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Your Bankruptcy Dictionary: Learn What the Most Important Terms Mean

There are many reasons that even thinking about filing for bankruptcy in California can feel overwhelming. The good news is that you have an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help you determine the right way forward. In the meantime, you can also read on to learn the definitions of some of the most commonly used terms in this business. If you have questions, contact The Law Offices of Paul Y. Lee at 888-748-0025 for answers.


This is the first paper that is filed in your bankruptcy case. The petition is the document that initiates the case. The petition is the document that invokes the automatic stay, which is the injunction that prevents creditors from collecting or foreclosing on your property.


Most of the papers that are filed after the petition is filed are schedules. They make up all the evidence in your bankruptcy case. Your attorney will assess your case to determine what schedules are required and will request the necessary documents and information from you.

Trustee / U.S. Trustee

A Trustee is a person whom the Department of Justice appoints to oversee your filing. They are there to represent your creditors not individually but as a whole. A United States Trustee, or U.S. Trustee, is an actual employee of the Department of Justice. Their job is to supervise trustees and monitor Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases without creditors committees.

Means Test

There is a form and formula used in consumer bankruptcy cases. It is known as the Means Test. The purpose of it was to determine if a person was really able to pay their creditors or if they should be allowed to file bankruptcy. It can be difficult to use and is just one of the reasons to work with a bankruptcy attorney.

Discharge / Dischargeable

Dischargeable debts are the debts that can be wiped out when you file bankruptcy. Discharge is the court order that makes it enforceable. Your non-dischargeable debts are any debts that are excluded from discharge according to the terms of the Bankruptcy Code. This includes things like most taxes, student loans, etc.


This is an agreement to waive the discharge of a particular debt. It is an agreement that requires court approval and that you should never consider without first talking to your experienced California bankruptcy attorney.

Free Consultation

This is what you get when you contact The Law Offices of Paul Y. Lee at 888-748-0025. We will listen to the basics of your story and help you understand if you are likely to be approved for bankruptcy. There is no charge for this initial call so call now with any questions you have.