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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Note: The above are also documents needed to file Chapter 13.
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).
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.
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.
Once you’ve completed and signed the Bankruptcy Forms and Schedules here are the steps to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in Florida.
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.
A typical Chapter 7 client questionnaire will ask you to answer the following questions:
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.
This section covers documents you will need to provide to your Chapter 7 Trustee including how many bank statements are needed for Chapter 7.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney familiar with different Trustee requirements can guide you and better anticipate what will be asked of you.
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.
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.
Below is a list of the Trustee(s) in the middle district of Florida:
Below is a list of the Trustee(s) covering the northern district of Florida:
Below is a list of the Trustee(s) covering the southern district of Florida:
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.
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