When you file bankruptcy, you are seeking the bankruptcy protection that has helped so many climb out of the deep pit debt can create due to the economy, industry changes, job loss, health complications, family emergencies, etc. Regardless of the reason or reasons behind your bankruptcy filing, you listed all your debts in your paperwork, were up front and honest with your attorney and the bankruptcy trustee, and you’ve put it behind you. So when you suddenly receive contact (by phone, mail, email, etc.) from someone you listed as a creditor during your bankruptcy, it can feel like you’re being haunted by a past life – one that you thought your bankruptcy discharge erased entirely.
If you filed bankruptcy and received a discharge and are now receiving contact from a collector regarding a debt you feel was included in the case, check the list below to see if any of them could apply to your situation.
- Was a discharge received? In some cases, a filer may assume their bankruptcy case is completed and their debt discharged, but they never actually received their final discharge of debt. If you are unsure whether or not you received it, contact the bankruptcy court or your bankruptcy attorney to verify.
- Could a creditor have been left off of the list? Check your bankruptcy case paperwork to verify that the debt was included and the creditor notified.
- Is the creditor that is calling you an old homeowners’ association? The bankruptcy code specifically addresses the problem of homeowners’ association fees on properties that are included in bankruptcy. It states that all “fees or assessments that become due and payable” after the bankruptcy filing are exempt from discharge. This is a bone of contention for many bankruptcy filers, but it is the law. Additionally, if you retained ownership of a property after bankruptcy then you are not only responsible for the fees that accrued during the bankruptcy, but any past due amount from before the bankruptcy filing as well. In some cases, this can add up to a significant amount of money depending on the location of the property and the amount of the monthly and/or annual fees associate with the home.
If you are struggling to figure out why a creditor is calling you, start by advising them of the bankruptcy. If they persist or advise you that they are somehow exempt from the bankruptcy discharge, take that information along with you to an experienced southern California bankruptcy attorney to find out more about what is happening and how to stop it.
If you have questions about filing bankruptcy in southern California or if you are having trouble related to a bankruptcy in your past, please get in touch with Westgate Law, your trusted southern California bankruptcy attorneys.