Once the case goes to discharge, the debtor, all the creditors and the debtor’s Round Lake Heights bankruptcy attorney will receive a discharge order from the Clerk of the United States Bankruptcy Court. This discharge order is the one page document that states that the case has gone through to completion and no creditors can bother that debtor on those debts.
Every once in a while, one of my clients will receive a collection letter or an attempt to collect from some creditor who was listed on their bankruptcy petition. Although this is technically a violation of the automatic stay, it is not something that we typically make a big deal about. What we do or what I advise my clients to do is photocopy your discharge letter and send it to that creditor. Ninety-nine percent of the time, once the creditor receives the proof that the case has gone into bankruptcy, they drop it and there is no more activity. Creditors do not want to be violating the automatic stay in trying to collect on a debt that’s discharged in someone’s bankruptcy.
What often happens is creditors sell the right to collect to another creditor or collection agency after the bankruptcy case was filed. In many cases, this new creditor or new collection agency just has not been made aware of the bankruptcy filing. By making them aware of the bankruptcy filing, they will stop the collection efforts. I also recommend that my clients check their credit bureau after a case has been completed. You can pull all three of your bureaus once a year for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can also pull one credit report every four months so that, during the course of the year, you can pull a fresh credit report every four months so that you can stay current on how your report looks.
If you see information on your credit report that is inaccurate or should have been changed after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you want to dispute that information with the particular credit bureau. What you should do as a debtor is send a copy of the discharge to the credit bureau disputing the validity of the particular debt because it was eliminated in a bankruptcy. The credit bureau then will contact the creditor and ask for verification of the debt. If the creditor does not respond back within 30 days with verification of the debt, then the information will be removed from your credit report. It’s very important to stay on top of your credit report because that can affect how much you’re going to pay for credit in the future in terms of interest rates and things like that.
A lot of clients think that it’s up to the attorney to clear up the credit report and stay vigilant in that regard. In reality, the bankruptcy attorney’s job has ended at the time the case has gone to discharge. You, as the bankruptcy client, must continue to check your credit report just as you would have before you filed for bankruptcy to make sure that there’s not inaccurate information on your credit report. For more help, contact a local bankruptcy lawyer to assist in your effort to get out of debt.