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Non-Consumer Discharged

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  • Non-Consumer Discharged

    I was discharged a month ago and want to thank all of you. I had some questions throughout the process, some were answered and some were not, and I’d like to share my experience for those who are going through this. No hamsters or congrats please, but feel free to ask questions if you have them. I didn’t like reading ten posts of congrats and dancing hamsters each time someone was discharged. I wanted to read their story.

    341 meeting: Be prepared to discuss your assets. The trustee looks at the satellite image of your property on Google and asks about vehicles he sees in your driveway. He seemed pretty proud of himself about that. You will walk out of the 341 meeting knowing what assets the trustee is going after.

    Charging up credit cards: None of the creditors objected to the discharge. We had used a credit card 30 days before filing and wracked up about $1k of expenses on it. We had written out a cash advance check for $12k five months before filing. Not a word from the creditors.

    Non-consumer: Our debts were primarily business debts. The means test and the schedules were not questioned in the 341. We were able to show no DMI on the schedules. I used the IRS standards for everything and the TT asked no questions about the “truthiness” of the expenses.

    Household exemptions: The trustee did not send anyone to do a walk though of my house. He had a question about an old piano I had listed, but didn’t end up objecting to my exemption.

    Existing businesses: We have a couple of ongoing businesses. We listed each as “liabilities exceed assets.” The only question the TT asked about them was whether they were all “encumbered.” We answered yes and he moved on. The TT did not ask for P&L of the existing businesses or of the closed businesses. It appeared as if he didn’t really care about them. We have had no interruption in the operation of our businesses.

    Preferential transfers: The TT asked about my spouse’s father as a creditor. They evidently go through the creditor matrix to look for insiders. He asked if we had made any payments to him. We answered “no” and he moved on.

    Planning ahead: I stressed about this for a year before we filed. Had I known how simple this process would be, I would have filed earlier. We have been going through hell these last three years. Each time we were ready to file we would find a reason not to. We waited as long as we could in order to be best prepared.

    Documents: The only documents requested were a bank print-off of the balance on the day we filed, and our tax returns.

    Attorney: Get an attorney. It adds credibility to your story. It was well worth the money.

    Credit after filing: Within one week of filing we were bombarded with credit card and auto loan offers. We turned them all down. ☺

    Just do it: We switched our phones to Google voice in order to avoid creditor calls. We cringed each time the doorbell rang thinking it was another process server. We hated checking the mail because there was usually a nasty-gram from a creditor. It’s all over now. We live peacefully and we are enjoying our fresh start.

  • #2
    No grats, but you've broken our seven hamsters hearts. Anyway, thanks for the info. I'll rock them to sleep and they'll be fine tomorrow. 'Hub
    If I knew it all, would I be here?? Hang in there = Retained attorney 8-06, Filed 12-28-07, Discharge 8-13-08, Finally CLOSED 11-3-09, 3-31-10 AP Dismissed, Informed by incompetent lawyer of CLOSED status, October 14, 2010.


    • #3
      I only wish that you had asked more questions in our Pro Se area! I'm a non-consumer Chapter 13 converted to Chapter 7 discharged pro se debtor! (That's a mouthful!) Yes the community thrives on congratulations, but that's why we have them in separate threads or start a Blog (I have 13 blogs).

      In any event, I must absolutely say congratulations. I have no hamsters, so there will be no dancing. I do appreciate and enjoy the details of a process. Each (Panel) Trustee works differently and it's interesting your Trustee used satellite images. Mine simply uses registration records through a national database. He already knew what I had and didn't have.
      Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
      Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
      Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

      I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


      • #4
        Hi Justbroke. My trustee used registration records as well. At the 341 he happily took another debtor's cars that were not disclosed but had been "unknowingly" titled in the debtor's name. I think my trustee was using the satellite image to look for assets that were not disclosed, not titled in my name, yet on my property. Or else he just wanted to see where I live <creepy.>

        I wasn't pro-se. I had an attorney. With the information I gained from this forum, I felt as if I could have done it myself, and I did in fact catch the attorney on some technical matters. But I still think my case would have been scrutinized more had I not had the attorney. It was complicated with all of the businesses and the lawsuits, etc. You were one of the most helpful contributors, BTW. Thank you for all of the time you spend on this forum after your own case has been closed. I imagine I'll be signing off soon and putting all of this completely behind me.


        • #5
          I think your Trustee uses the satellite photos mostly for "shock" affect. For years, my home showed the previous owner's cars parked in the driveway! I also think your Trustee is creepy! Now, if they pulled out photos of me going to work and buying $5 lattes at Starbucks... I'd just give up right there!

          (For the record, I don't drink Starbucks although there is one in my neighborhood. I prefer Dunkin' Donuts! I don't know what they put in their coffee, but I like it!)
          Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
          Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
          Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

          I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


          • #6
            Thank you for sharing your story.

            The trustee looking at a Google satellite image to ask us about our cars would have freaked me out - I would have stuttered and stammered just because it would have been so unexpected! Although, like JustBroke mentioned, the cars shown in our Google satellite picture are not ours but the previous owners. Hopefully, your mentioning this will save a future forum member from the shock/surprise of having this happen during their 341.

            Best wishes.
            ~~ Filed Over Median Income Chapter 7: 12/17/2010 ~~ 341 Held: 1/12/2011 ~~ Discharged: 03/16/2011 ~~
            Not an attorney - just an opinionated woman.


            • #7
              I remember when I was purchasing homeowner's insurance. The independent agent told his clerks to just pull up my address in Google and take the street view to 'ride by my house' and look at it. I almost choked on my own laughter trying to stifle it. My driveway is more than 800 feet long back in the woods, and the house is not viewable from the road, or by the nearest neighbors....
              "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

              "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."


              • #8
                We did some construction recently so we can tell when the picture was taken by what's going on around the yard. It's a recent picture. Thinking about it, I do wonder what the heck the trustee was doing with the satellite picture. A person could easily say that the vehicle is a visitor's car. I have to stop thinking about this. Ya'll are going to make me worried that something else is going on, since the case isn't closed yet. We are underwater on the house, but now owe nothing thanks to the discharge. We are staying and paying. The attorney didn't list any homeowner exemption because we had no equity. Ugh. Thinking.....thinking....stress level rising - what have you done!!!!!


                • #9
                  LOL See?? The dancing hamsters would have been much kinder to your blood pressure!!! (Just kidding)

                  No - the trustee was doing it merely for the "Shock & Awe" factor. Honestly.

                  Bet if you look on his CV - he has some military experience.
                  ~~ Filed Over Median Income Chapter 7: 12/17/2010 ~~ 341 Held: 1/12/2011 ~~ Discharged: 03/16/2011 ~~
                  Not an attorney - just an opinionated woman.


                  • #10

                    A non-consumer Ch 7 has some differences that may be of importance to someone reading your story. The one that jumped out at me was the use of credit and the cash advance check prior to filing. In a non-consumer case, the presumption of abuse is pretty much a non-issue; though doing the exact same things in the exact same timeline for a consumer Ch 7 would most likely draw the Trustee's attention.

                    As for Google...that's a new spin on a tried and true BS detection process. I could see how it might be useful - "You live in that house, in that neighborhood, and you don't have any furniture except an Ikea footstool?" I saw a case last year where the Trustee asked a petitioner about their purchase from (yes, I looked it up!) on their credit card several months prior. That was immediately followed with a question as to why a personal firearm wasn't listed on the assets or listing of recent items sold. Another Trustee held up the petitioner's homeowners insurance policy and asked why there was a computers and electronic devices rider listed when no such devices were listed under the assets. I saw posted in these forums an account of a Trustee using a directional microphone to overhear comments in the peanut gallery before starting the day's proceedings - just to see if anyone was quietly hoping they wouldn't get caught doing whatever.

                    Glad all went well with your case. And I'll second your opinion about planning ahead.


                    • #11
                      btheme makes a good point. I agree that charging up to the last minute (30 days or less) before filing, creates an "abuse" issue as far as the overall case is concerned. However that does not diminish (or quash) any issues regarding dischargeability of that particular debt! The creditors know exactly what type of establishments you shopped in and can gaue whether it is worth it to pursue. A bunch of charges at grocery stores won't be as motivating as a large purchase at a jeweler or electronics store.

                      Generally speaking, seeking a determination on the dischargeability of a debt that is less than $4K or so, is usually not worth it for the creditor. That is why a $1K charge within days of filing, goes without any fanfare. It could be as little as $2K for some creditors; the creditor needs to assess the viability of pursuit. Some till just have their attorney send "threatening" letters to your attorney that they are "thinking" about 11 USC 523 dischargeability issues. They'll mention "fraud" and other terms that make you feel like you committed a crime. Most back off when you ignore them! However, some actually DO have a legitimate claim.

                      I mistakenly thought I could keep 2 credit cards in my Chapter 13. I was charging on them 30-days after I had filed. Eventually, the cards were closed by the creditor. Oops! However, they did not file anything less than a claim for the balance. It was discharged in my Chapter 7 22 months later.

                      I do like the smart Trustee that actually looks for assets. Regardless of how people (debtors) feel about Trustees seeking assets, that is their job. It is incredible how much people hide things. I'm in a Florida District which is notorious for sending appraisers. I did not have an appraiser come to my home for either my Chapter 13 or my converted Chapter 7 case.
                      Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                      Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                      Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

                      I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


                      • #12

                        What district did you file in? I filed in central CA, non-consumer, and my trustee did not go into any of those details with myself or anyone else.


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