Once the petition is filed you are required to attend, about one month later, a trustee meeting. This bankruptcy meeting is held at the federal building in Des Moines, Iowa. The trustee is an attorney appointed by the court to review your petition and paperwork. He is also empowered to take from you any assets you own which may not be protected or exempt and which he, the trustee, can sell and then use the funds to pay to your creditors. Iowa exemption laws set forth what property you are allowed to keep when you file bankruptcy. These laws are fairly liberal and allow most people to keep most of what they own. A description of Iowa exemption statutes is here.
We can advise you how these exemption rules apply to your situation and sometimes pre-bankruptcy planning involving selling or moving assets is advisable. However, this should be done ONLY after close consultation with us or another Iowa or Des Moines bankruptcy attorney. Do not sell or transfer any property or assets prior to consulting with a bankruptcy attorney. Seven Mistakes to Avoid.
At the trustee's meeting the trustee will ask you various questions to verify that the information provided in the petition is accurate. This is not a hearing before a judge and you will not be on a witness stand, but you will be under oath and must answer all trustee's questions honestly. Usually this meeting lasts only a few minutes. This office will fully prepare you for this meeting and, of course, Mr. Miller will be there with you.
Two (2) months following this trustee's meeting, or about three (3) months after we file the petition, the court will enter a Discharge Order and your case is completed.
After you file your bankruptcy petition and before the court enters your Discharge Order you are required to complete a second credit counseling session called a Personal Financial Management course. This is approximately a two (2) hour course with an independent accredited financial agency. Once the course is completed the agency will send you and this office a copy of your certificate of completion to be filed with the court. This course can be conducted on line, by telephone or in person, whichever is most convenient. We will advise you where and how to complete this requirement easily and cheaply.