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  • 341 Meeting: A meeting of creditors at which the debtor is questioned under oath by creditors, a trustee, examiner, or the United States trustee about his/her financial affairs

  • Adversary Proceeding: A lawsuit arising in or related to a bankruptcy case that is commenced by filing a complaint with the bankruptcy court.
  • Automatic Stay: An injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosure, garnishments and all collection activity against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.

  • Bankruptcy: A legal procedure for dealing with debt problems of individuals and businesses; specifically, a case filed under one of the chapters of title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code).
  • Bankruptcy Estate: All legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property, both real and personal, at the time of the bankruptcy filing. (The estate includes all property in which the debtor has an interest, even if it is owned or held by another person.)

  • Chapter 7: The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for “liquidation,” i.e., the sale of a debtor’s nonexempt property and the distribution of the proceeds to creditors.
  • Chapter 7 Trustee: A person appointed in a chapter 7 case to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the unsecured creditors. (The trustee’s responsibilities include reviewing the debtor’s petition and schedules, liquidating the property of the estate, and making distributions to creditors. The trustee may also bring actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.) The Trustee works under the general supervision of the court and the direct supervision of the United States Trustee.
  • Chapter 13: The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for adjustments of debts of an individual with regular income. (Chapter 13 allows a debtor to keep property and pay debts over time, usually three to five years.)
  • Chapter 13 Trustee: A person appointed to administer a chapter 13 case. (A chapter 13 trustee’s responsibilities are similar to those of a chapter 7 trustee; however, a chapter 13 trustee has the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor’s plan, receiving payments from debtors, and disbursing plan payments to creditors.) The Trustee works under the general supervision of the court and the direct supervision of the United States Trustee.
  • Confirmation of a plan: of reorganization by a bankruptcy judge. (Can be either a Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 Plan)
  • Credit Counseling: “Individual or group briefing” from a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency that individual debtors must attend prior to filing under any chapter under the Bankruptcy Code.

  • Debtor Education: The “instructional course in personal financial management” in chapters 7 and 13 that an individual debtor must complete before a discharge is entered.
  • Discharge: A release of a debtor from personal liability for certain dischargable debts. (A discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for certain debts known as dischargeable debts and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor or the debtor’s property to collect the debts. The discharge also prohibits creditors from communicating with the debtor regarding the debt, including telephone calls, letters, and personal contact.)
  • Dischargeable Debt: A debt for which the Bankruptcy Code allows the debtor’s personal liability to be eliminated.

  • Exempt: A description of any property that a debtor may prevent creditors from recovering.
  • Exempt Property: Property or value in property that a debtor is allowed to retain, free from the claims of creditors who do not have liens.

  • Fraudulent Transfer: A transfer of a debtor’s property made with intent to defraud or for which the debtor receives less than the transferred property’s value.

  • Insider: (of individual debtor) Any relative of the debtor or of a general partner of the debtor; partnership in which the debtor is a general partner; general partner of the debtor; or corporation of which the debtor is a director, officer or person in control

  • Lien: A charge upon specific property designed to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation
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  • Means Test Calculation: to determine whether an individual debtor’s chapter 7 filing is presumed to be an abuse of the Bankruptcy Code requiring dismissal or conversion of the case. Abuse is presumed if the debtor’s aggregate current monthly income over 5 years is above the state median income for a family of a specific size.
  • Motion To Lift Automatic Stay: A request by a creditor to allow the creditor to take an action against a debtor or the debtor’s property that would otherwise be prohibited by the automatic stay.

  • Nondischargeable Debt: A debt that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy.

  • Objection to Discharge: A trustee’s or creditor’s objection to the debtor’s being released from personal liability from certain discharged debts.

  • Objection to Exemptions: A trustee’s or creditor’s objection to a debtor’s attempt to claim certain property as exempt, i.e., not liable for any prepetition debt of the debtor.

  • Preferential Debt Payment: A debt payment made to a creditor in the 90-day period before a debtor files bankruptcy (or within one year if the creditor was an insider) that gives the creditor more than the creditor would receive in the debtor’s chapter 7 case.
  • Proof of Claim: A written statement describing the reason a debtor owes a creditor money.

  • Reaffirmation Agreement: An agreement by a chapter 7 debtor to continue paying a dischargeable debt after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral or mortgaged property that would otherwise be subject to repossession.

  • Secured Creditor: An individual or business holding a claim against the debtor that is secured by a lien on property of the estate or that is subject to a right of set-off.
  • Secured Debt: Debt backed by a mortgage, pledge of collateral, or other lien; debt for which the creditor has the right to pursue specific pledged property upon default.

  • United States Trustee: An officer of the Justice Department responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases, estates, and trustees, monitoring plans and disclosure statements, monitoring creditors’ committees, monitoring fee application, and performing other statutory duties.
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