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  • Paul B.starstarstarstarstar5.0
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  • S.M.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    When I say this office was absolutely the best, I am not kidding! They have been absolutely phenomenal. Robert has been the best bankruptcy attorney. The whole team has always kept Read More
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Complete List Of Documents Needed To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

This article discusses in detail a complete list of documents needed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida. We will discuss the documents you will need before you file, as you’re filing, as well as documents and information you will need after you file for bankruptcy.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that can clear away the majority of your debts. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be filed by individuals or businesses. This article focuses on individual, or consumer, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Florida.

Chapter 7 is most commonly referred to as liquidation bankruptcy because your non-exempt property is used to pay back your creditors. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida has many advantages since Florida has some of the strongest exemptions to protect your property in the United States. One of the most famous exemptions is the Florida homestead exemption to protect your home.

Why File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy is a powerful way to stop collection efforts from creditors and eliminate your debts. If you’re in a situation where you cannot pay back your debts and are struggling to manage bills while paying back your creditors, it might be time to consider consulting a bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy lawyer can work with you to assess your financial situation and decide whether bankruptcy is the right choice for you.

After you have decided that bankruptcy is the way to go for your situation, it is important that you understand what financial documents you will need to gather to prepare your Bankruptcy Petition and Schedules and also, what documents you will need after your bankruptcy is filed. Here is an overview of typical documents you will need to gather throughout your Bankruptcy process. 

What Are The Eligibility Requirements?

To be eligible to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Florida you must pass the “means test”. The means test calculation determines whether your annual income is less than the Florida median income for your household size. The means test determines if you have sufficient income to pay back all or some of your debts or repay creditors.

There is still a chance for you to be eligible to file chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida even if you fail the means test. If your income is above the median income in Florida for a household of your size, you must consider IRS allowable expenses to determine if your disposable monthly income is less than $137 per month. If you are not eligible to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Florida you may want to explore filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. 

Note: You are not required to pass the means test if the majority of your debts are business debts.

How much do you have to be in debt to file Chapter 7

There is no debt minimum or maximum required to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida. Although there is no minimum debt requirement, if you feel that your debt is manageable and you have the ability to pay it back over some time, you may want to explore alternatives to bankruptcy. A bankruptcy attorney can help you determine the best course of action depending on your situation or case.

Before: Documents Needed to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

To get a good picture of your debts and liabilities, you will need to obtain a copy of your credit report. Keep in mind that the information contained inside your credit report will help you in preparing the bankruptcy forms, specifically the section where you must list the names, addresses, and amounts of all of your debts.

You can obtain a free copy of your credit report, but please keep in mind that the free report may only be available once per year.

Additionally, if you are working with an attorney in your case, a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorney will normally obtain a copy of your credit report in order to properly list and classify your debts in the bankruptcy schedules and forms.

If you are getting ready or considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, below you will find a detailed list of bankruptcy documents needed and the paperwork you will need to prepare your bankruptcy forms:

  1. Tax Returns for the past 2 years
  2. Proof of Income for the last 6 months, such as: 
    1. Paystubs 
    2. Social Security Benefits Letter
    3. Pension records
    4. Unemployment Compensation 
    5. Self-Employment income
    6. Child Support and alimony payments
  3. Six (6) months of bank account statements from all accounts where your name appears on.
  4. Copies of your vehicle registration for all your vehicles
  5. Retirement/Pension account statements
  6. Mortgage Statements
  7. Valuation or appraisal of your Real Estate Property
  8. Valuation or appraisal of your Vehicles
  9. List of your household goods and furnishings

Note: The above are also documents needed to file Chapter 13.

Credit Counseling Certificate

You must complete a credit counseling course from an approved credit counseling agency. The counseling course is usually completed in front of a computer or over the phone. It takes on average 30 minutes to complete the course.

Completion is evidenced by receipt of a Certificate of Counseling which must be filed with the court along with the bankruptcy petition and other required documents.

The Certificate of filing has to have been completed within 180 days prior to filing the bankruptcy petition.

A Credit Counseling Certificate will contain the date and time of completion, the name of the credit counseling agency, the Florida District selected, and the name of the individual who completed the counseling (you). 

During: Documents Needed to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 

This section discusses what is required to file Chapter 7. To file for bankruptcy in Florida, you must first complete and sign a set of bankruptcy forms and schedules. A list of all the required Bankruptcy Forms and schedules can be found here. 

The Bankruptcy Forms required to file bankruptcy in Florida are roughly 80 pages long and are divided into different sections, such as the Voluntary Petition, Schedules, Statements of Financial Affairs, Statement of Intention, and Statement of Current Monthly Income. A bankruptcy attorney can help you navigate this process.

Chapter 7 Preparation of Legal Documents

You must take great care in accurately and truthfully completing the required forms since you will be required to sign a declaration under oath and under penalty of perjury concerning the documents and information contained in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy petition and forms will advise the court and creditors of your financial picture.

You will be required to indicate the Chapter you are filing under (7, 11, 12, 13), the district court in which you are filing, a list of all your assets and your debts, and your intentions as to your property. Additionally, in the Statement of Financial Affairs (SOFA), you must include information concerning past activity such as repayment of debts, transfers of property, closed businesses and bank accounts, settled lawsuits, active lawsuits, as well as other information requested. 

An experienced Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorney will prepare all the required Bankruptcy forms and Schedules. Find out more about the Bankruptcy forms that are required to file your case.   

How to File for Bankruptcy in Florida in 2022

Once you’ve completed and signed the Bankruptcy Forms and Schedules here are the steps to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in Florida.

What are the steps in filing chapter 7?

  1. Review the accuracy of the information of the documents and forms you will need to file for bankruptcy. Remember that you are signing the forms under penalty of perjury.
  2. Attach the Credit Counseling Certificate. Remember that it cannot be more than 180 days since you completed it.
  3. Prepare and attach the Creditor Matrix which lists all your creditors. Note: This is a different document than the list of your creditors contained in Schedules D, E, F, and G of your bankruptcy schedules.
  4. Pay the court filing fee for filing bankruptcy in Florida. If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you may apply with the court to pay the court filing fee in installments or may submit a request for the filing fee to be waived. Below are the filing fees for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.
    1. Chapter 7 Filing Fee in Florida is $338.00
    2. Chapter 13 Filing Fee in Florida is $313.00
  5. File the Bankruptcy Petition, Schedules, and forms along with other required documents with the Bankruptcy clerk for your jurisdiction. Note: Some jurisdictions such as the Southern District of Florida have Local Forms Requirements that must be followed.
  6. If you are filing for Bankruptcy in Florida without a lawyer you will need to show your valid ID and original Social Security Card at the time of filing. If you are considering how to file chapter 7 with no money, you may still be able to hire a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyer who can assist you with payment plans and finding affordable options.

After: Documents Needed to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

After your bankruptcy case is filed you will receive a notice from the bankruptcy court that will contain the date of your 341 Meeting of Creditors. At least 7 days prior to attending your 341 Meeting of Creditors you must provide documents to the Chapter 7 Trustee assigned to your case. Some trustees will provide you with a chapter 7 client questionnaire to complete right before conducting your 341 meeting of creditors. A Florida bankruptcy attorney who practices in your jurisdiction can offer you the best guidance.

Chapter 7 Client Questionnaire

A typical Chapter 7 client questionnaire will ask you to answer the following questions:

  1. Have you filed or can you file any claims against anyone?
  2. Have you settled any lawsuits where you received money?
  3. Has anyone passed away and left you an inheritance?
  4. Do you understand that if you receive a tax refund after the filing of your case you are required to notify the Trustee or your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney and cannot spend it.
  5. Have you sold or transferred any property to anyone.

Note: The above is not an all-inclusive list of questions that may be asked of you. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer in Florida can provide you with guidance and insight as to what to expect.

Below please find a list of documents typically requested by the Chapter 7 Trustee. 

This section covers documents you will need to provide to your Chapter 7 Trustee including how many bank statements are needed for Chapter 7.

  1. Copies of the last two (2) years of Federal Tax Returns
  2. Six (6) months of Banks statements including the bank statement for the month of filing. (For example, if you filed your case on July 15th, you must provide the statements from January through July). 
  3. Vehicle Registration and the payoff at the time of filing if the vehicle is financed. 
  4. Domestic Support Obligation Sheet- if you are required to pay Child Support.
  5. If you own a Business, the Trustee will also require:
    1. Business Tax Returns for the last 2 years
    2. 6 months of Business Bank statements
    3. Profit and Loss for Business for the last 6-month period
    4. Balance Sheet and List of Assets

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney familiar with different Trustee requirements can guide you and better anticipate what will be asked of you.

Additional Documents That Are Often Requested By The Chapter 7 Trustee

After your Meeting of Creditors, your Chapter 7 Trustee may request additional documentation depending on the outcome of the meeting. 

Note: Some Chapter 7 Trustees will want to dig deeper into your financial history and may request more information including more than one (1) year of bank statements, copies of all pages of your passport, and tax returns older than two (2) years.

Financial Management Course

After filing your bankruptcy and before receiving your bankruptcy discharge, you must complete a financial management course from an approved credit counseling agency. This course can help you understand how to move forward after bankruptcy.

You will need to file the certificate with the Court within 60 days after attending your 341 Meeting of Creditors in order to receive your bankruptcy discharge. If you fail to do so, your case will be closed without receiving the benefit of a Discharge. Your bankruptcy attorney will file it with the court.

Note: You may want to obtain a free credit report sometime in the future or seek free credit monitoring to ensure that creditors are not reporting inaccurate information in your credit report. Contact your attorney or search online for help concerning this issue.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy Trustees in Florida

Below is a list of the Trustee(s) in the middle district of Florida:

  • Doreen R. Abbott
    P.O. Box 56257
    Jacksonville, FL
    32241 -6257
  • Robert Altman
    P.O. Box 922
    Palatka, FL
    32178 -0922
  • Gregory L. Atwater
    P.O. Box 1815
    Orange Park, FL
  • Nicole Marie Cameron
    235 Apollo Beach Blvd., #231
    Apollo Beach, FL
  • Dawn A. Carapella
    P.O. Box 67
    Varico, FL
    33595 -0067
  • Gene T. Chambers
    P.O. Box 533987
    Orlando, FL
    32853 -3987
  • Carolyn R. Chaney
    P.O. Box 530248
    St. Petersburg, FL
    33747 -0248
  • Aaron R. Cohen
    P.O. Box 4218
    Jacksonville, FL
  • Gregory K. Crews
    8584 Arlington Expressway
    Jacksonville, FL
  • Richard Michael Dauval
    P.O. Box 13607
    St. Petersburg, FL
    33733 -3607
  • Marie E. Henkel
    3560 S. Magnolia Avenue
    Orlando, FL
  • Christine L. Herendeen
    P.O. Box 152348
    Tampa, FL
  • Larry S. Hyman
    P.O. Box 18614
    Tampa, FL
  • Gordon P. Jones
    P.O. Box 600459
    Jacksonville, FL
    32260 -0459
  • Dennis D. Kennedy
    P.O. Box 541848
    Merritt Island, FL
  • Arvind Mahendru
    5703 Red Bug Lake Rd. #284
    Winter Springs, FL
  • Stephen L. Meininger
    707 North Franklin Street Suite 850
    Tampa, FL
  • Douglas N. Menchise
    P.O. Box 14957
    Clearwater, FL
  • Carla P. Musselman
    1150 SW Chapman Way Unit 310
    Palm City, FL
  • Emerson C. Noble
    P.O. Box 622798
    Oviedo, FL
    32762 -2798
  • Lori Patton
    P.O. Box 520547
    Longwood, FL
  • Luis E. Rivera, II
    P.O. Box 1026
    Fort Myers, FL
    33902 -0280
  • Beth Ann Scharrer
    P.O. Box 4550
    Seminole, FL
  • Traci K. Stevenson
    P.O. Box 86690
    Madeira Beach, FL
  • Robert E. Tardif, Jr.
    P.O. Box 2140
    Fort Myers, FL
  • Robert E. Thomas
    P.O. 5075
    Winter Park, FL
  • Richard B. Webber, II
    P.O. Box 3000
    Orlando, FL
  • Angela Welch
    12191 W. Linebaugh Ave. #401
    Tampa, FL

Below is a list of the Trustee(s) covering the northern district of Florida:

  • Theresa M. Bender
    P.O. Box 14557
    Tallahassee, FL
  • Sherry F. Chancellor
    619 W. Chase Street
    Pensacola, FL
  • Marybeth W. Colon
    P. O. Box 14596
    Tallahassee, FL
  • Karin A. Garvin
    1801 W. Garden Street
    Pensacola, FL

Below is a list of the Trustee(s) covering the southern district of Florida:

  • Roberto A. Angueira
    16 SW 1st Avenue
    Miami, FL
  • Michael R. Bakst
    P.O. Box 407
    West Palm Beach, FL
  • Marc P. Barmat
    2255 Glades Road, Suite 419A
    Boca Raton, FL
  • Scott N. Brown
    SunTrust International Center
    1 SE 3rd Avenue – Suite #1440
    Miami, FL
  • Jacqueline Calderin
    1825 Ponce de Leon Blvd #358
    Coral Gables, FL
  • Drew M. Dillworth
    2200 Museum Tower
    150 W. Flagler St.
    Miami, FL
  • Marcia T. Dunn
    66 West Flagler Street Suite 400
    Miami, FL
  • Robert C. Furr
    2255 Glades Road, Suite 419A
    Boca Raton, FL
  • Ross R. Hartog
    P.O. Box 14306
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Soneet R. Kapila
    1000 S. Federal Highway, Suite 200
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Nicole Testa Mehdipour
    6278 North Federal Highway Suite 408
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Deborah C. Menotte
    P.O. Box 211087
    West Palm Beach, FL
  • Barry E. Mukamal
    1 SE Third Avenue, Ste. 2150
    Miami, FL
  • Leslie S. Osborne
    1300 N. Federal Hwy Suite 203
    Boca Raton, FL
  • Chad S. Paiva
    6526 S. Kanner Highway, #376
    Stuart, FL
  • Sonya Salkin Slott
    P.O. Box 15580
    Plantation, FL
  • Kenneth A. Welt
    4581 Weston Road – #355 Suite 1000
    Weston, FL
  • Maria M. Yip
    One Biscayne Tower
    2 S. Biscayne Blvd, Suite 2690
    Miami, FL

Consult a Florida Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are in need of a Florida bankruptcy attorney to help you determine whether you’re eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact us today. The Stiberman Law Firm can help you navigate the bankruptcy process every step of the way. Contact us today by calling us at (954) 758-4324 or filling out the form below to get started.

Written By:

Attorney Robert Stiberman

Robert is an experienced bankruptcy attorney with more than 13 years of experience in consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. Robert regularly practices in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach Divisions of th... Read More

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