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Can You Declare Bankruptcy Online?

Online Bankruptcy

Can you declare bankruptcy online? The answer is “yes” at least to some extent. You can do most of the process online even if you are declaring bankruptcy directly without an attorney. You can do this by reaching the forms and researching the locaton (which federal court office) in which you must declare your bankruptcy.

Declare Bankruptcy Online by These Federal Forms

There are online federal forms required for declaring bankruptcy. These online forms include an official request for bankruptcy (which is called a petition). They also include several other required documents such as schedules and statements. These documents help describe to the court your entire financial condition. You must fill out all of these forms which are available online. Then, you must submit them to your local federal bankruptcy court. You will also be required to take a bankruptcy course online that takes 1 hour. These federal forms can be accessed online here.

Declare Bankruptcy Online By Researching your Bankruptcy District

You must locate your bankrutpcy district and division online to see where to declare bankruptcy. You can do this first by going to the online district identifier provided by the U.S. Courts. This will be a good start to see which local office you must file for bankruptcy. Here is the Bankruptcy District link:  https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/federal-courts-public/court-website-links

Once you have determined your district and division for your area online, you can usually call the local clerk of courts. You can call the clerks office through their number listed online. Every district will have its own website with contact area for each division office. By calling, you can make sure that you are declaring bankruptcy in the proper jurisdiciton. To declare bankruptcy, it would be best to drop off your bankruptcy request in person, complete with all the proper documents and schedules. Remember, you will need to also bring a $335 money order for your court costs and have already completed the first bankruptcy class. The class provider will provide you a certificate proving that you have already taken the class.

Declare Bankruptcy Online Easier Through an Attorney

Only bankruptcy attorneys usually have full access to online bankruptcy filing. Most bankruptcy attorneys declare bankruptcy online for their clients on a regular basis. The attorney will do your entire bankruptcy online much safer and more thoroughly than you can do by yourself. For a full discussion of why it is a good idea to hire an attorney to declare your bankruptcy online, please read this Federal Bankruptcy Court article.

If you are a resident of Indiana, contact Bymaster Bankruptcy Law Offices to set up a free initial consultation.  

 

$500 Bankruptcy

$500 Bankruptcy

Have you heard the popular advertisement for $500 bankruptcy? These advertisements usually have more truth and substance behind them than $0 or $200 bankruptcy and similar ads. What are you actually getting for these $500 bankruptcy offers? The answer may surprise you.

$500 Bankruptcy May Only Be Partially Accurate

When you hear an advertisement for $500 bankruptcy, you need to look into the reality behind the offer. Many times these offers are simpy inaccurate. At best, they may only be telling you part of the information or cost.

For instance, some discount, high volume bankruptcy firms may offer a $500 discount bankruptcy. However, this price will rarely if ever cover the $335 court costs. It also may not cover hidden charges for credit reports and required classes. To make matters worse, sometimes this rate will only apply to certain limited customers. It may only apply to filers who are only on social security or minimal income. It may also not apply to those who have car loans or real estate. Essentially, it may be very likely that they are advertising a $500 bankruptcy for the most basic cases only with and abudance of many hidden charges waiting!

Be careful and examine the entire situation, reputation of the firm, and the costs required before making any appointment. Surpisingly, you may get a better price and service at a firm advertising $800 to $1200 because these prices are low but still very possble for a firm to charge with no hidden charges. A real (including the $335 court cost) $500 bankrputcy price would only give the lawfirm $165 per case for their extensive hours of legal work! This price is simply too low to be possible. The only exception would possibly be a pro-bono, non-profit charity organization (someone who would be doing the work mostly for free!).

$500 Bankruptcy May Not Be Accurate at All

Many times a $500 bankruptcy advertisement is not accurate at all. Many firms will charge this amount (or more) only for a Chapter 13 case. Chapter 13 cases always require a $310 for the court cost. However, there are likely approximately $4000 in fees total for these cases that will be paid through your bankrupty plan. This $4000 approximate amount is court-set in many U.S. districts, resulting in most places ulitmately charging about the same amount for the 3-5 year representation required for a Chapter 13 case.

Remember, most bankruptcy firms charge somewhere between $800-$2500 for a Chapter 7 plus the $335 court cost. This represents the lower and higher end of the spectrum. This simply does not align with an advertisement claiming $500 bankrutcy. You could even be signing up for a forms provider instead of an attorney. This means that you would be essentially doing your bankruptcy yourself. Alternatively, you may just be dealing with a very cheap bankruptcy office that may nickel and dime you to death with an actual, basic-case-only price of about $835 plus some hidden fees. Although there are many lower priced bankruptcy offices accross the U.S., beware of advertisements like this. Make sure to get all of the details first. Or, possibly just pursue someone else adverising a more realistic low price.

Do you need debt relief?  Call Bymaster Bankruptcy Law Offices for a FREE initial consultation.

Declare Bankruptcy

Declare Bankruptcy

Want to declare bankrputcy? You declare bankruptcy to eliminate all of your debts. Before you declare bankruptcy, it is important to know some basics behind the process. Knowing these basics will help you understand exactly how declaring bankruptcy actually works.

You Declare Bankruptcy in Federal Court

You or your lawyer will need to prepare a petition. Although you may clearly be “bankrupt” and overloaded with debt, you still need to file a bankruptcy petition. This is how you offically “declare” bankruptcy. This petition is a formal request for bankruptcy relief with the Federal court. If you file the petition correctly and follow bankruptcy’s rules, you will get your bankruptcy relief every time. Your case will not be denied. You are entitled to the relief if you need it. Declaring bankruptcy will then permanently eliminate all your debts in about 90-120 days. Most normal debts will be completely elimated. There are only a few exceptions such as child support, recent tax debt, and student loans that do not get eliminated through delcaring bankruptcy.

Listing All Your Income, Assets, and Debts

Your bankruptcy petition will list out all your income, assets, and debts. This is how you declare bankruptcy. You must provide the court all your financial information. If you do not provide all your finanical information correctly, then the court may require you to make changes to your petition. If the information is very incomplete or inaccurate, the court may even deny your case. This is one reason why it is wise to find a bankruptcy attorney to represent you.

The bankruptcy court will also assign a Trustee to oversee your bankrupty case.  This trustee will be assigned to your case to make sure everything is handled and reviewed correctly. You will go to a single bankruptcy meeting with this Trustee. The Trustee will ask you several questions a this meeting about your financial condition. When you declare bankruptcy, you must follow all the rules of the court and the trustee in order for your case to finalize. You will not receive the release of your debts until your bankruptcy case is finalized and completed.

You File Bankruptcy by Calling an Attorney or Preparing Forms Yourself

Because of the complex nature of bankruptcy, it is always best to contact an attorney to declare bankruptcy. If you declare bankruptcy on your own, you could run into problems. These problems could include being unable to understand the forms or other various bankruptcy requirements. Sometimes these problems can even be worse such as losing money or property unexpectedly. That is why you should always seek an attorney to represent you.

If you still want to declare bankruptcy on your own, you can do so by filling out the forms on your local district’s website. To declare bankruptcy, you must turn in all of your petition forms to the local branch of your federal bankruptcy court. You must also take a one-hour required class beforehand and present a money or for your case’s $335 court cost. You can find the forms, including the Petition, Schedules, Statement of Financial Affairs and other sections by following this link here.

https://www.uscourts.gov/forms/bankruptcy-forms

Remember, it is always wise to hire an attorney. It is much easier and safer to file bankruptcy with an attorney.

ITT Tech: Student Loan Collapse

ITT Tech Student Loan Collapse

From Former Glory Years to Student Loan Collapse

ITT Tech was once a well-respected technical training school that orignated in 1969. The headquaters was in Carmel, Indiana. By the 1980’s and 1990’s, ITT Technical Institute was synonomous with high-quality, no-nonsense education. Both young students right out of high school and older adult students would flock to ITT tech to learn the “skills of tomorrow” today (or at least according to it’s former exciting commericials).

Countless graduates of ITT Tech of older generations have successfully enjoyed entire careers based on their educational start at ITT Tech. The question immediately comes – what happened? How did this “for-profit” training school decline into a lawsuit-ridden mess that eventually closed all of its operations?

STUDENT LOAN COLLAPSE

ITT Tech found itself in the midst of the student loan system collapse. Many “for-profit” schools are now falling into this mess. Apparanetly, “for-profit” schools were once a feasible, even admirable pursuit. Then, student loan federal funding came. Once student loan and federal funding became the “norm,” many for-profit schools descended into a frenzy of bad business and recruitment activities. They had to deal with this new reality of “for-profit” schooling. It all became about student loan salesmanship.

How did the school decline? How did the school generate numerous worthless education programs that would never actually benefit the students? Part of this answer was marketing and salesmanship. The school was not marketing any more to student who would actually pay for their education. They instead marketed to students who did not understand the magnitude of student loans or federal aid that they were getting from the government. You get more creative (to say it nicely) in your marketing and program focus when you are selling something with “funny money” instead of cold, hard cash.

TIME IS SHORT: REMOVE STUDENT LOAN SPECIAL STATUS IN BANKRUPTCY

Many public schools have also followed suit. The damage to public higher educational institutions cannot be measured. Now is a crucial time because many public institutions have long followed the same road as the for-profit schools. Although many politicians are calling for elaborate fixes to the student loans system, the best option would be simple. The solution is to treat student loans the same as all other loans in bankruptcy. Currently student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Allowing student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy will “pull the plug” on the funny money of student loans. It will protect future generations from a bad educational system that saddles them with lifetime debt. It will also prevent a magnitude of previously respectable schools like ITT Tech from being brought into ruin.

Bankruptcy Exemptions Now Too Low For Indiana

Bankruptcy Exemptions Indiana

Indiana bankruptcy exemptions are quite low compared to other states. The recent housing value boom has left the residence exemption for bankruptcy in Indiana more lacking than ever. Indiana, like a minority of other states, has a very limited residence protection amount in bankruptcy. Coming in at a meager $19,300 per bankruptcy filer, this amount of equity protection that is allowed during Chapter 7 is making bankruptcy relief hard or out of reach for certain segments of Indiana’s public. It is even causing some bankruptcy filers who only purchased their home a few years ago to now to have too much equity in their homes for that purpose.

How Does Indiana’s Bankruptcy Exemption Work?

In Indiana, you are allowed to keep up to $19,300 worth of the house for your residence when you file for bankruptcy. This amount also doubles to $38,600 if you have a married couple filing who are both on the deed of their residential home. Outside of mobile homes, there are virtually no homes in Indiana that fit into the $19,300 protection when they are paid in full. Therefore, it usually plays out that you must have approximately $19,300 (or less) of equity in your home (due to a large mortgage being on your property) if you want to keep your residence. It does not matter if your residence has been paid off for 20 years or even generationally as your family home. You will lose your house most likely if you need bankruptcy relief if the value significantly exceeds this $19,300 amount in the State of Indiana.

How Does Indiana’s Residence Exemption Stack up Against Neighbor States?

It does not stack up very well. For instance, the State of Ohio has a residence exemption of $145,425. This is 7.5 times larger than Indiana’s exemption. Ohio’s exemption also can actually protect the full value of a modest residence, which is a near impossibility in Indiana. Michigan’s exemption is $38,225 per bankruptcy filer. In Michigan, this amount also increases after you reach the age of 65 or if you become disabled. The increased exemption for Michigan is $57,350 per filer. Flordia and Texas homestead exemptions are very large with Texas being unlimited in value and Flordia reaching the millions.

On the lesser ends, the Federal Exemption for residence (which is available in many states, but not Indiana) is still also larger than Indiana at $25,150. Indiana’s neighbors Kentucky and Illinois have some of the most dismal and low residence exemptions in the entire nation, coming in at only $5,000 for Kentucky and $15,000 for Illinois. However, it is important to point out that federal bankruptcy exemptions are allowed to be taken in Kentucky, effectively raising their $5,000 to $25,150 per person for any person who opts for such protection. Essentially, Indiana stacks up very poorly compared to the national average for residence protection. It also stacks up very poorly to that of Indiana’s immediate neighbors except for Illinois as the only exception.

Why Does This Matter?

Central Indiana has been reported as one of the fastest real estate value growth areas in the nation. Coupling this fact with very restrictive residence exemptions, many home values are increasing too quickly to be clearly protected during bankruptcy filings. Even some mortgage holders who put little or no money down are finding this problem only a few years after their home purchase. These elevated values may only be temporary, but it is currently it could effect the bankruptcy analysis and which Bankruptcy Chapter Indiana residents choose to file under.

A greater wrong hood, however, is more simple and obvious: no person’s paid-in-full home is ever truly “safe” in Indiana. The state legislature must believe that it is okay for a person’s paid-in-full residence to be “up for grabs” in Indiana at all times by creditors. It does not matter if you incurred unexpected hardship or medical debts. It does not matter if your home has been paid-in-full in your family for generations. You will lose your paid-in-full residence if you manage to incur too much debt in Indiana. The circumstances do not matter. It’s currently Indiana law.

Did you like this blog about Indiana Bankruptcy Exemptions? For more Indiana Bankruptcy Blogs, click here.

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