Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed for debtors who want a full release from liability of all of their “dischargeable” debts. In the majority of Chapter 7 cases, this means most if not all unsecured debts are wiped away. In a Chapter 7 case, once a bankruptcy petition has been filed, a trustee is appointed to ‘liquidate’ the debtor’s assets subject to the debtor’s rights to “exempt” or protect some or all of his property from the trustee’s reach. In the majority of Virginia’s Chapter 7 cases, debtors are able to keep their property by taking appropriate exemptions available to them. This is a comforting truth for our clients to hear. But every case is unique, and you should speak with our firm to see how the laws of Virginia would apply to your case.
If a person filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, called a “debtor”, has property so valuable it cannot be fully exempted or protected, the trustee may have the right to take that property, sell it, and use the proceeds of that sale to pay unsecured creditors who file an appropriate proof of claim. As previously stated, this is less frequent in Chapter 7 cases, but it can happen, and it’s important you discuss your legal exemptions with your bankruptcy lawyer so you know in advance whether you can keep everything you own. At the end of a Chapter 7 case, the individual debtor receives an order of discharge that legally releases him from all liability for “dischargeable” debts. As to what debts are “dischargeable”, this website includes a list of debts which are non-dischargeable. All the rest would generally be dischargeable.
Call us at (703) 548-3900 or contact us online. We are often able to answer questions by telephone or email within 24 hours, and we are always willing to meet with you at our office conveniently located near Tysons Corner Mall in Fairfax County, Virginia.