I just received my chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. Is my case done?

Kind of, but not really.

As for done-ness, your credit starts to rebound once you get the discharge. Your debts have been discharged, and you’ve gotten the relief you were seeking in bankruptcy. As far as your debt is concerned, yes, you are done.

As for being fully done, no. The bk trustee still has to administer the estate. Now what does this mean? I had a client ask me recently, and here’s what I told her:

Yes and no. (ha, I love lawyer answers).
You will get your discharge on October 27, and at that point your credit will start to rebound. However, the bk trustee will keep his half of the case open to see if your tax refunds are large enough for him to take. Once he determines that, he will either take the refund, or abandon it, and then the case closes out.

You can look at the end of your bankruptcy case has having two distinct parts: 1. the discharge, and 2. the trustee’s final report.

  1. the discharge — You receive your discharge about 3 months after you file.
  2. trustee’s final report — the bk trustee needs to determine if you have any assets worth taking (that aren’t exempt), like upcoming tax refunds, too much equity in your home, or too much equity in one of your cars. If there is enough there (usually at least $2,000 worth), then the bk trustee will take those assets and pay out a small percentage to each of your creditors.

The real problem comes down to timing. You get your discharge 3 months after you file. The final report may not close out your case until 2 years after you file. Yes, 2 years.

There is NO good way to tell the bk trustee to hurry up. Here’s a fun story about my feeble attempt: I reminded the trustee in an email that he had been sitting on my client’s tax refund for almost 3 months. He sent me a very unfriendly email, laced with expletives no less, saying that he might keep the case open up to the 2 year mark just to teach me and my client a little patience. That was the last time I tried to gently remind a trustee to do his job.

Yes, some of your attorneys will say that you can file a motion to force the trustee to administer the estate or abandon it, but those attorneys like to pick unnecessary fights and anger the trustees for years to come.