An individual does not need to employ the services of an attorney to file for bankruptcy; they do have a constitutional right to file on their own behalf. However, it is very important that the debtor should at least seek the assistance of an instructional book for guidance. There are many free resources available on the internet and at your local public library as well that will take you through the process step by step and explain each and every form necessary for submission. All forms and free information can be found at www.uscourts.gov.
Before you start to prepare the necessary forms needed to file your bankruptcy, you will need to gather a lot of information to make the entire process easier. You will need to have records of your assets, debts, income and expenses. You will also need receipts for your bills, any loan applications, federal tax returns, employment pay stubs, etc.
Official Form 1 is the form that you are filling out to request bankruptcy relief from the Bankruptcy Court. This form is three pages long, simply answer each question and sign on line number twenty-nine of the third page of form, if filing jointly, your spouse must also sign as well.
Exhibit D of Voluntary Petition – Every debtor must complete and file a separate one of these petition forms. Any individual that wishes to file a petition for bankruptcy relief must complete a credit counseling session that is approved by the bankruptcy court prior to their filing for bankruptcy relief. You can find a listing of where to obtain the approved counseling session for your particular local area by visiting www.uscourts.gov.
6 Schedule A is where you will need to list all of the real estate you either own or have any type of interest in. You will need to enter a very brief description of the property, indicate the nature of your interest, enter the value, and indicate amount of secured claim.
Now on schedule B is Personal Property. Personal Property is anything that you own that is valued at over $25. Be sure to be totally honest and do not leave any thing out here.
Schedule C is where you will list any property that you own, but can be claimed as exempt depending upon which state you live in.
Schedule D is where you will list all the names, mailing addresses and account numbers for all of your secured debts.
Schedule E is where you will list all the same information for your unsecured debts that are priority claims.
Schedule F is where you will enter all the names, mailing addresses and account numbers for all of you unsecured debts that are not priority ones.
Schedule G any leases that you may have signed that may still be in force that you must list whether you are delinquent in payments or not.
Schedule H is for you to list all the debtors other than you and your spouse, if any, that you have listed on Schedules D, E, and F.
Schedule I is the current income statement for the debtor. This form must include all your income from all sources.
Schedule J this is the average monthly expense budget sheet.
Official Form 6 is the Summary and Declaration Pages. These forms are just what they say; they are a summary of the above schedules you completed.
Official Form 7 is the Financial Affair Statement is for you to help the court learn about your financial transactions for the past two years.
Official Form 23 is the Certification of Completion of a Personal Finance Course to be completed prior to final discharge.
Copies of the most recent tax returns must also be submitted within fifteen days of your filing of your petition.
The filing fee for bankruptcy is $245.00 plus $39.00 administrative fee plus $15.00 trustee surcharge. You may pay this fee in full, or you may choose to pay in installments. If you decide to pay in installments, you must submit a signed application for court approval, which is form 3A, if you are unable to afford these fees; you may submit an application for waiver of filing fees which is form 3B.
Filing for bankruptcy is a long process, but if you take your time, you can save yourself heavy retainer fees by successfully filing your own petition.