Andrea Wimmer, Esq

Andrea Wimmer, Esq

Andrea practiced exclusively as debtors’ counsel in consumer chapter 7 and 13 cases for more than 10 years before joining Upsolve, first as a contributing writer and editor and ultimately joining the team full time in August 2019. While in private practice, Andrea handled all bankruptcy matters from inception to case closure while also acting as managing attorney for her firm, Marco | Wimmer PLLC. Andrea has been a speaker at, among other events, ABI’s Southwest Bankruptcy Conference, Norton’s Bankruptcy Institute and the Arizona State Bar Convention. In 2017, she was selected as one of [ABI's 40 under 40](https://abi40under40.org/ "ABI 40 under 40") honorees. She is a member of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judge’s NextGen Class of 2016, and she received the 2014 Member of the Year Award and a Special Appreciation Award from a local consumer attorney group, as well as a Distinguished Service Award from ABAIC. She has published in NACBA’s Consumer Bankruptcy Journal and the State Bar of Arizona Bankruptcy Section Journal, and currently serves as treasurer of the Arizona Consumer Bankruptcy Counsel. She has also been a volunteer attorney with the Arizona Bankruptcy Court’s Self-Help Center, which provides assistance to pro se debtors.

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How Do I Reaffirm My Car Loan?

The 6-step process of reaffirming a car loan.

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How often can you file bankruptcy?

In this article, we will look at just how often you can file bankruptcy depending on the previous chapter you filed and what other debt-relief options are available if someone is precluded from filing bankruptcy. We’ll also take a look at whether a bankruptcy attorney can help you file bankruptcy sooner.

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I have not filed yet and I am starting a new job. Should I update my forms?

Congratulations on your new job! If you haven't filed yet, and you really don't know what your monthly income will be until your first paycheck comes in, you have one of two options for how to handle this.

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What is a Bankruptcy Trustee?

The bankruptcy trustee is responsible for reviewing your case and conducting the meeting of creditors. Understanding what they do will help you become even better prepared in your bankruptcy case.

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What are the Illinois Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you have done a bit of research on bankruptcy cases in Illinois or exempt property, you will probably have come across the terms federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions. Many states in the US allow people to choose between the federal exemptions and state exemptions. However, you don’t have that option in Illinois. In Illinois, you are not permitted to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions if you’ve lived in the state for at least 2 years when you file bankruptcy. Fortunately, Illinois has generous bankruptcy exemptions that can protect your property.

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What are the Texas Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you live in Texas, you are lucky. It is one of the best states in the US in which to file bankruptcy. Here is why you will benefit from filing bankruptcy in Texas. Some US states, including Texas, allow filers to choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and the state exemptions. However, it has to be one or the other—if you opt for the Texas state exemptions, you cannot cherry-pick specific exemptions off the federal bankruptcy exemptions, and vice versa.

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What are the Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you have done some research on bankruptcy cases or exempt property, you will probably have come across the terms federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions. Although the federal Bankruptcy Code has a list of bankruptcy exemptions, these exemptions aren’t available in Florida. In Florida, you are not permitted to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Florida residents have to use the state exemptions. Also, you can use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions contained in the federal law if you have any assets covered by them.

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What are the California Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you are a California resident, you can’t protect your possessions, like bank deposits and commercial vehicles, under the Bankruptcy Code’s exemptions. So, Californians filing bankruptcy have to use California exemption law. Some states permit filers to choose between a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions and the state exemption system. However, California isn’t one of them. California is called an “opt-out” state, which means federal bankruptcy exemptions are not available to filers in the state.

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What are the Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Arizona has opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions. If you’ve lived in Arizona for at least 2 years when your bankruptcy is filed, you have to use the Arizona exemption laws. This article explores the exemptions available under Arizona law.

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How to get debt relief without risking your safety

Filing for bankruptcy protection can be a powerful step towards not only financial freedom, but freedom from financial oppression. It is possible to get this relief without risking your or your children’s safety. This article is all about making sure that your abuser can’t use the bankruptcy court system to further victimize you. 

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Bankruptcy Statistics

The bankruptcy statistics in this article will provide a high-level view of consumer bankruptcy filings around the country, bankruptcy rates from state to state, the types of bankruptcy cases most often filed, and the financial problems that trigger bankruptcy filings.

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What are the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions?

There are both federal laws and state laws that apply to bankruptcy and each set of laws has its own bankruptcy exemptions. The federal government makes its federal bankruptcy exemptions available to anyone who files Chapter 7 bankruptcy regardless of what state they file in. But, each state has the right to restrict its residents to using the state exemptions, having “opted out” of the federal bankruptcy exemptions.

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What does the bankruptcy discharge do?

A bankruptcy discharge is an order from the Bankruptcy Court that is granted to the filer in a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Discharge orders are also entered in Chapter 13 cases, but only if the filer is eligible for a discharge, which most often includes completing the payment plan. The debt that is discharged depends in part on the type of bankruptcy you file.

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The trustee says I owe money/asset to the estate. What should I do?

What it means and what to do if a bankruptcy trustee says you owe money or an asset to the bankruptcy estate.

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Can I erase judgments in bankruptcy?

If you've been sued by someone you owe money to, your bankruptcy discharge will protect you from having to pay the judgment, but that's not true for all judgments. Here is an overview of what types judgements are erased in bankruptcy and examples of judgment that can't.

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How do I know whether the court approved my application for a fee waiver?

Anyone who earns less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines is eligible to apply for a fee waiver. But, that doesn’t automatically mean they will receive one. The court has full discretion on whether to grant a fee waiver application based on the information contained in the fee waiver application.

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What should I do if I don't perfectly remember my expenses?

Do your best to estimate them and don't get too sidetracked by trying to be perfect. It can be tough to know exactly how much you’re spending on certain expenses. This is especially true if you have been cutting back on your regular living expenses while trying to stay afloat. This article explains some ways you can use to calculate your expenses for your bankruptcy forms.

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Store Cards and Bankruptcy

Issuing credit cards to their customers is a favorite and quite effective marketing technique used by many retail stores. It makes the customer feel special and come back to take advantage of the “deals” only available to card holders. Common examples include Best Buy, Kohl’s and Apple credit cards. This article explores how store credit cards are treated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Objection to Discharge

Although it doesn’t happen in most consumer cases, creditors have the ability to object to having their debt discharged. Some debts are not dischargeable by default. Others become non-dischargeable once a creditor objects and the court finds that cause exists to exclude a certain debt from being discharged. This article will explore why an unsecured creditor - like a credit card company or bank - would object to a discharge and how the process works.

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Can I keep using my credit cards until I file bankruptcy?

Once you’ve decided that you’ll be filing bankruptcy to deal with your debt, you should not continue to incur new debt. That includes making new charges on your credit card, or getting a new loan. 

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Should I File Bankruptcy for My Business?

If you're in debt because of your business, bankruptcy may allow you to wipe your slate clean.

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What is the presumption of abuse in bankruptcy? 

While every American has the right to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy,there are specific income requirements you must meet to be eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge. If your current monthly income exceeds these limits, then a presumption of abuse exists in your bankruptcy case. This article will explain what the presumption of abuse is, why it exists when it arises, and how it can be overcome. Finally, we take a brief look at what it means to file Chapter 7 even though a presumption of abuse exists in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

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Which states allow me to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions?

Find out which states allow filers to choose between their state's exemptions and the federal bankruptcy exemptions.

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Why can’t I login to my account to pay my car loan anymore?

After a bankruptcy filing, some creditors block you from logging in to your account. This becomes a problem if you want to keep your car and need to make your payment. Unfortunately, there isn’t much consistency among lenders on when and why they do it. They say it’s because they don’t want to violate the automatic stay. Unfortunately, what it really does is make it much harder for the filer to make their payment. 

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Debt Consolidation v Bankruptcy – Which is Better?

Almost anyone who is experiencing difficulty paying their bills and considering filing for bankruptcy will come across advertisements or solicitations for something known as “debt consolidation.” This article will discuss the difference between debt consolidation and bankruptcy and give you some help in deciding which is better for you.

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What’s the difference between a discharge and dismissal in bankruptcy?

Many individuals filing bankruptcy for the first time are unsure of the terminology used by lawyers and the courts. Two words that frequently confuse first-time filers are “dismissed” and “discharged.” The purpose of this article is to explain the difference between the two and when lawyers and the court are most likely to use them when referring to your case.

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What to do if your income increases after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy

The first thing you should do is give yourself a high five. Whether you found a new job or got a raise in your old job, getting paid more this week than last week is always a good thing! If you’re a few months into your case, then you don’t have to do anything. If it changed shortly after your case was filed, wait for the creditors’ meeting and let the trustee know during the meeting that your income has changed. Depending on how much it changed, they may say don’t worry about it or request that you file updated forms. 

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I am being sued by a creditor and I have an upcoming court date. What should I do?

It depends on how soon the court date is, and where you are in the process of getting ready to file your bankruptcy case. If your bankruptcy case hasn’t been filed by the court date, make sure you attend the hearing. Otherwise, the judge can potentially grant a default judgment against you simply because you didn’t show up. 

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What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy that provides relief for folks who make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7. At its core, it’s a reorganization that allows the filer to pay as much as their budget can handle instead of trying to keep up with each creditors’ minimum monthly payments.

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Can I File For Bankruptcy After Moving To A New State?

Yes, you can file bankruptcy after moving, but it may get a little more complicated. If you're moving to a new state, or have recently moved, you’ll need to know which bankruptcy property exemptions now apply to you. In this article, we will discuss the timing issues and other factors that may accompany a recent relocation. 

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How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on My Credit Report?

Most people who file for bankruptcy are looking to build healthier financial futures. So, it’s only natural that bankruptcy filers often worry about how bankruptcy affects their credit report and FICO score. One of the most common questions a bankruptcy attorney hears is “How long will the bankruptcy stay on my credit report?” How long bankruptcy stays on your credit report depends on which type of bankruptcy you file.

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How Long Does Bankruptcy Stay on My Credit Report?

Most people who file for bankruptcy are looking to build healthier financial futures. So, it’s only natural that bankruptcy filers often worry about how bankruptcy affects their credit report and FICO score. One of the most common questions a bankruptcy attorney hears is “How long will the bankruptcy stay on my credit report?” How long bankruptcy stays on your credit report depends on which type of bankruptcy you file.

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What is Unsecured Debt?

You can get rid of unsecured debt by filing a bankruptcy case. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases eliminate most unsecured debts.

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Is Upsolve real? Is this a legitimate service?

Yes! Upsolve is 100% a legitimate service! We are a small mission-driven team of dedicated individuals, focused on a single goal: Helping low-income Americans struggling with too much debt get a fresh start by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptc

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Can I leave debts out of my bankruptcy?

Even though it might seem to make sense to leave certain debts out of your bankruptcy filing, you're not permitted to actually do so.

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What is a luxury item and why does it matter for my Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

A luxury item is something that is not reasonably necessary for your maintenance and support. It’s something you don’t need to live. Non-luxury items, on the other hand, are things you purchase to cover necessities for yourself and your dependents. Things like groceries, utilities, rent, and gas. The term luxury item includes both products and services that cost more than $725.

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Help, my 341 meeting is coming up and I can’t find my social security card!

Ideally, you’ll have located your social security card at the very beginning of the process and have everything ready to go by the time your creditors’ meeting rolls around. Of course, life doesn’t always go as planned. If you can’t find your social security card in time for the meeting, bring last year’s form W-2 from your employer or one of the other accepted alternatives.

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Why does the bankruptcy court need my social security number? 

Interestingly, there is nothing in the Bankruptcy Code itself that requires the filer to have a social security number. But, your social security number is how you obtain and maintain credit and how your tax filings and liabilities are tracked, so the bankruptcy court system uses it to keep track of bankruptcy cases. So, if you have a social security number, you have to provide it to the bankruptcy court.

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I had a car accident after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. What do I do now?

While a property settlement from the insurance company may have to be paid to the trustee, any personal injury settlement you’re entitled to as a result of the accident is yours to keep. This article will explore what steps to take if you get in a car accident after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Cash Advances and Bankruptcy

A cash advance is exactly what it sounds like. Someone gives you cash, you pay it back. There are a variety of different forms of cash advances, but they all have this in common. You get cash in a certain amount. You pay it back with interest.  Getting a cash advance right before filing bankruptcy is a big red flag for a couple of reasons. This article explains how.

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Giving gifts before filing bankruptcy

The bankruptcy system doesn’t care about the fact that you purchased your kids some toys for Christmas, or that you’re giving a friend a $10 gift card for their birthday. But, you will be required to list all persons who received gifts with a combined value greater than $600 within the 2 years before your bankruptcy case is filed. This article discusses how gift giving is viewed in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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My children receive social security benefits. Do I include this as income in my bankruptcy?

There are two locations in your bankruptcy forms where income has to be disclosed, the means test and your Schedule I. This article explores whether and when you should include social security benefits your child receives as part of your household income in your bankruptcy forms.

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Can I file bankruptcy with my deceased spouse?

No, you can't file bankruptcy jointly with your late spouse. But, you can (and should) make sure that all of their debts are listed on your schedules so any payment obligation you may have to the creditors can be discharged in as part of your case.

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Can I file bankruptcy if I’m in a debt relief program?

Yes, you can absolutely file for bankruptcy relief even after attempting to work things out through an alternative debt relief program. Once your bankruptcy case is filed, you can stop making the payments under the debt relief plan you’re in (if you haven’t already) and your obligation to pay the debt will be eliminated for good when your discharge is entered. Continue reading to learn more about how the different debt relief options can impact your bankruptcy case.

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What to do if I realized that the address for one of my creditors has changed since my case was filed?

If you notice that your creditor’s address has changed on a document/letter they sent to you regarding your bankruptcy, it’s likely that they’ve already provided their new/updated address to the court.

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How to update a creditor’s address after filing

When you file bankruptcy, the court sends a document called the “Official Form 309A Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case — No Proof of Claim” to the creditors you listed on your bankruptcy paperwork. This form gives each creditor important information about your case and tells them what they need to do if they have a reasonable objection to your bankruptcy. If a creditor didn’t receive a copy of this notice because the court did not have the correct address, follow these steps to make sure this is corrected.

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What to do if I receive returned mail originally addressed to one of my creditors

If you receive a notice from the court in your bankruptcy case that was originally addressed to one of your creditors but returned to you, the creditor’s address may have been incorrect on your creditor’s matrix or changed after the case was filed.

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What to do if I receive a Notice of Undeliverable Mail from the court?

You’ll receive a Notice of Undeliverable Mail from the court if one (or more) notices to creditors were returned by the post office because their mailing address was incorrect. Typically, it includes instructions to add the new/updated mailing address directly on the form notice and send it back to the court.

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What to do if I have a "Certificate of Notice" that says "undeliverable" next to creditors?

When you file bankruptcy, the court sends a document called the "Official Form 309A Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case -- No Proof of Claim" to the creditors you listed on your bankruptcy paperwork. This form gives each creditor important information about your case and tells them what they need to do if they have a reasonable objection to your bankruptcy.

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Can Social Security Overpayments be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

If you owe money to the government due to an overpayment of social security benefits, you may be concerned about whether you’ll be able to eliminate this debt as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Keep reading to learn how to make sure you are able to discharge your debt for this overpayment.

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What happens to the co-signer of a car in bankruptcy?

If you have bought a car and your loan has a co-signer, you may wonder what will happen to the co-signer when you file bankruptcy. This article explains your options and how they'll affect your co-signer.

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What is the difference between a co-signer and co-owner of a car?

A co-signer on a car loan is obligated to pay the loan if the other person defaults on their payment obligation while a co-owner of a car has an ownership interest in the vehicle itself. This article explains how to properly disclose these relationships in your bankruptcy forms.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy and Tax Refunds

It's pretty well-known that tax debts typically can't be discharged in bankruptcy. But what if you're getting a refund? This article answers some of the frequently asked questions about tax refunds and bankruptcy.

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I had my 341 meeting. Now what?

In the vast majority of Chapter 7 cases filed by consumers, not much will happen after the 341 meeting is concluded. In fact, in the time between your 341 meeting and the discharge, no news is often good news. Nevertheless, protect your own rights by carefully reviewing any correspondence you receive from the court or your trustee during that time.

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Can I keep my car if I file for bankruptcy?

As long as your car is worth less than the available exemption, your car is protected in your bnakruptcy. But, exemptions typically only come into play for property the filer owns free and clear. If you’re still making payments on your car loan, you should also learn about [reaffirmation agreements](https://https://upsolve.org/legal-definitions/reaffirmation-agreement/ "Definition of Reaffirmation Agreement"). This article will discuss what a reaffirmation agreement does and why it matters to you.

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What bills do I have to keep paying after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

One of the biggest benefits of filing bankruptcy is the automatic stay that goes into effect as soon as the case is filed. It means that your creditors (those you owe a debt) are not allowed to keep asking you for money. But, just because you don’t have to pay your debts after filing bankruptcy, you’ll still have some expenses to pay going forward. This article will explore what kind of bills a person filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy has to pay even after their case is filed.

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How to Amend your Statement of Intentions

The Statement of Intentions is the bankruptcy form that you filed with the court to let your creditors know what you want to do with your secured debts, most often a car loan. If you have changed your mind and need to amend (update) your Statement of Intentions, follow the steps outlined in this article.

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Why do reaffirmation agreements exist? 

A brief overview of why reaffirmation agreements exist and their purpose.

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What is an Adversary Proceeding in Bankruptcy?

An adversary proceeding is a like a lawsuit that takes place as part of the bankruptcy case. Adversary proceedings are generally the most complicated part of a bankruptcy proceeding, but they don't happen in every case.

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What should I do if I changed my mind about keeping my car after bankruptcy?

Did you originally plan on keeping your car but changed your mind? That is totally ok! Here is what you need to do to make sure you’re protected, depending on where you are in the process.

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How to add a creditor after filing my forms?

What follows is a step by step guide on how to add a creditor after filing bankruptcy. The process for this is often very specific and differs from district to district, but there are some things that are the same across the board. If you're an Upsolve user, you can use the case editor and the self-service amendment feature to update your forms.

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Filing bankruptcy while self-employed

Do you own your own business and are your own boss? Congratulations! You're living the American dream! Of course, if you're finding yourself in financial difficulties, the American dream of being self employed can feel a little bit like a nightmare. This article will explore the two most typical ways individuals own businesses, and how it impacts your options when it comes to getting lasting debt relief through a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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How to get your credit report for free

There are three ways to request a copy of your free credit report.

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How to find the right bankruptcy lawyer for your case

In this article, we'll explore whether you need an attorney to file bankruptcy, how you can make sure you hire the bankruptcy attorney that is right for you, and what kind of resources are available to find a bankruptcy lawyer near you. Learn how to choose the right bankrutpcy lawyer for your situation based on what matters most!

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Verification of Creditor Matrix Explained

Learn about the verification of creditor matrix.

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Requirements for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Deciding to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy should involve a review of everything that is required to successfully get a bankruptcy discharge after the bankruptcy filing. What follows is an overview of the requirements to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the requirements to getting your Chapter 7 discharge.

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A Guide to Leases in Bankruptcy

A lease is an agreement between a lessor and lessee, usually involving rental property or a vehicle. Learn how to deal with your lease in a bankrutpcy so there are no unexpected surprises!

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What should I do if a creditor keeps contacting me after I file bankruptcy?

Find out what to do if a creditor keeps contacting you even after your bankruptcy has been filed.

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What is Equity?

Equity is calculated by taking the value of your property and subtracting any outstanding loans you have on it.

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What does it mean that my debts have been discharged and what should I do now?

A discharge order that tells your creditors they are forever prohibited from asking you to pay your pre-bankruptcy debts ever again.

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Does Bankruptcy Affect My Disability Benefits?

Find out whether you can keep your social security disability benefits during your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Can I keep money I receive from a lawsuit in bankruptcy?

Yes, you can usually keep a personal injury award to the extent it is protected by exemptions, either federal exemptions or your state’s exemptions.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

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