeding so please look presentable over the camera by wearing appropriate clothing for court (though you can be more casual than in person court), by sitting up and being in a well lit area. Please avoid smoking on camera, drinking or eating on camera. Please use your common sense for the meetings and be respectful to the trustee.
You also have to know how to use the ZOOM application and be able to turn on your audio and camera. If you are unable to use ZOOM or are not comfortable using ZOOM you can come to our office in person for your meeting and we will run the meeting from our office.
Before you filed the case you should have provided your attorney with several documents including paystubs, tax returns, an ID, Social Security card copy, and more. The trustee will review this information for accuracy once the case is filed.
Your 341 meeting of creditors will be held approximately 30-45 days after the filing of the case. This ZOOM meeting will be between you and the trustee. We will also be in attendance via ZOOM. An attorney from the office will call you the morning of the meeting to fully prepare you for the meeting.
The meeting itself only takes about 10-15 minutes, sometimes less. Even though we will prepare you in advance for the meeting, no matter what, you should always tell the truth in the meetings. The meetings are recorded and you will be under oath, and there are real consequences for lying under oath during a 341 meeting.
Your first plan payment to the trustee is due 30 days after the filing of the case. You must make all payments to the trustee, or your case will not be confirmed and will be dismissed!
If you live in Cook County you will be assigned either Trustee Thomas Hooper or Trustee Marilyn Marshall.
If you live in the collar counties around Cook County such as DuPage, Lake, Will, Kendall, Grundy, and LaSalle then your trustee would be Glenn Stearns.
Each trustee has an informative website that can answer most of your questions. Otherwise we are always your first point of contact during your case.
The Trustee websites will also show you how to make payments online or by mail to a PO BOX.
You can also register for a website called NDC where you can follow your case progress online including tracking your payments, reviewing disbursements to creditors and more. This information can also be found on the individual Trustee’s websites posted above.
For information about your upcoming 341 meeting, confirmation hearing and other important court dates or deadlines you should ask your attorney so they can help you. Our office will send several emails and letters about the process throughout the case. Such as the case number, the date of your meeting, and more. You will also receive letters from the trustee and the court informing you about important dates and sending you copies of all court motions filed during your case. It is very important that you open all of your mail carefully during your case and read everything carefully before you call our office. You might also receive junk mail during the case or advertisements that look important but are junk mail. Please read everything carefully!
While you are in the case, you should always inform your attorneys about any changes in your situation.
Some examples of issues that might arise during the case that you need to inform your attorney about are:
- You fall behind on your trustee payments
- You fall behind on your mortgage payments
- You fall behind on car payments
- You move and change address or have a new phone number
- You want to sell a property or vehicle during the case
- You get into an accident
- You file for divorce
- You want to sue somebody
- You want to acquire new debt by purchasing a vehicle or financing an item (you need court approval to do this!)
- You become an heir to an inheritance
- You encounter any financial issue that you think your attorney should know about! Any change in circumstance or finance is important!
- Basically tell your lawyer everything!
For more information about Chapter 13 please click on the trustee websites above or visit the Bankruptcy Court’s links below: