Ok, it’s over. You have your Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge from the Bankruptcy Court. What now? Do these seven things to tie up your loose ends and begin your fresh start the right way!
Keep your Discharge Order. Keep your lawyer’s contact information. Keep a folder or shoebox with all your documents from the bankruptcy. After a bankruptcy some sketchy bad debt buyers will try and collect on a debt that was eliminated in your bankruptcy. Be ready to send them a copy of your Discharge Order and a stern letter stating that this debt was bankrupted. If they don’t stop, call your bankruptcy lawyer and let her chew on them.
Buy a big giant calendar that you can write on. Write your mortgage and car loan due dates on it and pay 7 days before the due date. Because computers keep track of our payments now, they like payments to come in on the same day every month and never late. This is good for your credit rating.
Check insurance policies on the mortgage or car loan that you kept after the bankruptcy. Review them for correct information and update if needed. Make sure you are not still paying insurance if you gave back a house or car.
Review any automatic bill payments that were stopped because of the bankruptcy. If you kept your house or car after the bankruptcy you will need to contact the lenders to start those again. Set up an automatic savings plan.
Ok, it’s not a word but it does have a meaning. Five kinds of debts cannot be discharged: 1) child support or alimony, 2) student loans, 3) recent taxes, 4) money damages for things you did while you were drunk, 5) fraud or theft. I’m going to assume you have 1, 2 or 3. Contact your student loan lender to take advantage of long-term payout options. First, make sure your child support is paid; they can lock you up for that. Contact the IRS and make arrangements to pay, before things get out of control.
If you kept a car or house that has a lien on it, call the lienholder and make arrangements to pay. They can’t make you pay them, but the lien survives bankruptcy, so they CAN come get it.
7 Be watchful
Check your credit reports from all three agencies regularly to see if bankrupted debts pop up. Dispute them promptly. If you get a lawsuit for a bankrupted debt, file an Answer with the Plaintiff and the Court and include a copy of your bankruptcy discharge. If you don’t, they will get a judgment against you and that could make a dead debt live again!