I am often asked how long a “typical” Chapter 7 case will last after filing. What most people mean by a “typical case” is a “no-asset” case, or a case in which there are no assets for the Chapter 7 Trustee to distribute to unsecured creditors. Most cases are “no-asset” cases, and if your case happens to fall into this definition, then you will likely receive a discharge within 120 days of filing.
A few weeks after filing your petition, you will have to attend a meeting of creditors in which the Chapter 7 Trustee will verify the accuracy of your bankruptcy schedules and determine if there are any assets to liquidate for the benefit of unsecured creditors. In most cases, this meeting will last 5-10 minutes and the Trustee will shortly thereafter file his “Report of No Distribution”. If the Chapter 7 Trustee finds any errors or omissions in your bankruptcy documents filed with the court, he or she will hold the case open as long as it takes to verify each piece of information. The key to receiving a quick discharge and case closure is to hire a competent attorney to help you file Chapter 7 and appear at the meeting of creditors with you to ensure everything goes smoothly. Also, attempting to hide anything from the Trustee is a recipe for disaster and will only open the door to litigation and extra time spent in the bankruptcy process.