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HOW TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY IN INDIANA

Many people need bankruptcy relief, but they do not know HOW to file for bankruptcy.   The simple knowledge of how to file bankruptcy can almost instantly release you from the most impossible debt situation.   Our office explains how to file for bankruptcy all the time to our clients in the Indianapolis area.  Our office files bankruptcy cases for people all over Indiana. Let’s talk about how to file for bankruptcy.

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Discovering How to File for Bankruptcy:  Ask an Attorney

The first thing to know about how to file for bankruptcy is simple: find a reliable and affordable bankruptcy attorney.   Bankruptcy –whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 – is complex.   Your life will be infinitely easier in discovering how to file for bankruptcy by having a reliable attorney guide you through the process.  Contact one that is friendly and reliable: one who will show you how to file for bankruptcy in the consultation for free.

The easiest way (of course) to learn how to file for bankruptcy is to just stick with the attorney (if the attorney is affordable and you trust them).  They will teach you the entire process and will guide you through the complex parts (such as bankruptcy planning, drafting the petition, filing the case, and protecting your income and assets).  This hands down is the best method for how to file for bankruptcy in Indianapolis.   This is the most common way how people file bankruptcy in Indiana.

How To File for Bankruptcy in Indianapolis: The Process

Although contacting a bankruptcy attorney is the easiest and most safe way of understanding how to file bankruptcy in Indianapolis, we still want to discuss here the entire process of how to file for bankruptcy in Indiana.  This will familiarize you with what the process entails.

The “How to file for Bankruptcy” Process Part One: Making the Plan

Making a “plan” is the very important first step in how to file for bankruptcy.   This is usually accomplished always with the aid of an attorney because it requires extensive legal knowledge and advice (especially if you have any assets or higher income).   You need to make a plan to file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 (sometime Chapter 11 for extensive businesses) – or to do some non-bankruptcy option instead.

In making the plan on how to file for bankruptcy, you need to consider things such as if you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.   You must also analyze if you will lose any assets when you file or how much your monthly payment would be if you file Chapter 13.  You must also analyze if you goals can be achieved by filing the bankruptcy case (such as keeping a house or car).

This process of analyzing what it the best plan for how to file for bankruptcy can become VERY complex, and all of the details of making a bankruptcy plan cannot be covered here by any means.  What we do want to cover here is that you must ALWAYS MAKE A PLAN before filing for bankruptcy or you could very likely “lose out big.”  This “lose out big” potential can greatly exceed the cost of hiring a bankruptcy attorney.  Be careful.  We strongly advise that your bankruptcy plan be made with a bankruptcy attorney.  Whatever way you go about it, you will still need a solid, researched plan or you will VERY likely lose something or be in some danger when you file the bankruptcy case.

The “How to File for Bankruptcy” Process Part Two: Filing the Case

After you make a bankruptcy plan, you need to gear up toward filing your bankruptcy case.  This is the literal “how to file for bankruptcy” part.  It consists of four basic parts: assembling documents, taking the bankruptcy “class,” creating your bankruptcy petition, and filing the bankruptcy petition with the court.   Our office will guide you through the below process of filing for bankruptcy:

First, assemble the several required documents required to file for bankruptcy.   Your bankruptcy case will usually require several documents such as:  tax returns, bank statements, paycheck stubs, lawsuits, your creditors, and information about your house and cars.   These documents are required for three separate reasons: 1) to find the information required to draft your petition, 2) to file directly with the court as required, and 3) to send to the Trustee who will be assigned to review your case.

Second, take the first bankruptcy “class” before you file your bankruptcy case.  You will be required to take the Credit Counseling class that usually costs between $10 to $50.  The class takes only one hour to complete.  It can be completed over the phone or through the internet.   The class discusses different options you have instead of filing bankruptcy.  This class is required to be taken BEFORE your bankruptcy case is filed.  It is required by the US Congress’s 2005 law change to the US Bankruptcy Code.   After you take the class, you will be given a certificate that you must file with the bankruptcy court the same time that you file your bankruptcy case.

The third step in how to file bankruptcy is to draft the bankruptcy petition.  All required schedules and statements in the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition will need to be filled out truthfully and accurately.  You must list all of your assets and all your debts.  If you are filing Chapter 13, a Chapter 13 Plan that proposes how you will treat the debts during your repayment plan must also be filed.  After the petition is finished, it must be read and reviewed to be certain that it is complete and accurate.  The petition and all required documents must then be signed.

Fourth, the bankruptcy petition and all other required documents must be filed with the bankruptcy court.  For most of central Indiana, the proper bankruptcy court is located in the Federal Courthouse at 46 East Ohio Street in downtown Indianapolis.  Our office also works with the other bankruptcy courts located in the North District of Indiana and the other South District Indiana Divisions.   These documents can be electronically filed by your bankruptcy attorney.  All other parties are usually required to deliver documents to the bankruptcy court directly or through mail.  The $335 or $310 court costs required by Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 respectively are also required to be paid to the court at the time the bankruptcy case is filed.

“How To File for Bankruptcy” What Happens Afterward?

Even though at this point, we have technically already answered the question “how to file for bankruptcy,” it is important to explain the rest of the required bankruptcy process.

There are at least three more required elements to finish your bankruptcy case after it is filed: 1) Take the second required class, 2) Attend the bankruptcy meeting, and 3) Turn over all required or requested items to your bankruptcy trustee both before the bankruptcy meeting and after the bankruptcy meeting.

First, you must take your second bankruptcy class called the “Financial Management” class.   You must ensure that the course is also properly filed with the court.  Failure to do so will result in your case being closed without a discharge with a high reopening fee to correct the problem.

Second, you must attend the bankruptcy meeting.  You are required to bring your driver’s license and social security cards to the meeting.   In Indiana, you must also bring your two most recent paycheck stubs and make sure to bring all of your bank statements up to the date the case was filed.   These are some of the requirements for Indiana’s bankruptcy meetings.   You will be asked a series of questions about your finances: your attorney will be with you and guide you through the process.  Usually no creditors attend the meeting.  This meeting is also referred to as the “Meeting of Creditors” or the “341 hearing” because of how the meeting is described by the bankruptcy code.   You will not be required to come in front of a judge: a bankruptcy trustee is instead automatically assigned to your case who will review your financial matters and question you at the meeting.

Third, you must provide all appropriate documents to the Trustee assigned to your case at least 10 days before you attend the bankruptcy meeting.   The required documents that you must turn into the bankruptcy trustee can usually be found in the Uniform Document Production list required for your bankruptcy district and division.

You must usually provide your last year’s tax return (1040, IT-40, W2’s and all attachments) and three months bank statements going backward in time from the date your bankruptcy case was filed.  There are also other requirements such as the mortgage, note, and deed for your home or an appraisal or other evidence of the value of your home.   Each district and trustee may have small variations in what they require for the meeting: you must satisfy all document requirements for your bankruptcy division and also any specific documents requested by the bankruptcy trustee.

In addition, many times the bankruptcy trustee will require additional documents after the bankruptcy meeting.   All requests for documents or assets must be turned over to the trustee or he/she can later revoke your discharge of debts, which could be worse than if you never filed bankruptcy at all.  You must comply with all request of the bankruptcy trustee to make your bankruptcy work!

If you have filed a Chapter 13 (or sometimes Chapter 11) case, then there are much more requirements: there is usually a plan that requires you to pay a portion of your debt back to the creditors.   These payments must be made and you must go through the process of having your plan approved by the bankruptcy trustee and bankruptcy court.

How to File Bankruptcy: The Conclusion

Bankruptcy is a detailed process that can be compared in complexity to “Filing your Federal Tax Returns x 25.”  Unless you have an (1) have an extremely simple situation, (2) are VERY good at legal and government paperwork, (3) absolutely have no source of income – then it is ALWAYS without exception EXTREMELY easier and probably more affordable in the long run to just hire an reliable attorney to do it for you.   Various areas of bankruptcy law are not easy to understand: this can play out to create serious, costly, and time consuming problems when doing a case on your own.   Although we attempt to explain How to File Bankruptcy in Indiana here, we recommend that you use this to UNDERSTAND the process and then hire an affordable, friendly bankruptcy attorney office such as our office.  We can help you get through the process!

 

John and Natalie Bymaster

We can Help you both Understand and Get Through the Bankruptcy Process. If you want to know HOW TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY, give us a Call! – Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorney John Bymaster