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Legal Forms: How to File for Bankruptcy without Using a Paid Lawyer



Bankruptcy is usually a last resort, a legal route for people who want to relieve their debt. The cost of living or running a business can be very high and that is the reason why most people find themselves at the verge of bankruptcy. This article looks at all possible solutions to avoid bankruptcy and in case of failing to resolve your bankruptcy, how to file for bankruptcy without using the costly services of a bankruptcy lawyer.
It is prudent to get credit counseling in the early stages of your business to manage your debt, however, not all people realize the importance of this step. More often, a lot of people will ignore this step because it looks like just another extra cost which has no significant bearing on the business or home finances. They usually realize the importance of this step when it’s too late to change the course of things. You do not need to wait for a forced bankruptcy notice from Federal authorities to realize the importance of credit counseling. Credit counseling can save your business from being closed or home from being sold when it becomes a part of your initial priorities in running a company or home.

Credit card consolidation is one of the things you can do when you find yourself being unable to keep up with debts and costs. A credit card can be a blessing or curse depending on how you use it, so take note of this fact. Most people think having access to credit card facilities is the beginning of success, but if you are a wise man or woman, you should actually be scared of having the freedom to borrow and spend as much as you want. Fear is not a bad thing after all when it comes to credit card expenses, but it can act as a reminder to control your spending and manage your debts wisely. Fear might lead you to look for solutions such as credit card consolidation, loan modification and debt management in the early stages of your business before damage has been done to your credit record.
Another solution that you can try to save your business from bankruptcy is loan or credit refinancing. This is basically a modification to your existing repayment plan to help you pay a manageable amount. Changes to loan periods and periodic payments may be done to give you a flexible but long term plan.
Why You Should File for Bankruptcy
So what are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy when you are down in the dumps? The main advantages of filing for bankruptcy are as follows:
          Filing for bankruptcy will protect you from debt collectors and creditors. This means they will not be able to seize your property which was signed as collateral security.
          Filing for bankruptcy will stop the creditors from asking for money owed to them.
          Depending on your court case, you might be exempted from all or some of the debts, but there are some debts like child alimony and mortgage which may not be relieved.
Let’s look at some of the personal situations that might force you to file for bankruptcy. A bankrupt individual might be faced with the following scenarios:
          You have a lot of back dated taxes that have not be paid.
          You have court summons for unpaid debts
          You do not have a job
          Your savings are depleted
          Your home is being foreclosed or is on the verge of foreclosure.
          A part of your salary is legally withheld and subtracted every month to pay your creditor, also known as wage garnishment.

To file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, you will need to know the right legal forms to use, the type of bankruptcy to file for and fulfill certain compulsory requirements before filing for bankruptcy. You will also be required to pay a court fee, also known as the bankruptcy fee (in the range $299 to $306) when you submit your paperwork at the clerk’s office. Depending on your income bracket (which is determined by the Federal Poverty Guideline), you may be eligible for a bankruptcy fee waiver ,but this will only be given to people who have not hired a lawyer or any paid legal service. The waiver is for people with financial difficulties who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. With this in mind, here are steps to file for bankruptcy:
          Choose between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not give you a deadline or repayment plan to clear your debt.Instead, the court gives the right to the creditor to seize or sell the debtor’s property which is eligible for liquidation. This settlement results in cancellation of your debts while allowing you to retain ownership of property which is exempt from liquidation or seizure.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy basically gives you a grace period (up to 5 years) to pay back your debts. Manageable repayment plans may be negotiated with the creditor, allowing you to keep your property as long as you don’t default in your payments.
          Complete a credit counseling program that is approved by the state. This is a compulsory requirement that should be fulfilled within 180 days before filing for bankruptcy. The program will help you to determine the best bankruptcy solution for your case.
          The next step is to file for bankruptcy in your state or jurisdiction. Along with the completed bankruptcy legal forms, you must attach your credit counseling certificate.
Read a list of requirements for filing a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy case: US Courts Bankruptcy Case Requirements
US Courts Bankruptcy Legal forms:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Form – Joint Debtors >> B 18J
Form – One Joint Debtor >> B 18JO
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Form – Discharge of Debtor >> After Completion B 18W
Form – Order Discharge of Debtor >> Before Completion B 18WH