How To File For Bankruptcy

Not everyone has all the money in the world to pay off all their debts. No matter how well your finances are planned and how disciplined your expenses are, sometimes, the situation does go out of hand and one ends up having more debt than one can handle. Such times call for filing for bankruptcy, which is any day better than creditors taking action against you for default in payments.
Filing for bankruptcy is very straightforward, but it is a time-consuming process and also involves ton of paperwork. The entire process of filing for bankruptcy and the case getting discharged, usually takes about four to six months.
Are You Eligible?
Everyone has debt issues. Some can handle it, and some can’t. Being unable to handle your debt doesn’t automatically mean that you have to file for bankruptcy. There are a lot of factors that have to be taken into consideration, something that a good bankruptcy attorney in Milwaukee, WI will be able to guide you with.
Here is a basic list of requirements to be eligible to file for bankruptcy:
Income – The monthly income earned must be below the state’s median income. If the income is higher, the debtor does not qualify.
Disposable Income – Despite earning more than the median income level, one can be eligible. If the debtor’s disposable income is lower than the set level, they can still qualify. If the disposable income is above the set level, one can pay of their debts in parts and hence will not be allowed to file for bankruptcy.
The Means Test – While filing for bankruptcy, one must pass the means test. The means test calculator is available for free, online. Enter in your details and calculate. If you pass the test, you can file for chapter 7 bankruptcy; else you can only file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy, where you will be required to pay off your debts over a fixed period of time.
Steps Involved
Decided to file for bankruptcy? Here is how you should do it:
Assess – The very first step is to assess your finances. Should you definitely file for bankruptcy or can you manage the debts in other ways? Try negotiating with the creditors for a lesser payment or a longer credit period, etc. if nothing works out, get in touch with a debt manager to analyze your situation professionally.
Analyze – Once you are left with no other choice than to file for bankruptcy, take a full stock of all your debts. Only certain debts are eligible for bankruptcy, some debts cannot be done away with. Find out which of your debts are not dischargeable and which are. If majority of your debts are not dischargeable, then filing for bankruptcy is not the best solution. This is because, even after filing, you are going to be left with most of your debts, for which you will have to find other ways to pay.
Know Your Options – Bankruptcy come in different kinds. Though chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most well known, there are other types too. There is chapter 13, chapter 9, chapter 7 and chapter 12. Get a professional to analyze your debts and tell you which type of bankruptcy you should file.
Credit Counseling – Once you have decided to file for bankruptcy, as per law you need to get credit counseling in the six month period before filing. This counseling must be from a government approved agency. When you are in Milwaukee, WI, you can find a number of such approved agencies in the directory. Once the counseling is completed, the completion certificate has to be filed with the court.
File The Forms – There are a number of forms and petitions to be filed with the court. Once you complete this, the automatic stay comes into effect and the creditors are stopped from taking any action against you.
Trust The Trustee – once you file the forms, the court will appoint a trustee who will take care of all your debts. Give all the required details to your trustee and also a copy of your recent tax returns statement. The trustee will take over and start distributing all the available money to the creditors in order of importance.
Where To File For Bankruptcy
Once you decide to file for bankruptcy and learn how to do it, you need to know where to go. There are a number of bankruptcy courts in the country and it is not easy to find the right court. Whether you live in Milwaukee, WI or any other city, you can file for bankruptcy in the court located in:
• The area you have been living in for the last 6 months (180 days before filing)
• Where you had a permanent residence for the last 6 months
• Where you area of business is in or where all your assets are
• If you have recently moved, then the place you have been in or had business in, for the majority of the last 6 months.