When atty sugg we go to a 7, we were not told that our land would be considered an asset, when chpt 7 judge wanted to sell land, atty went back to chpt 13, chpt 13 judge gave us 6 months to finish or be converted back to a 7. It is now a 7, a few days after paperwork arrived about conversion, some men came by to see land because they were told it was for sale by bankruptcy office. Our hearing for 7 is in 3 wks. How can our land be sold if we have not had our hearing yet? I called our atty, who has given us poor representation, he told me it can be sold at any time by chpt 7 judge. When I told him I had just received a notice of a hearing in a few wks, his exact words were"Really?" He Can the land be sold before the hearing without us knowing. Where do we go to find out our rights?
6/2/10 -Thank you for your answers, so I now understand the land can be sold before the hearing for the creditors on June 24. So it is imperative that we speak to the judge as soon as possible about buying the land back before it is sold. I now see that you have to be very diligent about looking for an atty, I will also read what I can on bankruptcy, & check schedules A&C as well. Your information is invaluable, I am so sorry I did not find this website before, & hope that someone else reads this before they get to this point. Thank you so very much for your time, you have told me more than my atty ever did.
If you just converted, the timing seems about right for a Meeting of Creditors. This hearing has nothing to do with the ability to sell an asset. You also mentioned your "Chapter 7 judge." The judge would be the same for the entire case. However, the trustee would be different. The trustee is in charge of your bankruptcy estate.
You also mentioned that you were not told that the land would be considered an asset. Was the land listed in your petition? If not, then the filing could be considered fraudulent for failure to list all assets. In addition, there would be no way to protect an unlisted asset. If the asset was listed, then the next question is what exemptions were used and how much was protected. Look at your Schedules A&C for the answers to those questions.
You may be able to buy the property back from the trustee. Have your attorney contact the trustee and see what he would be willing to take (sale back to you avoids having to pay someone to sell it so it may be a win-win situation for everyone if you can afford it).
[This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]
When you wrote "our hearing for 7 is in 3 wks," what did you mean? Are you referring to the Meeting of Creditors? If not, then I do not know what kind of a hearing you have coming up in 3 weeks.
Anyway, the filing of a Chapter 7 petition creates a "bankruptcy estate." The Chapter 7 Trustee is the person in charge of the 'bankruptcy estate.' If you have an asset that you can't exempt, then the trustee can sell it.
So if you're in Chapter 7 right now, with no exemptions available to protect your land, then the trustee can sell your land. You will need to find another attorney if your current attorney isn't helping you.
Personal Injury Lawyer
The previous answer was sound and I agree. When you say that "we were not told that our land would be considered an asset", this is not consistent with the disclosures that all bankruptcy attorneys are required to give to clients and to have the clients read and sign. Most of my clients come to me after having done at least some basic research, so the disclosures formalize basic concepts such as the fact that in a chapter 7 all assets are part of the bankruptcy estate and you will emerge unscathed as long as all unencumbered assets are covered by available exemptions.
The Nolo publishing company has some excellent books on bankruptcy. (No relationship with them no money goes into my pocket, it's just that they are good books.) And, yes, if you feel that you have not been properly advised in the process, seek new representation. The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) has a website with localized information on attorneys.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.