How To File Bankruptcy for Free in California – Upsolve

Filing bankruptcy seems like a bit of a catch-22. You don ’ t have money to pay your bills, yet it takes money to file bankruptcy. But if you ’ ra uncoerced to file without the help of an lawyer, you can save a lot of money – if your case is simple. Bankruptcy attorneys tend to be the most expensive cost of bankruptcy. The postdate steps will walk you through how to file a bankruptcy on your own .

Collect Your California Bankruptcy Documents

much of the data the court needs to process your bankruptcy prayer will come from the bankruptcy forms you fill out. You ’ ll indigence to look back at some of your fiscal documents to get the data for these forms. You ’ ll besides need to gather extra documents to submit to the bankruptcy trustee during the bankruptcy march. The following are documents you ’ ll need at some point during the bankruptcy process, even if you hire an lawyer :

The follow is a list of early documents that are helpful to have during the bankruptcy proceeding :

  • Bank statements from the by 6-12 months. These can help you calculate your current know expenses .
  • Bills and statements from creditors and lenders .
  • Any letters from collection agencies or other third-party debt collectors .
  • Your credit report. Federal jurisprudence entitles you to one exempt credit report each class from each of the three consumer credit report agencies ( Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion ) .

In addition to keeping an eye on your credit rating, credit reports will help you identify your debts and creditors. If you use Upsolve ’ s exempt charge cock to file your chapter 7 bankruptcy, it will pull your credit report for you .

Take a Credit Counseling Course

The Bankruptcy Code requires that you complete a recognition counseling course 180 days before you declare bankruptcy to the woo. The aim of this class is to inform you of other debt-relief options that are available. This classify international relations and security network ’ thymine complimentary, but it shouldn ’ thyroxine monetary value more than $ 50. If you shop approximately, you can much find a class that ’ s approved for California for less than that. In some cases, you can get a tip release and take the credit rating counseling course at no monetary value to you. You ’ ll see that most of these classes can be completed remotely, either over the internet or by telephone. When you ’ re done with your class ( which should only take a few hours ), you ’ ll get a certificate of completion. You ’ ll put in this certificate to the court along with your other bankruptcy forms .

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

Most of the forms you ’ ll want to file bankruptcy are the same forms everyone else uses to file bankruptcy in the U.S. You can get these for free as fillable PDFs from the United States Courts web site. There are besides some local forms that are specific to the California zone ( Northern, Eastern, Central, or Southern ) where you file your bankruptcy request. If you ’ ve hired an lawyer to handle your bankruptcy, you probably won ’ t need to complete these forms yourself. rather, you ’ ll probably hand over documents and fill out a questionnaire for your lawyer. They will then fill out these forms for you. If you use Upsolve to file your bankruptcy, then you ’ ll complete an on-line questionnaire and Upsolve ’ south software will generate your bankruptcy forms based on the information you gave .

Get Your Filing Fee

When you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to pay a fee of $ 338 .But if your income is less than 150 % of the federal income poverty guidelines, then you qualify to apply for a fee release. To see what these guidelines are, you can scroll down to the California Fee Waiver Eligibility table below. If you don ’ triiodothyronine qualify for the tip release and can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate afford to pay the $ 338 filing fee, you have another choice : enforce to the court to pay your filing fee in four installments within 120 days of filing bankruptcy. Taking advantage of the installation payment plan is best for situations where you need to file bankruptcy american samoa promptly as possible to make use of the automatic rifle stay. You might need to do this if you ’ re dealing with engage garnishment. But if you can wait to file, it ’ south normally a better idea to forgo paying the filing fee in installments. This way you don ’ t hazard the court throwing out your case because of a miss requital .

many individuals choosing to represent themselves in their bankruptcy matter will be filing their bankruptcy forms in person or by mail. This means printing out hard copies of the completed bankruptcy forms. If you have access to a computer and printer, this shouldn ’ thymine be a major issue. If you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate have access, you ’ ll want to find a library, imitate shop, shipping store, or office supply store that can print the forms for you ( much for a fee ). Regardless of where you print your forms, keep the follow requirements in mind :

If possible, print out two copies of your completed bankruptcy forms. Having a moment copy for your records may come in handy. besides, many of the bankruptcy forms look the like or consist of multiple pages. so use a checklist to double-check your packet of forms to ensure they ’ re all there, in the proper order, and you signed all the necessary pages. If you use Upsolve ’ second filing excessively to prepare your forms, you ’ ll get your bankruptcy documents electronically with limited dividers that tell you where you need to sign. If you ’ ve hired an lawyer, they ’ ll most probable print out the forms for you or file your documents electronically. This means you don ’ t need to print them unless you want a copy for your records .

File Your Forms With the California Bankruptcy Court

California is divided into four districts. Each district has its own file rules for individuals handling their bankruptcy cases without an lawyer. In all districts, individuals can file by mail or in person. You can go yourself or have person else drop off your forms for you. besides, the Central, Southern, and Eastern Districts permit individuals filing on their own to electronically file some or all of their bankruptcy forms. Each district may besides have limited rules in place for filing court documents during the coronavirus pandemic. These rules are constantly changing, so it ’ south best to check with the COVID-19 web page of the Northern, Central, Southern, and Eastern Districts to check for the most up-to-date news about court operations .

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

Filing bankruptcy is the hardest part, but there ’ s calm a little sting of work to do after your forms get filed. For exercise, you ’ ll catch assigned a bankruptcy regent, which is an autonomous party to the casing. The regent ’ s job is to help ensure the information you ’ ve provided is accurate and that creditors get paid from the sale proceeds of any non-exempt property. To help accomplish these tasks, you ’ ll need to send your regent certain fiscal documents at least seven days before your 341 creditors ’ merging. These documents include :

  • Bank statements for any bank account you had open when you filed for bankruptcy. These statements must cover a time menstruation that includes the date you filed bankruptcy .
  • Your two most holocene federal income tax returns .

If you ’ rhenium not certain what to send or who to send it to, don ’ t concern. You ’ ll most likely get a letter from your regent explaining who they are and what they need from you .

Take a Debtor Education Course

To be eligible for bankruptcy discharge of your debts, you ’ ll indigence to take a second fiscal course that covers personal fiscal management topics. There ’ randomness some tractability in when you must take this class, but you must finish it within 60 days of the 341 creditors ’ meet. If you fail to do indeed, the court could close your case without discharging any of your debts. many organizations offer this class, but you ’ ll need to complete it from an approve supplier. once your class is done, you ’ ll receive a certificate of completion. Depending on how the run provider operates, they ’ ll either file this certificate with the court for you or have you do it yourself .

Attend Your 341 Meeting

For most filers, the 341 meet ( besides known as a 341 creditors ’ meet or touch of creditors ) will be the entirely time you need to go to court. That said, presently all courts are holding these meetings virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most in-person 341 meetings take place in a meet room in front of your trustee with you and sometimes your creditors present. The purpose of this meet is to let the regent and creditors ask you questions. But most of the clock, creditors won ’ thyroxine serve this suffer, so it ’ ll precisely be the trustee asking you questions about your encase and finances. This might seem intimidating, but it shouldn ’ thyroxine be. a long as you ’ ve been honest on your bankruptcy forms and you answer the regent truthfully, you should get through the 341 meet without topic. To help make this suffer go according to plan, it might help to prepare for your 341 meet. You besides need to bring acceptable forms of recognition and proof of your Social Security issue. You ’ ll be done with your 341 confluence before you realize and ready for the adjacent step in the bankruptcy process .

Dealing with Your Car

If you want to keep your car, California has exemptions in identify that make it possible for most people to keep their car during bankruptcy. But even with applicable exemptions, how bankruptcy jurisprudence deals with your car will largely depend on whether you want to keep it and how a lot it ’ mho deserving. If your vehicle has a rent and you want to keep it, you ’ ll need to continue making your rent payments. You ’ ll besides need to inform the court of your decision with a argument of Intentions. If you don ’ metric ton want the leased vehicle anymore, then the terms and procedures for returning your vehicle will depend on what your lease agreement says. If your vehicle is paid off, then you can keep it adenine long as its honest market value is less than the exemption provided for personal vehicles under California police, which is $ 3,525, plus any available wildcard exemption. If you ’ re still paying on a car loanword and you have positive equity — meaning your cable car is worth more than you owe on it — you can keep it ampere retentive as you stay current with your monthly payments and its equity is less than the available exemption.

If your vehicle is subject to a car lend, but its measure is less than what you owe on it ( it ’ randomness “ subaqueous ” ), then you can surrender it if you don ’ metric ton want it anymore. Surrendering lets you get rid of the fomite along with its outstanding loan balance. This is a dependable set about if you can ’ metric ton afford your current vehicle during bankruptcy, but you have plans to buy another one after your bankruptcy is over. If you still want your subaqueous vehicle, then you can enter into a reassertion agreement. This requires you to continue making your monthly car lend payments. ultimately, you can redeem your vehicle. This lets you keep your vehicle by letting you purchase it for clean market respect alternatively of paying off the remaining proportion on your car loan. This makes it possible to own your fomite outright for less than what you ’ d have to pay for the car lend. The catch is that redeeming your vehicle requires you to pay for the vehicle in one hunk summarize .

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