Weneta M.A. Kosmala


Chapter 7 Trustee

On Our Site

• Trustee Home Page

• Contacting the Trustee

• Frequently Asked Questions

• The Trustee Meeting (341a)

• Trustee Sales

• For Creditors

• Law Firm Home Page

WHERE CAN I OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE?


The Trustee is not your attorney, and cannot give you legal advice.  The following resources may be available to you, but are subject to their own eligibility criteria and capacity.  We are not able to make recommendations to specific attorneys.

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  • Public Law Center:  Co-hosts a free clinic with the Orange County Bar Association at which volunteer attorneys provide guidance to self-represented debtors meeting income criteria.  Meets in the Clerk's Office of the Santa Ana Bankruptcy Court during set hours.
  • Legal Aid Society of Orange County:  Offers group clinics and computer resources for self-represented debtors meeting income criteria.  Maintains a referral service for those who do not qualify for free assistance.
  • Orange County Bar Association Lawyer Referral & Information Service:  Operates a "Modest Means" program for those who do not meet the income criteria for free services, but cannot afford regular attorney rates.  Provides referrals to attorneys for those who do not qualify for any other reduced-cost service.
  • State Bar of California:  The State Bar certifies attorneys as bankruptcy specialists.  Certified specialists must pass an examination, provide references, and establish experience in the subject area.  (Please note that there are many qualified attorneys who do not elect to become certified specialists.)  The State Bar does not provide referrals, but does provide general information concerning finding an attorney here.

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WHERE CAN I OBTAIN general information about bankruptcy?


There are many online resources for bankruptcy information.  Please be sure that you are using an authoritative source, and that the site has current information.  Filing fees, exemption amounts and forms change regularly.

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WHERE CAN I OBTAIN BANKRUPTCY PAPERS / FILING INFORMATION?


  • Petition Forms:  All forms necessary for a basic filing are included in the "petition package".  Many are "fillable" pdfs.  Extensive instructions are included at the front of the package.
  • eSR (Electronic Self-Representation:  You may prepare and file your bankruptcy papers electronically, even if you are not represented by an attorney.  This option is available only for Chapter 7 filings.
  • Filing Fee Schedule:  If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you may be eligible for a waiver, or an installment plan.  Fill out and file this form.  Waiver/installment arrangements are subject to approval by a judge.
  • Debtor Electronic Bankruptcy Noticing:  Debtors may now elect to receive bankruptcy notices via e-mail, rather than by regular mail.

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WHAT DO I DO IF I FIND AN ERROR IN MY PAPERS?


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what is the "341(A)" / trustee meeting / creditor meeting?  what do i need to know about that meeting?


  • Please click the link to the left for "The Trustee Meeting (341a)".

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WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY TRUSTEE MEETING?


  • Post-petition Personal Financial Management Course Certificate:  The Bankruptcy Code requires that individual debtors undergo two separate counseling sessions.  One takes place before the bankruptcy filing; the certificate is the "entry ticket" filed along with the bankruptcy papers to start the bankruptcy.  The second must take place after the bankruptcy filing; the certificate is the "exit ticket" for the debtor who expects a discharge.  Most credit counseling agencies offer both courses, which are available online, over the phone, and in person.  It is easy to forget to complete the second course, so it is highly advisable that you complete it as soon as possible after the bankruptcy filing.  You can find a list of available counselors in California by clicking here.  Some credit counselors will file the certificate of completion directly with the Court.  If your counseling agency does not provide this service, you will need to do it yourself.  You will need to obtain a certificate from the agency, generally by e-mail.  For instructions on filing the Certification of Completion, and the necessary form, click here.  The consequence of not filing the form is that no discharge will be entered in your case.  If your case is closed without a discharge because no Certification of Completion was filed, you will need to petition the Court to reopen the case to allow you to file the Certification.  You will have to pay an additional filing fee; there is no fee waiver or installment plan for this fee.  Instructions on filing the motion to reopen the case are found here; the motion form is found here.

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  • Trustee's determination concerning assets:  A major job of the Chapter 7 trustee is to investigate the debtors' finances to determine whether there are any assets that can be administered, including non-exempt property which can be sold or transfers which can be avoided.  In most cases, there are no such assets, and the trustee will file a report with the Court to that effect.  If your Trustee Meeting has been continued, if the Trustee has asked for additional documents, or if the Trustee is investigating assets (i.e. sending out a realtor to inspect property), the decision will be deferred until the investigation is complete.  Please keep in mind that unless and until the case has been closed, or property has been abandoned, all property remains property of the bankruptcy estate.  If you are anticipating taking any dispositive action with regard to property you owned at the time of the bankruptcy filing, including selling, refinancing, or using up that property, please contact your attorney if you are represented, or communicate directly with the Trustee's office, to confirm that it is appropriate for you to do so.

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  • Creditor action:  Creditors and other interested parties are given 60 days from your initial Trustee Meeting date to decide whether or not to file an action seeking the denial of your discharge, or a determination of nondischargeability of a debt.  Such actions are relatively rare.

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  • Discharge:  IF you file your Personal Financial Management Course Certificate, and IF no creditor takes contrary action against you, a discharge should be entered very shortly after the 60 day period for creditor action runs.  Please note that the entry of discharge only applies to dischargeable debts.  If you have questions about whether your debts are dischargeable, please seek your own counsel.  The entry of the discharge is handled as an administrative task; no hearing will be held in the usual case, and the Clerk's office will simply trigger a Discharge of Debtor notice.  If you believe that the notice is overdue, please contact the Clerk's office directly to raise the issue.  Please note that the Trustee has nothing to do with the entry of discharge.

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  • Administration after discharge:  The entry of discharge, and the Trustee's administration of the case, are on two different tracks.  Even if your discharge is entered promptly, the Trustee may continue to work on the case, collecting and selling property of the estate, and/or pursuing avoidance actions to bring property back into the estate.  The discharge does not impact the Trustee's administration of property of the estate.  Your case will remain open and active during that administration, even though you are discharged.

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  • Creditor activity post-discharge:  Discharged debtors are protected against most creditor activity by the discharge injunction.  There are many exceptions.  If creditors are taking action against you on a debt that was included in your bankruptcy, you should seek legal counsel immediately to determine whether the action is covered by the discharge injunction, and what your legal remedies are.  Check the resources at the top of the page under "Where Can I Obtain Legal Advice"?  

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Last Updated December 28, 2016.

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