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Filing for Bankruptcy? What Forms Do You Need?

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on October 15, 2013 11:33 AM

Filing for bankruptcy is never pleasant, and it requires a vast amount of forms that can overwhelm even the most organized petitioner.

Don't become crushed under the weight of confusion over bankruptcy forms. Most of the essential forms you will need fall into these categories:

1. Petition

Whether you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your main document to present to the bankruptcy court is your bankruptcy petition.

The voluntary bankruptcy petition is available from the federal government, and requests the following information:

  • Your name and address,
  • Your spouse's name and address,
  • What chapter of bankruptcy you are filing under (typically Chapter 7 or 13 for individuals),
  • What kind of debts you have (business or personal), and
  • Prior bankruptcy cases in the last eight years.

The petition form will also ask you to attach certain exhibits depending on your particular case, and these also have forms.

2. Exhibits

There are typically four exhibits which are attached to your bankruptcy petition form, and they include:

  • Exhibit A. For those filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • Exhibit B. If an attorney is preparing your petition, he or she will need to attach this exhibit to your petition.
  • Exhibit C. Needed if you own any property that might be a public health hazard.
  • Exhibit D. Required in every individual bankruptcy filing, this exhibit shows the court that you have completed the required credit counseling for your bankruptcy case.

Once you've completed and attached the proper exhibits to your petition, you will need to complete the required schedules to give the bankruptcy court a full picture of your finances.

3. Schedules

Most people choose to file these schedules at the same time as their bankruptcy petitions, but these forms can submitted as late as 14 days after submitting your voluntary petition.

There are 11 schedules (A through J), and they cover different asset areas:

  • Schedules A through C cover real and personal property and any property exemptions you want to claim;
  • Schedules D through H deal with your various obligations to child support, secured creditors (e.g., mortgage holders), unsecured debts, rental leases, and cosigned loans; and
  • Schedules I and J discuss your earning potential as a calculation of your current income and your current expenses.

All of these forms can become a headache to compile and file on your own, so it may be wise to consider purchasing a bankruptcy forms package from a company like LegalStreet. For as little as $39.95, you can receive the petition, exhibits, schedules, notices, disclosures, and other necessary forms to file for Chapter 7 or 13 in your city or county.

Even with these forms, you may still need to consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your area, especially if your case is complex. Because filing for bankruptcy leads to serious consequences, hiring professional help can potentially pay off in the long run.

(Disclosure: LegalStreet and FindLaw.com are owned by the same company.)

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