Can I File For Bankruptcy Online In 2021
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In a Nutshell
When you are hit by a sudden financial shock and need a fresh start, you naturally ask – can I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy online? In this article, weâll explain the different options for filing for bankruptcy online and the pros and cons of each.
Written by Attorney John Coble. Reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
You live a lot of your life online. You do your taxes online with Turbotax and diagnose medical problems online with WebMD. If you’re facing a wage garnishment or repossession, youâre probably wondering if you can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy online. The answer is, âmostly, yes.â
The Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy process involves
filing them with the bankruptcy court, and
attending a â341 meetingâ with the official overseeing your case.
Talking To A Lit About Your Situation
One of the first things youll do when you talk with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee is to talk about all of the options available to you, depending on your financial situation.
A LIT will assess your situation and talk to you about the best ways to get out of debt.
The main purpose of your initial consultation with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee will be for them to make a recommendation for you.
In some cases, that includes filing for bankruptcy.
But, keep in mind that a LIT never automatically assumes bankruptcy will be the best option.
Even if you cant meet in person, they will go over your finances and determine the most practical solution for getting you out of debt as soon as possible.
It is not a cookie-cutter process, and its different for everyone.
Some of the potential options a LIT can present to you include:
- Debt consolidation loans depending on your income stability and assets.
- A consumer proposal if your debts do not exceed $250,000.
- A debt management/repayment plan.
If any of those options can be used, its more likely that a LIT will guide you through them, rather than help you to file for bankruptcy.
In most cases, bankruptcy is a last resort.
Can I File For Bankruptcy Online In Canada
Today, almost everything can be done online, whether you want to get food delivered to your home, buy new clothing, or even call an Uber car to your house.
The internet also contains a wealth of knowledge on thousands of different topics, including financial information. So, if youre struggling with debt or other financial problems, its always a good idea to look online for some tips or tricks that could help you.
Naturally, because of the ease of online access, some people, who struggle with debt and are considering bankruptcy as a solution, are curious to know if they can file for bankruptcy online. In an effort to help these people out, were going to discuss how to file for bankruptcy in Canada, as well as touch on some other debt options available to Canadian consumers.
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Is Bankruptcy Right For You
Before you start looking for Licensed Insolvency Trustees in Ontario, its a good idea to make sure that bankruptcy is your best option. Bankruptcy will have a significant negative impact on your credit. It will also become a public record.
If you can avoid bankruptcy, then its in your best interest to do so. Every debt solution has its benefits and drawbacks, so the right option depends on your financial situation.
Make sure to consider all the below alternatives to bankruptcy before you contact a trustee:
It can be helpful to talk to a trained professional who can assess your situation and offer an unbiased opinion on your best option to start your debt-free journey. Debt.ca can connect you with a trained debt relief specialist for a free initial consultation. Whether you need a credit counselling session or more information on bankruptcy, they can help you evaluate your debts, credit report and score, and budget to determine the optimal solution for your unique financial situation. A fresh start is a phone call away.
Do I Need A Lawyer To File Bankruptcy
This is where it gets tricky, but also is very important. The Central District of California in Los Angeles allows online filing for those filing without an attorney, and has since 2014. But the practice has not caught on nationally.
The U.S. Courts website says that you can file on your own, otherwise called pro se. But it cautions that filers must understand the rules and procedures in federal court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure as well as the local rules of the court where the case is filed.
Its not simple. Lieberman said that its almost impossible to file Chapter 13 without a lawyer, and judges and trustees generally discourage filing pro se in all circumstances.
Bankruptcy is federal law, Lieberman said. But every jurisdiction has local rules and all the rules are different. If a motion needs to be filed, that motion may be different in Ohio than it is in Kentucky.
Each case differs in details, and Lieberman said a consumer could be hurt by improper filing or not having the right information. He points out that non-federal students loans typically are excluded from bankruptcy, but a lawyer may be able to work out an arrangement.
He remembered a man who borrowed money to go to flight school, but had to give up piloting when a car accident left him impaired. An agreement was worked out between the attorney and filer.
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Filing Again With Bankruptcy Discharge
Different time limits and waiting periods apply to filing a second bankruptcy after your first filing was discharged successfully. The time frame is based on whether you first filed Chapter 7 or 13, and whether you plan to file Chapter 7 or 13 the second time.
The timing on the waiting period is based on the date you filed, not the date of discharge.
Speak With A Bankruptcy Attorney In Cary Nc
Realizing your personal finances cant be fixed without drastic steps is difficult. Filing bankruptcy pro se may feel like a smart financial choice, but dont make the mistake of trying to work through your bankruptcy on your own. It could end up costing you way more in the long run. Contact Sasser Law Firm instead.
Our three board-certified bankruptcy specialists are happy to discuss representation on cases that you think are straight forward and also cases that are difficult.
If you file and need to appeal an adverse decision, we may be willing to represent you on that fight as well. All initial consultations are with attorneys as opposed to a paralegal or legal assistant.
Were transparent about our fees, so you dont have to worry about hidden costs or unexpected bills. If you need to file for bankruptcy, our experienced bankruptcy lawyers can be valuable. Get in touch with us at Sasser Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. Were available in person and by phone.
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How Much Does It Cost To File Bankruptcy In Wisconsin
You may be able to pay bankruptcy filing fees in installments.
In Wisconsin in 2020 it costs $335 to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and $310 to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The cost to declare bankruptcy in Wisconsin is the same for an individual or a married couple. If you cant pay the filing fee all at once, the court may allow you to make installments.
Bankruptcy filing fees are completely non-refundable.
Errors or omissions on critical bankruptcy forms could lead to a loss of assets. You need professional advice!
You might wonder Why can’t I just file for bankruptcy myself?
Dont even think about it.
Filing for bankruptcy on your own is called pro se filing . This is absolutely not the best way to go about declaring bankruptcy. Learning how to file for bankruptcy in the State of Wisconsin, or anywhere else in the country, is not something you should be doing on the fly with the possibility of losing assets on the table.
Yes, you are well within your legal rights to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer. Legally speaking, there is no requirement for counseling from a personal bankruptcy lawyer. However, filing by yourself exposes you to serious risk of losing assets like your car or house, or having your case dismissed entirely.
What’s Required To File For Chapter 7
Bankruptcy laws can be tricky. There are rules and restrictions on who can file and what they need to do. Before you can qualify for bankruptcy, you’ll need to participate in a credit counseling briefing conducted by a qualified credit counselor. Additionally, before the court discharges your debts, you will need to enroll in a debtor education or financial management course.
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Filing Under The Wrong Chapter
You can file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13. Keep in mind that the processes are different for each chapter, so you need to be sure you choose the right one for you.
Under Chapter 7, the bankruptcy court will sell whatever you do not exempt. The proceeds are used to pay creditors. For Chapters 11 and 13, the court places you on a payment plan to repay your outstanding debts within three to five years.
Ensure you file under the right chapter to avoid rejection of your petition.
Bankruptcy Court Filing Fees
The bankruptcy court charges a fee when you file your paperwork. If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the court to waive it if:
- you’re filing a Chapter 7 case
- you’re an individual , and
- your family income is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines.
If you can pay over time, you can ask to pay the filing fee in installments over 120 days, instead. The clerk’s office of your local bankruptcy court can show you how to make either request.
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How Much Bankruptcy Costs And How To Pay For It
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Its a classic catch-22: Youre in rough financial shape and need to file for bankruptcy. But between filing fees and the cost of hiring the right bankruptcy attorney, you could end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to do so.
Heres what bankruptcy costs and how to pay for it.
Whats The Difference Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
The major difference is time Chapter 7 takes 4-6 months Chapter 13 takes 3-5 years and money. You can have most, or all your unsecured debt discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In Chapter 13, some of your debt is forgiven, but only if you meet the conditions approved by the trustee and bankruptcy judge.
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What Happens Once You File For Bankruptcy
Once your bankruptcy is filed, there is an immediate stay of proceedings. This means that unsecured creditors cannot begin or continue lawsuits, wage garnishees, or even contact you to request payment.
Within five days of the bankruptcy starting the trustee will send a copy of the bankruptcy paperwork to creditors, so they can file a claim.
The trustee will file outstanding tax returns up to the date of bankruptcy. Any outstanding taxes or penalties owed CRA will be included.
You will have certain obligations that you will have to fulfill including a monthly income statement and attending credit counselling sessions.
- Filing bankruptcy immediately halts most creditors from taking your wages.
- Your Trustee will deal with your unsecured creditors on your behalf.
What Do You Have To Do During Bankruptcy
Once your documents are filed, the work isnt necessarily over.
Even though you may not have to do anything in person, there are tasks that need to be completed digitally.
One of the useful things about our current technology is that it allows you to make electronic payments.
Some LITs can arrange payment schedules for you to fit your income and financial needs.
With a few little clicks, you can digitally manage your payments without having to go anywhere.
In addition to making your payments online , youll have to attend two credit counseling sessions throughout the bankruptcy process.
These can also be done online via video conferencing.
One of the benefits of being able to attend online is that you can find a time that works with your schedule, and attend from the comfort of your own home.
On rare occasions, filing for bankruptcy may require you to attend creditors meetings.
Again, thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, those meetings will likely take place via a video conference.
However, that will likely change back to in-person meetings in the future.
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What Is The Cost To File Bankruptcy Online
The fees for filing bankruptcy online are the same as if you filed at the courthouse, unless you use one of the online vendors that charge a separate fee for their platform to fill out forms. Even then, you still have to print off the forms, bring them to the courthouse and pay a filing fee.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy fees total $335, which breaks down to $245 filing fee $75 administrative fee and $15 trustee surcharge. If you have to re-open a Chapter 7 filing, its an additional $260.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy fees are $310 with $235 going for filing and $75 for administrative costs. If you have to re-open a Chapter 13 filing, the fee is $235. If you have to convert from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, the fee is $25.
Why Consumers Cant File Bankruptcy Cases Online
As mentioned, this could change as quickly as the summer of 2018, but the current case management system used by courthouses is extremely complex.
The filing must be coded in such a way that it creates a docket entry and places the paperwork where it needs to be. If the filing is coded incorrectly, it could tangle up the court system and/or cause the consumer to have their case dismissed for any number of mistakes.
There also is the matter of the communication channels and timing necessary if the bankruptcy judge has questions or wants additional information regarding the case. Who performs quality control to make sure that problems are corrected and the flow of cases is not interrupted because one party or the other didnt show up?
Those are just some of the problems programmers are trying to solve as they update the U.S. Court systems current software. Its why bankruptcy experts suggest that individuals not registered with the system are better served filing papers at the courthouse themselves and allowing the clerks there to code it correctly.
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Bankruptcy Blunders: Mistakes To Avoid When Filing Bankruptcy
If you are facing a critical financial situation, and if nothing else works to restore your financial health but you have the option of filing bankruptcy, it is okay to go for it. However, remember to take a careful approach and avoid any mistakes that can derail the process of filing bankruptcy. Here are some of the common mistakes one should avoid when filing for bankruptcy. ~ Ed.
Life-changing events such as illness, loss of a job, and divorce can push an individual to their breaking point, especially in terms of finances. In the context of business bankruptcy, wrong turns and unexpected bumps in the road can have similarly dire consequences.If your businesss finances have gone up in flames, retracing your steps and identifying the root cause of this financial fire is an essential step. For some business owners, the weight of external forces like a bearish market, unraveling consumer confidence, shifting customer preferences reaches crushing levels.
In other cases, internal missteps, such as tacking on loads of debt, poor decision-making or questionable management skills will leave entrepreneurs stumbling down the road to bankruptcy.Whatever has sent your bottom line in smoke, remember that financial ruin is much closer than it may appear. While there are many options to turn to when trying to restore your financial health, sometimes bankruptcy is the only way out of sky-high debts.
S To Filing Bankruptcy In Canada
There are 5 basic steps to filing bankruptcy with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in Canada:
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Make Sure You Are Eligible
There are qualifying standards that must be met before you can file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and it makes sense to do research to see what form of bankruptcy you are eligible for.
To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an individual must pass a means test that determines if their income is at or below the median income for their state. If not, they may have to file additional paperwork or switch to Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
To be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an individuals unsecured debt must be less than $419,275 and secured debts of less than $1,257,850.