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FAQs and Definitions of Common Legal Terms


You'll find some of the answers to often asked questions and general terms right here. 


Debtor is the term given to a person who filed either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.


Debtor Education Class is a mandatory class that must be taken within a certain time period after the filing of a bankruptcy.  This class is completed online, over the phone or in person.  The purpose of this class is to educate individuals about different types of debt and how to rebuild credit after filing bankruptcy, as well as provide useful tips on budgeting and saving money.


Discharge is a legal order, signed by the Judge in a bankruptcy case, which forgives all debt...with certain exceptions.  The most common exceptions are taxes, student loans, child support and alimony.  The discharge is issued once all the legal steps necessary to administer your case have been completed.


Credit Counseling Class is a mandatory class that can be taken either online, over the phone or in person.  This class is required to be taken prior to filing bankruptcy.  The purpose of this class is to educate clients in ways to avoid creating debt and to determine whether they can repay their debt through a debt management plan as opposed to filing bankruptcy.  A certificate will be issued proving the class is completed, and this certificate is then provided to the Bankruptcy Court.


Health Care Proxy is a legal document that names a health care agent to make health care decisions for one who legally unable to do so because because of an unexpected accident or a serious illness.  In addition, this health care agent is able to obtain information in one's medical records. 


Last Will and Testament (also called a Will) is the legal document which communicates what to do with the possessions (such as a home, car, bank accounts and so on) of someone who has died.  A will names a personal representative to handle the decedent’s estate.  It is his/her job to administer the estate, which means to pay any bills and to give the assets to whom they were directed.


Living Will is the legal document which accompanies a health care proxy.  Through the guidance noted in a living will, the health care agent is able to ensure the expressed desires of the patient are honored.  An example of such is the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order should a person not wish to be revived if there is something gravely wrong.


Notarization "Notarization is the official fraud-deterrent process that assures the parties of a transaction that a document is authentic, and can be trusted. It is a three-part process, performed by a Notary Public, that includes of vetting, certifying and record-keeping. Notarizations are sometimes referred to as "notarial acts."  Above all, notarization is the assurance by a duly appointed and impartial Notary Public that a document is authentic, that its signature is genuine, and that its signer acted without duress or intimidation, and intended the terms of the document to be in full force and effect."


For more detailed information, please visit The National Notary Association from where this definition was gathered.


Trust is a legal document in which property is held for the benefit of another person.  There are many types of trusts and it is important to determine what goals the client is looking to meet.  Often trusts are utilized in estate planning to protect assets from nursing homes or excessive taxation.


Trustee is the term given to the person appointed by the Department of Justice to either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case.  It is his or her job to administer the case, and part of that job is to examine the debtor at a 341 Meeting of Creditors in which a number of questions may be asked about the debtor's income, assets and expenses. 

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