|How to file Bankruptcy without an attorney
You are a good candidate for Bankruptcy if you can't pay back most or all of your
unsecured debts in three to five years.
Many people ask, "can I file Bankruptcy without an attorney. The answer is absolutely. Should You file
Bankruptcy and if so, which chapter should you file. This can only be answered by you. I will say it is in
most cases very easy to decide which chapter you should file once you understand what the difference is
between them. Filing Bankruptcy without an attorney is called (Pro Se) Over half of the Bankruptcy's filled
in the US do so on their own without the help of an attorney.
Very simply, filing Bankruptcy involves filling out files called schedules, making a list of all your creditors
called a creditor matrix, going to a meeting of creditors (aka 341 Meeting) which is scheduled 3-4 weeks
later. This person at the meeting of the creditors is not a judge but a trustee who is in charge of your case.
Once everything is approved you will receive your Bankruptcy discharge in about three months from the
filing date. In most cases you will not even appear before a judge.
The majority of people who file for bankruptcy opt for Chapter 7, which wipes out most unsecured debts.
(Unsecured debts are those that aren't linked to specific property, such as a car or a house. So your
mortgage is a secured debt: your credit card bills are unsecured.)
Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can mean you have to give up some of your assets (property or cash) to pay
your creditors. In reality, most Chapter 7 filers aren't required to give up anything, either because they don't
have any assets or because the property they have is "exempt" or protected from creditors. In my state you
are allowed up to $30,000 in exemptions. This is the amount of money your personal items are worth today
which is not the purchase price. You can always go to Ebay and type your item in if your not sure of it's
current price on today's market. The exemptions vary by state, and normally include household furnishings,
clothing, tools you need to work, retirement accounts, and some-or all-of the equity in your home.
If you want to keep property that isn't exempt, you can still file for bankruptcy, but you typically must choose
Chapter 13. Chapter 13 requires debtors to come up with a plan to repay all, or most , of their debts within
five years. If they successfully complete their plan, they're allowed to keep their property while having any
remaining debts erased. Unfortunately, most people fail to complete their Chapter 13 plans, and their cases
are either dismissed, allowing creditors to resume collection activities, or converted to Chapter 7's.
A bankruptcy filing can make sense if any of the following apply:
You can't pay back most or all of your unsecured debts in three to five years.
You don't have much equity in a home or vehicle or much other property to speak of.
You do have considerable equity in a home or vehicle or other valuables that wouldn't be exempt in
bankruptcy-jewels: family heirlooms: valuable artwork or collections: or stocks, bonds, and cash held
outside a retirement plan-but you're willing to agree to a Chapter 13 repayment plan rather than a Chapter 7
Bankruptcy might not make sense if any of these apply:
You could repay your debts within five years.
Most of your debts are the kind that can't be wiped out. Debts that typically can't be erased including
student loans, child support, and recent taes. You might still decide to file so you can free up more money
for those debts, but the disadvantages of filing might well overwhelm the advantages.
You defrauded your creditors by hiding assets, say, or lying about your income or debts on a credit
You recently ran up large debts buying luxuries, which can include vacations and entertainment. If you ran
up the bills and then lost your job, you might be able to file for bankruptcy on other debts, but the luxury
debts might not be wiped out.
You want to file a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy and received a discharge for a previous bankruptcy filing
within the past six years. (You can file for a Chapter 13 repayment plan bankruptcy at any time.)
You're reluctant to leave a coborrower solely responsible for a debt. A bankruptcy filing can wipe out your
legal obligation to repay a loan, but creditors can still go after the cosigner or joint borrower.
Making the decision to file isn't an easy one, and you'd be smart to get help form an expert if your case is
Get Into The Right Frame of Mind Next
You can really do this! This will take some time and you will need to do additional
research online to understand everything and to get answers to question you may have,
but again you can do this. Even if you go to an attorney, you will still have lots of papers to
fill out. If you do file (Pro Se), the courts and trustee realize that you are not an attorney
and will give you additional understanding and leeway in your case. The clerk, court, and
trustee will help you in any way they can. They won't bite and they are not out to hurt you.
The trustee has two main functions. They will look at your papers and check to see if there
is any funds to pay the creditors and they will also look for fraud. If you simply got behind
in paying your bills, you should have nothing to worry about.
In this next part, I will walk you through the basic requirements for filing for a typical
Chapter 7 bankruptcy which is the most popular chapter to file for. Keep in mind that
some rules and requirements are different according to state so you will need to do a little
homework to check on a few things such as your exemptions in your state. Most people
who file Pro Se make it through without any problems.
Here is some good news! In my state it only cost $335.00 to file for a chapter 7
bankruptcy. You can also request paying this fee in installment payments of $84.00 a
month for 4 months as well. This varies from state to state so you will need to check on
what you can do in your state. All you really need is some time and patience and you will
get through this. When all is said and done, your debts will be wiped out and you will be
What you need to get started
The very first thing you will need to do to get started is to get in your car and head out to
Wal-Mart or your local office supply store. You will need to purchase a box of 100 file
folders, One ream of 500 count copy paper, a portable storage box, a thick black marker,
a notebook with paper, and a printer with three in one scanner, printer and fax. If you don't
have one, I recommend one of two printers, the Epson WorkForce All-In-One 2630
Printer/Copier/Scanner/Fax Machine for $62.50 or the Epson WorkForce WF-3640
All-in-One Printer/Copier/Scanner/Fax Machinefor $99.99. You will also need one extra
black ink cartridge for the printer as well. All items mentioned above are sold at
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