I filed bankruptcy last year and was discharged at the beginning of 2010. I just received a notice from a collection agency for a debt that I thought would have been included in my bankruptcy. It's for about $2000 (though of course they're willing to settle with me for about half that) [debt was for a loan.] If it was not included, I will make arrangements to pay, but if it was included, then I don't understand why I'm receiving this letter. I was so stunned that I called and the person of course told that it was not included with my discharge, but I want to know if this is accurate. Therefore I was wondering how I find out specifically what was included. I've contacted my bankruptcy attorney, but she never responded to my email. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
If the debt was incurred prior to the filing of the case then it is discharged even if it was not listed in your bankruptcy filing. You should send a copy of your discharge to this creditor via certified mail along with a letter letting them know that you filed chapter 7 and that they are now on notice of the filing. Whatever you do, do not pay this debt. If they continue to harass you, contact my office. I can reopen your bankruptcy and file an application for an Order to Show Cause against the creditor. I do these on a contingenct basis so there is no out of pocket costs to you. If I am unsuccessful, you don't owe me any money. The best way for you to proceed at this point is to begin building a case against them by sending them notice that you have filed- Make sure you send everything certified mail so you have proof they received it. If necessary, I can get them to stop harassing you and put some money in your pocket at the same time.
Mr. Larkin is a San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney and is licensed in California. His response here does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Larkin strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about the specifics of their case.
You are in the 9th Circuit. In our circuit the Beezley case holds that debts are discharged even if they were left off your petition if: 1) Your case was a "no asset" case 2) You inadvertently (not intentionally) left the debt off.
Your case is a "no asset" case if you didn't have to turn over any assets to the trustee because all your assets were exempt. (see links below)
Of course, if the debt in question wouldn't have been discharged if you had listed it correctly (eg debts for fraud recent taxes, etc.) it doesn't get discharged under the rule in the Beasley case.
Your attorney should help you with this. If you want to know specifically what debts are included in the discharge, look at Schedules D, E and F of the petition (you should have a copy), which list the various creditors. Some or all of the debts on Schedules D and E may not be discharged, depending upon the type of debt. It is likely the debts on Schedule F were discharged. I am assuming that you filed Chapter 7 and were properly discharged.
As a start, you need to look at the paperwork filed when you filed your case. Not all of the debts you have listed may have been dischargable but all of the discharged debts will be listed. Unfortunately, the Discharge Order doesn't directly reference what it and what is not discharged. Obviously, after acquired debt is not discharged.
From what you have described, it appears that you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
I agree with the previous comments and would recommend looking at Schedules D, E, and F and also contacting your attorney.
However, generally speaking, even if the debt was not specifically included as a debt in your Chapter 7, since most Chapter 7 cases do not have assets available to your unsecured creditors, this debt collector lost nothing if it was not listed.
Send a copy of the Notice of Discharge to this debt collector, or ask your attorney to send the debt collector a copy of the Notice of Discharge.
Often, debt collectors acquire debt either before or after the discharge, either from the original creditor or another debt collector. This type of debt is often called "Zombie Debt" because it is dead and the debt collectors try to bring it back to life.
Sending the debt collector a copy of the Notice of Discharge should be enough to get it to stop contacting you.
It is always a good idea to keep a copy of the Notice of Discharge handy just in case you receive similar letters from debt collectors in the future.
The information provided is not intended as legal advice. No attorney/Client relationship is intended, implied or created.
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