Bankruptcy can be an absolute necessity for a number of people. Whether you're filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (aka "simple bankruptcy") or Chapter 13 bankruptcy (commonly known as a "debt repayment plan bankruptcy"), there are several things that you should know about the process once it's "finished." Simply because you have finalized all of the paperwork and that you have been given a status of "discharge" does not mean that you are entirely finished with the process in total. This brief guide will serve to help you with what you should do after a bankruptcy discharge.
Make Sure You Have Paperwork
All of your paperwork should be properly collected and you should make sure it is all in order, for your own sake. You should have received a full copy of your bankruptcy petition from your attorney after your discharge.
A petition is approximately 30 to 60 pages long and basically contains all of the information on your case, ranging from everything from your assets to facts about your debt. In conjunction with your petition, you should also have received a notice of bankruptcy filing directly from the court itself. This document should headline all of the deadlines that you made (or missed), many of which affect the outcome of the trial itself.
Pay Any Non-Discharged Debts
Filing for bankruptcy does not discharge you from all debts. There are a number of debts that are simply non-dischargeable, such as taxes and student loans, and you should begin making plans to repay these debts as soon as possible. As soon as you receive a discharge notice, you should begin making provisions to pay these off by contacting the appropriate creditors or lending office. There are numerous programs, many of which the court will recommend, that involve setting up an income-based repayment plan for your numerous loans and debts that have not been discharged.
Start Rebuilding Credit
There are a number of ways you can go about rebuilding your credit, but the best way is to sign up for a secured credit card. A secured credit card is one that shares money with your bank, through either your checking or savings account, and acts as collateral towards building your credit.
It is important, however, to never use more than 10 to 20% of your available credit. Although this advice is often offered to all credit card owners, the point must be driven home to those who have filed for bankruptcy. It is important to not let your past mistakes come back and haunt you in the form of poor credit and an inability to pay back loans.
Keep Up With Home and Car Payments
If you filed for bankruptcy, the bank will have a lien on your home. This does not matter if you reaffirmed your mortgage or not. It is important to simply continue to pay your bills on time when it comes to your home. However, if you did not reaffirm your home, the bank cannot obtain a deficiency judgment against you. This is not an excuse to not pay your bills, however. This is simply a clause used to protect homeowners who might have a bit of trouble coming up with the money after filing for bankruptcy. If you did not reaffirm your debts, this matter will also not be reported to the credit bureau, which can help your credit standing, as well.
Receiving a discharge notice about your bankruptcy does not mean that the process is over. Although the legal hoops you have to jump through are mainly complete, there are a number of financial issues you should address. With this information, you should have a better idea of those which you might need to address. For more information, contact a professional attorney, like those found at http://www.wflaw.net.