Douglass, West & Associates

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy places an automatic stay upon the attempts of your creditors to collect debts owed by you. In order that you get the maximum benefit from your bankruptcy, you must understand exactly what is required of you during the months that follow your filing.

Under Chapter 7 you also have a number of important rights:


  1. You cannot be harassed or contacted by any creditors. If a creditor calls, put them in touch with your attorney immediately.
  2. You have a right to retain all of your property unless your attorney has stipulated otherwise.

As a result of the Chapter 7 being filed you have the following responsibilities:


  1. Each person who signed the Petition must attend the First Meeting of Creditors. You will receive a computerized notice in the mail from the Court telling you the time, date and room umber of the hearing. If you fail to show up for this meeting without making satisfac­tory arrangements and notifying this office, you will be billed $500.00 for my time and court appearance.
  2. Individual Debtor’s Duty to Provide Documentation.
    • Personal Identification.
      Every individual debtor shall bring to the meeting of creditors under § 341:

      • (A) a picture identification issued by a governmental unit, or other personal identifying information that establishes the debtor’s identity; and
      • (B) evidence of social security number(s), or a written statement that such documentation does not exist.
    • Financial Information.
      Every individual debtor shall bring to the meeting of creditors under § 341 and make available to the trustee the following documents or copies of them, or provide a written statement that the documentation does not exist or is not in the debtor’s possession:

      • (A) Evidence of current income such as the most recent payment advice;
      • (B) Statements for each of the debtor’s depository and investment accounts, including checking, savings, and money market accounts, mutual funds and brokerage accounts for the time period that includes the date of the filing of the petition; and
      • (C) documentation of monthly expenses claimed by the debtor when required by §707(b)(2)(A) or (B).


Your gas, electric, phone, or water company may request a security deposit for service after the bankruptcy if you listed a debt to them in your bankruptcy papers. While the bank­ruptcy will wipe out any bills that you owed them up until the date that you filed, the utilities are entitled to a deposit for continued service. If you receive a request for a deposit and feel it is too high, or if you will have difficulty paying it on time, contact your attorney right away.


You must complete an approved course Financial Management Course with the certificate of completion being filed with the Court with in 45 days of your 1st scheduled 341 hearing (the hearing has not been scheduled). This course will take approximately two hours to complete. Check the website for the United States Trustee Program office at for a list of organizations . We believe the least expensive courses provided online are:

We believe the least expensive courses provided online are by:

  • Access Counseling, Inc. – (DWA Attorney Code is A5EC231) Access Counseling, Inc. is approved to issue certificates evidencing completion of our personal financial management instructional course in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code in all jurisdictions except North Carolina and Alabama. Approval does not endorse or assure the quality of a Provider’s services.
    • $ 9.95 ONLINE – Post-filing/Pre-discharge Debtor Education, Single or Joint Filers (per Household)
    • $ 15.00 by PHONE – Post-filing/Pre-discharge Debtor Education, Single or Joint Filers (per Household)
    • Same fees for Single or Joint-filers
    • Available in English or Spanish
    • Use DWA Attorney Code is A5EC231
    • Website:
    • Toll Free: 800-205-9297

You must avoid using any type of credit (charge cards, etc.) without the permission of the Court. If you have not done so at this point, it’s  best to destroy all of your credit cards.

Under certain circumstances, we will have to bill you further. Some of these situations are as follows:

  • If you gave us incomplete or inaccurate information concerning creditors and we must change the court records ($150.00).
  • If we have to attend a hearing because you fail to appear for the First Meeting of Creditors ($500.00).

It is our desire that you will meet the obligations set out above and will not require further legal assistance from this office.

We understand that bankruptcy can be confusing. Therefore, if you have any questions at all or if you do not understand exactly what you must do, please call our office at (610) 446-9000. We will be happy to answer all of your questions.