Bankruptcy Terms and Definitions

San Jose Bankruptcy Lawyer and Attorney

Bankruptcy laws have it’s own language and terminology.  We will try to provide a general explanation of words used in this site. Please consult with a bankruptcy lawyer for a specific explanation when applicable to your case. Our San Jose bankruptcy attorneys and debt relief lawyers will consult with you at no cost. Please contact the San Jose Bankruptcy & Debt Relief Law Office of Geoffrey Nwosu located in Silicon Valley, Bay Area at 408-912-5983 or www.nwosulaw.com for a confidential free consultation.

Automatic stay: Filing of a bankruptcy case automatically activates a court order which prohibits collection actions against the debtor, the debtor’s property or the property of the estate.

Avoidance: Avoidance sometimes called “lien stripping” permits an individual to eliminate and avoid liens that interfere with an exemption claimed in a bankruptcy case. This is possible with homes and cars when the mortgage liens, judgment liens and statutory liens is higher than the actual value of the property where the lien is attached.

Avoidance powers: Avoidance powers is the bankruptcy trustee or the debtor in possession rights under the bankruptcy code to recover certain transfers of property such as fraudulent transfers or to void liens created before the commencement of a bankruptcy case.

Bankruptcy Code: Bankruptcy Code governs bankruptcy proceedings. It includes the creation and operation of the bankruptcy courts.

Bankruptcy estate: Bankruptcy estate is all legal and equitable interests of the debtor as of the commencement of the bankruptcy case, except for most pensions and educational trusts.

Bankruptcy trustee: Bankruptcy trustee is an official appointed by the bankruptcy court to carry out bankruptcy task that includes reviewing the bankruptcy forms, to seize and sell nonexempt property in the bankruptcy estate. The role of the trustee is different under the different chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Chapter 7 filing also known as a liquidation proceeding is available to individuals, married couples, partnerships and corporations. Here, chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee sells the debtors nonexempt property and distributes the proceeds to the debtors creditors. The debtor receives bankruptcy discharge of all remaining debts at the end.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy: Chapter 11 filing is a reorganization proceeding in which the debtor may continue in business or in possession of its property as a fiduciary. When confirmed Chapter 11 plan provides a framework in which the claims of creditors will be repaid partly or fully.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Chapter 13 filing also known as reorganization is a consumer bankruptcy designed to help debtors reorganize their debts and repay of some or all of the debts out of future income over 3 to 5 years.

Collateral: Collateral is property pledged by the borrower as security for a loan. The general rule with respect to liens is “First in time, first in right.”

Confirmation: Bankruptcy confirmation is Judges ruling approving the terms of the plan for repayment of debts in a Chapter 11, or 13 binding. The terms of the confirmed plan governs the future payment.

Cramdown: Cram down of liens is the process reducing a secured debt to the replacement value of the collateral securing it in chapter 13 and chapter 11 bankruptcy.


Creditor: A creditor is an individual or organization to whom the debtor owes money or legal obligation.

Debtor: A debtor is the party who is liable for debts in a bankruptcy case.

Denial of discharge:   Denial of discharge is penalty for debtor misconduct with respect to the bankruptcy case. This may be a result of debtors fraudulent actions and the liquidation of assets and the recovery of avoidable transfers continues for the benefit of creditors or lenders.

Discharge: Bankruptcy discharge is court order issued at the end of chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy case that eliminates the debtors debts.

Dischargeable Debt: Debts that can be eliminated and wiped out at the end of a bankruptcy, unless the Judge decides that the debt is not dischargeable.

Dismissal: The termination of the case without either the entry of a discharge or a denial of discharge. Here, the bankruptcy court orders the bankruptcy case to be closed without providing the relief available under the bankruptcy laws.

Exempt: Exempt property is described by the federal and state laws that a debtor is entitled to keep in a chapter 7 bankruptcies

Exemptions: Federal and state exemptions are the lists of the kinds and values of property that is legally beyond the reach of creditors or the bankruptcy trustee. The bankruptcy trustee is not entitled to take and sell for the benefits of the unsecured creditors.

Federal exemptions: Federal exemptions are lists of exemptions contained in the federal bankruptcy code.

Fiduciary: one who is entrusted with duties on behalf of another.

Foreclosure: Foreclosure is the process by which a real estate lien creditor forces a sale of a property in order to collect on the lien.

Judgment Lien: A judgment lien is a lien created by the recording of a judgment against the debtors property.

Lien: An interest in real or personal property which secures a debt that must be paid before tirle to the property can be transferred.

Means Test: Means test is a formula which the bankruptcy court uses to determine whether a debtor is more than the median family income can file for chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Meeting of Creditors: Meeting of creditors is a meeting that debtor is required to attend in a bankruptcy case where both the creditors and the bankruptcy trustee may ask questions regarding the debtors assets and liabilities.

Non dischargeable: A debt that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy like students loan, child support, and some current taxes due.

Personal property: Property that is not real property, including tangible items like cars, stock, and furniture.

Petition bankruptcy: Bankruptcy petition is a document that initiates a bankruptcy case which is filed by the debtor asking for relief from debts.

Pre-petition: Claims or events arising before the commencement of the bankruptcy.

Reaffirmation: The debtor can decide to reaffirm or repay debts that would otherwise be discharged by the bankruptcy like car payment.

Relief from stay:  Request to lift the stay is a written request file in bankruptcy court by the creditor which seeks permission to continue collection activity against the debtor.

Secured debt: Secured debt is a debt secured by collateral. Secured creditor is the owner of the secured lien.

Unsecured:  A claim or debt is unsecured if there is no collateral that is security for the debt.  Most consumer debts are unsecured.

Wild Card exemption: California allows a dollar value amount that a debtor can apply to any property to make it exempt.

Further definitions are found in Section 101 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Looking for a free Bankruptcy help with a San Jose Santa Clara County Bankruptcy Attorney and California bay Area Bankruptcy Lawyer?

We are San Jose bankruptcy lawyers and California debt relief attorneys. A San Jose bankruptcy attorney and debt relief lawyer at our debt relief law office will speak to you for free about filing bankruptcy. We serve clients that are having financial difficulties paying their debts to eliminate their unpaid debts, wipe the debts off and start fresh. A bankruptcy lawyer at Nwosu bankruptcy law center will consult with you for free to evaluate your bankruptcy options. This discussion will cover consumer debts bankruptcy, personal bankruptcy, chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankruptcy, chapter 11 bankruptcy, business bankruptcy and non bankruptcy solution. We have assisted many clients in filing their bankruptcy petitions in Santa Clara County, Alameda County, and San Francisco County. Please contact the San Jose Bankruptcy Debt Relief Law Office of Geoffrey Nwosu located in Silicon Valley, Bay Area at 408-912-5983 or www.nwosulaw.com for a confidential free consultation.

The bankruptcy Law Office of Geoffrey Nwosu is located in San Jose Santa Clara County Bay Area Northern California. We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.


Our Bankruptcy & Personal Injury attorneys provide bankruptcy, personal injury accident services to Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Monterey County and Santa Cruz County areas including the cities of San Jose, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Salinas, Monterey Valley, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Campbell, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Oakland, Pleasanton, Antioch, Tracy, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Los Altos, East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City, and Santa Cruz

The information you obtain at this site is not intended to be legal advice nor to create an Attorney Client relatiomship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Please do not send any confidential information to us before establishing an attorney-client relationship. For a free case evaluation and consultation call 408-912-5983
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