Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated January 14, 2021
Despite best efforts and proper planning, sometimes life throws a curveball – even to people in The Last Frontier. Unexpected circumstances can leave people and even businesses in financial distress very quickly. Fortunately, there is relief through bankruptcy available in these circumstances, and even in circumstances where the one in financial distress is not so guiltless. Just last year Hook Line and Sinker, Inc., the owners of several popular Anchorage bars including Humpy’s, had to file for bankruptcy. Whatever the circumstances, whenever someone finds themselves in financial distress there is a lifeline available through various types of bankruptcy. To qualified parties there is the potential to eliminate most or all outstanding debt through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wasilla. Though many people resist the idea of bankruptcy, once you understand the realities it is not nearly as intimidating as you might think. A Wasilla bankruptcy can be completed in as little as 4 months if few possessions, or assets, are involved, and the filer will almost always be able to keep most or all of their assets. Also, you don’t have to worry about the cost of hiring a lawyer because you are able to either complete the process yourself seek help from any number of legal aid organizations or nonprofits like Upsolve.
Wasilla Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Costs
It’s understandable someone filing bankruptcy in Wasilla might worry about hiring a lawyer – the thought of adding the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer to your financial worries might seem like a bad idea. Even though you are completely capable of handling the process on your own, in cases where you are trying to protect certain assets or have complicated finances it can end up being a good investment. Many bankruptcy lawyers offer a free initial consultation that might help you select the best option for you. If you want to hire one, expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 depending on the lawyer and your case. It seems like a lot, but usually included in the Wasilla bankruptcy lawyer cost is filling out your bankruptcy forms, filing them for you with the Court, and attending your required 341 Meeting with you. If you can’t afford an attorney or just aren’t comfortable handling the process entirely on your own, complete the Upsolve scanner to see if you are eligible for help.
How to File Bankruptcy in Wasilla, Alaska for Free
It seems odd that when you are in financial trouble you’d be required to spend money filing your Alaska bankruptcy, but there is a $338 filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wasilla. However, there are ways to ask the Court if you can pay over time or waive the fee entirely. This can greatly reduce your worry of additional financial burdens and let you complete your bankruptcy at little or no cost.
Collect Your Wasilla Bankruptcy Documents
When you’re figuring out how to file bankruptcy in Wasilla, the first thing you need to do is collect all your financial documents to fill out required bankruptcy forms. The Court wants a complete picture of your finances, and these documents have that information. For a Wasilla bankruptcy, you need a copy of your credit report from at least one of the three major reporting bureaus – a copy of your credit report is available every year for free. You should also save all collection notices and notices of legal action because new debt doesn’t always appear on a major creditor report right away. You need the two most recent federal income tax returns you filed as well as proof of income like paystubs for the last 6 months. Having additional documents showing assets, income, or debt can be a big help as well – these can include real estate valuations, bank account statements, investment or retirement account statements, and vehicle registration.
Take Credit Counseling
Before you file a Wasilla bankruptcy, you have to take a credit counseling course approved by the Department of Justice online, over the phone, or in person and submit your completion certificate to the Court along with your bankruptcy forms to begin your case. Credit counseling explains options for debt repayment that do not include bankruptcy so you can make an educated choice. The course will last around 2 hours and costs between $10 and $50. However, don’t take the course until you know when you’ll be filing bankruptcy in Wasilla, because the certificate is only valid for 6 months from the date it was issued.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
The next step in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wasilla is completing the nearly 2 dozen required forms to file bankruptcy. If you hired an attorney, they will handle this for you. If not, the forms are free and available online for you to download and fill out yourself. Even the government knows this process is overwhelming, so they created free online instructions to guide you. If you qualify, Upsolve can also help you with your Alaska bankruptcy.
Get Your Filing Fee
A $338 filing fee is due when you file bankruptcy in Wasilla payable only by exact cash or money order. If coming up with the entire amount is an issue, you can ask the Court to make up to 4 installment payments over a period of no more than 120 days from when you filed your case. Pay on time or risk having the Court toss out your Wasilla bankruptcy case. If your income is under 150% of the federal poverty line and even installment payments are a financial hardship, fill out a fee waiver application asking the Court to waive your fees. The Court will either grant your waiver or order you to make installment payments.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
If you hired a lawyer, don’t worry about this. If not, you’ve got to print your Wasilla bankruptcy forms single-sided and sign them in order to submit them to the Court. It’s okay to use 8.5” x 11” paper that’s probably in your printer at home, your office, or a print shop. You should consider using one of a number of premade checklists to make sure you print all the documents. Even though the Court only needs one copy of the forms, make 2 copies – one for the Court, and one for your own records. If Upsolve is helping you, the process is simple. You’ll receive a PDF document with all the completed your forms together as one document to print. Remember to sign your forms and review them to make sure they’re correct before submitting them to the Alaska Bankruptcy Court.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
After spending a considerable amount of time printing your Wasilla bankruptcy forms, grab your credit counseling completion certificate along with your filing fee and drop it off at the local courthouse. You can also mail all the required documents in if you would like, just keep in mind that can’t pay the filing fee in cash if you do! Filing in person is recommended to make sure there are no errors to correct and get your case filed same day. Alaska has three bankruptcy Court locations, but Fairbanks and Anchorage are the only two that accept in-person filings. If you file in person, pass through security at the courthouse entrance, and go to the Clerk’s office with your paperwork and the fee. The Clerk should process your forms within 15 minutes or so, then stamp your copy of your petition with important information related to the Trustee assigned to your case and your 341 Meeting.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Keep the information you received about your Trustee when you filed your Wasilla bankruptcy. The Trustee reviews the information you submitted to the Court and may ask for additional documents – if so, respond quickly and cooperate as fully as possible. Even if you don’t get any requests from your Trustee, you must still send them a copy of your most recent federal income tax return at least 7 days before your scheduled 341 Meeting.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
After all the work you’ve done filing bankruptcy in Wasilla you still aren’t eligible for a discharge of your debts until you complete a Debtor Education course designed to educate you on making smart financial decisions going forward. The course lasts around 2 hours and has a small fee of $10-$50. But, most importantly, you must find an approved company offering the class and take it online, in person, or over the phone. Upon completion, you’ll receive a certificate that you must file with the Court – unless they will do so for you.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
The court clerk gave you the time, date, and location of your 341 Meeting when you filed bankruptcy in Wasilla. The meeting should only last 5-10 minutes, and you most likely will just be asked to verify basic information on your bankruptcy forms or clarify any discrepancies. Take a few minutes to prepare for your meeting, and don’t forget to bring acceptable documents verifying your identity and social security number so the meeting can proceed. Your creditors can come to this meeting, but it’s rare for one to actually attend. You should expect a bankruptcy discharge in the mail around 2 months after your 341 meeting.
Dealing with Your Car
There is one last step for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wasilla, but it only comes into play if you own a car. If so, there are a few options depending on the status of that asset. If you own the car and its value is below the car exemption limit, you can keep it. If not, the Trustee may be able to sell it and pay creditors with the extra money. If there is a loan and you’re still making payments, if you want the car you can have it, but you’ll have to pay for it! You can enter a reaffirmation agreement with the lender if the car payments you have been making all along are still manageable for you – you’ll keep making payments as usual until the loan is paid. If the loan amount is now much higher than the car’s value, you can pay the current value in one lump sum to the lender and redeem it. If you can’t afford it or don’t want the car anymore, giving it back to the lender by surrendering it is always an option.
Alaska Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Wasilla
Alaska Means Test
The purpose of creating Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wasilla was to offer relief for people struggling with debt who have little to no chance of ever being able to pay it back – not people who are just trying to get out of paying debts. To avoid abuse of this resource, the Bankruptcy Code includes an eligibility test for potential filers. Potential filers must take and pass the Alaska bankruptcy Means Test, which evaluates their income based on their household size to see if they make too much money to file for Chapter 7 relief. If you are unsure whether you qualify, try using the Upsolve’s Chapter 7 Means Test calculator.
Median Income Levels for Alaska
Alaska Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
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Poverty Levels for Alaska
Alaska Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Alaska Bankruptcy Forms
It’s a good idea to double check before you start filling out your Wasilla bankruptcy forms to see which forms your Court requires. Alaska adopted the federal bankruptcy forms as the proper forms to use, so there shouldn’t be any confusion here. You don’t have a pile of Alaska bankruptcy forms to worry about – in fact, there is only one for a very specific situation. You are required to send in a form explaining yourself to the Court if you failed to comply with filing requirements that you submit your paystubs along with your bankruptcy forms during filing.
It’s not true that people Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wasilla will have their assets taken to pay their creditors. 96% of people filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy have no assets taken thanks to exemptions, which protect certain assets and prohibit creditors from taking certain property a debtor owns. Anyone who has lived in The Last Frontier for two years or more years before filing bankruptcy can elect to use either the federal bankruptcy exemptions or the Alaska bankruptcy exemptions to try and protect their assets. Some exemptions are the same for both Alaska and the federal exemptions, and other differ in the amount you can protect. Depending on the assets you have, choosing one over the other may benefit you greatly.