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How to File Bankruptcy Yourself and Save Money


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TERMINOLOGY

If you have decided to file bankruptcy yourself, there are several tools available to assist you. Bankruptcy can be a tedious process and it will require background research. It can also be costly if you are using an attorney. If you are like most people, you do not have the money available to pay an attorney. However, by filing the documentation yourself, you can save yourself a lot of money. The first step is knowing which bankruptcy is applicable to you. The two types of bankruptcies are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to remove all debt. Any outstanding debt with the exception of child support, federal student loans, and delinquent taxes can be included in the filing of Chapter 7. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a structured repayment plan with all creditors. Chapter 13 allows for negotiation of payments.

Documents

For either type of bankruptcy, you will need to gather all financial documents. These documents include credit statements, mortgage papers, and car loan payments.  Once you have gathered all your financial documentation, a list should be created detailing all of the creditors. The list should include the creditor’s name, address, phone number, account number, and the outstanding balance. This list will serve as the reference point when filing forms with the courts. In addition, you should have a second list detailing expenses that would not be reported to the credit bureaus. Items such as daycare, groceries, and recreational expenses should be included on this list. Detailing expenditures that are not included in the bankruptcy will help when developing a budget.

Bankruptcy Forms

Once you have gathered all your financial documentation, you will need to find the correct bankruptcy forms to file. These can be located at the courthouse or on the internet. The bankruptcy forms will come with a set of instruction on how to fill out the forms. Pay close attention to the instructions. The instructions will tell you what can be included in the bankruptcy, what items are exempt, and any additional information that may need to be provided. Make sure that paperwork has all signatures and any acknowledgments, if necessary. Upon completion of the forms, you should make two copies of the paperwork for your files.

Filing

Now that you have managed to gather all your financial documentation and completed the paperwork, it is now time to file. At the time of filing, there will be a cost. The cost varies depending on the type of bankruptcy being filed. To determine how much you will have to pay for filing, contact your local bankruptcy court, or visit the website. The website should provide a detailed list of expenditures associated with filing bankruptcy documentation. You will be required to take a credit management course as part of the process. Remember, while there is a cost associated with filing bankruptcy paperwork, it is significantly less than what it would cost you for an attorney to handle the filing.