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 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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3 things you should know about the personal financial management course

Every individual seeking bankruptcy relief must complete two educational courses: The credit counseling course is completed before the bankruptcy petition is filed with the court. The second course, on the other hand, can’t be completed until after the case has been filed. Without completing both courses, a bankruptcy filer cannot get their bankruptcy discharge. Here are 3 things you should know about the personal financial management course, including how it's different from credit counseling.

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How to get your credit report for free

Your credit report has a lot of power over your daily life - whether that's when you go to get a new car or are applying for an apartment. In addition to using credit responsibly, keeping an eye on your credit report is one of the most valuable things you can do to make sure your financial house is as stable as possible. There are three ways to request a copy of your free credit report.

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6 things you should to know about the Statement of Intentions

If you’re planning on filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have a car loan or other secured debt, here are 6 things you should know about the Statement of Intentions.

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Why do reaffirmation agreements exist? 

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

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Why it can make sense to wait to file bankruptcy if your tax refund was taken by a student loan lender

There are not many creditors that can withhold, or set off, your tax refund before it ever hits your bank account. The most common instance of this is when the IRS keeps your refund and applies it to a prior year's balance owed. But that's not the only time this can happen. Another reason for the federal government to withhold all or a portion of your tax refund is if you're in default with federal student loans. Since student loans aren't automatically discharged in bankruptcy, this can be a blessing in disguise. However, timing matters, and depending on when your tax refund was taken by the government, you may be better off waiting a bit to file your bankruptcy case.

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When Should You File for Bankruptcy?

Millions of Americans feel overwhelmed by debt, but that doesn’t mean all of them should file bankruptcy. There are multiple paths to debt relief, depending on your unique circumstances. Bankruptcy is only one. However, when other possible solutions, such as debt settlement and debt consolidation fall short, bankruptcy may be the most effective way to discharge debt and get the fresh start you need. Read on for more information about the different types of bankruptcy, and how to determine if filing might be right for you.

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Will my landlord be notified that I filed for bankruptcy?

It depends. If you are on a month-to-month rental agreement, then the landlord doesn't have to know that you filed. 

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Sued For a Credit Card You Can’t Pay? Find Out How to Settle Credit Card Debt Before Going to Court in 6 Steps

If you have a pile of unpaid debt from a credit card that you aren’t able to make even the minimum monthly credit card payments on, you might be facing a credit card lawsuit. Many companies will consider filing this kind of lawsuit about six months after someone stops paying. To avoid facing debt lawsuits, you can try to work out a settlement with your credit card so you can get some debt relief without paying the full amount of debt. Read on to learn some tips to prepare for negotiations.

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Car Repossession 101

Having your car repossessed can feel very sudden, like a slap in the face. Many states don’t require any paperwork about repossession before a car is towed. In some cases, itcan be repossessed after only 30 days of no car payments on the loan. This article will answer some common questions about vehicle repossession, including why does it happen, what the steps are in this process, and how you can get your car back, after it’s been repossessed.

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How to Find Out What Debt Collectors You Owe

If it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of debt, it can seem impossible to find a life raft. Getting a handle on who you owe, and how much money you owe them is an important first step to sorting out your personal finances. Even though this can be intimidating and might feel hopeless, by going through everything and letting it air out, you’ll be able to take some concrete steps towards moving past your debts. This article will give you some tips for taking the bull by the horn and sorting out your financial life.

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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. This article will discuss what a reaffirmation agreement does and why it matters to you.

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Do I own my vehicle? What percentage of it do I own?

Whether or not you own your vehicle depends on whether you purchased it using a loan or leased it from a dealer or other agency.

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I believe a creditor listed on my petition has violated the automatic stay. What can I do?

The automatic stay goes into effect as soon as your bankruptcy petition has been filed with the court and a case-number assigned to your case. The automatic stay prohibits creditors from trying to collect a debt from you. Creditors and their attorneys know that the bankruptcy court can order them to pay sanctions to the bankruptcy filer if they violate the automatic stay.

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When will my wage garnishment stop after I file? What should I do to make sure it stops?

Wage garnishments have to stop immediately once your case is filed but you should allow time for the creditor to provide your employer with the necessary paperwork to actually cause the stop. If your case is filed the day before your next payday, chances are you're paycheck will still be garnished, as the payroll has already been processed. However, you'll get that money back.

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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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Confused about what happened at your reaffirmation hearing? You're not alone!

The process of reaffirming a loan - most often a loan secured by a vehicle - can be one of the most confusing aspects of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This article will go through the possible outcomes following a reaffirmation hearing and explain what each means. But first, let’s do a quick reaffirmation recap!

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What happens if your debt goes to a collections company?

Most of us have a pile of “to-dos” that never seem to be done. For many people, this includes a stack of bills and debts that just keep getting higher. As much as you’d love to pay off that medical debt, there’s never quite enough to go around on payday. Having this debt hang over your head can be really stressful. A lot of people sit up at night, worrying about what will happen next to their debt. Read more to find out what debt collectors can – and can’t – do, how they might legally be able to claim that money, and how this might affect your credit history.

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Bankruptcy and the Homestead Exemption

Bankruptcy exemptions play an important role in Chapter 7 cases, and the homestead exemption may be the most important of all. It’s the homestead exemption that makes it possible for many people to wipe out unsecured debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy without losing their homes. In this article, you’ll learn how the homestead exemption may protect your house in bankruptcy. We’ll also touch on some of the limitations of the homestead exemption. And, we’ll discuss alternatives for people who aren’t fully protected by their state’s exemptions.

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Can I buy or refinance a car during Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Yes, you can buy a new (to you) car while your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is pending. If possible, wait until your discharge has been granted as that will give you more negotiating power with the bank.

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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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How to Deal with Debt Collectors (when you can’t pay)

If you’re receiving calls from debt collectors about unpaid debt, there’s an obvious way to make it go away: Pay off the debt in question. But what if you’re at a point where it’s impossible for you to pay? It might seem like you’re out of options, but don’t despair - there’s a way out of this.

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What Happens if You Ignore Debt Collectors?

Most of us don’t like talking to debt collectors. Anxiety over past-due bills runs high enough. No one wants the added pressure of collection calls and threatening letters. To make matters worse, many people who have collection accounts feel powerless. When there isn’t enough money to go around, it may seem pointless to pick up the phone and talk to a collection agency. Even talking with an original creditor can be tough once your account moves into collection status. Fortunately, you have options for taking charge of your debt and rebuilding financial security. Upsolve is here to help you find the information you need to make the right decision for you and your family.

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What happens after the Meeting of Creditors?

The 341 meeting often marks the last official step the filer in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case has to complete. Here is what happens after the 341 meeting.

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How to calculate your income for your bankruptcy forms if you’re self-employed

If you're self-employed, you likely aren't getting regular paycheck stubs to help you figure out your monthly income. This article will provide some tips on how to figure out your income for your bankruptcy forms even without a paycheck stub. Your income is calculated differently depending on whether you have a business entity or are a sole proprietor or independent contractor. Let's first take a look at what is considered income depending on how your business is set up and then figure out how to calculate your income for your bankruptcy forms.

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6 simple steps to stop wage garnishment with bankruptcy

While this may sound like a scary process, you're mostly acting as the middle man, making sure that everyone is on the same page and is doing what they need to, so your next paycheck is not garnished again. Ultimately, if the creditor fails to take the necessary steps to stop the garnishment, you can ask the court to sanction them. The creditors - and their attorneys - know this and generally don't want to get called into court to explain their actions.

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Does bankruptcy help with wage garnishment?

In many cases, yes. If you were sued for your credit card or medical debt, and your wages are being garnished as a result of this lawsuit, then bankruptcy can stop wage garnishment. The same may apply to older tax debts. 

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How Can I Stop My Wages From Being Garnished?

Wage garnishment is a common problem for millions of Americans. It can be deflating to have your wages garnished. But you do have options to protect yourself.

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How do I know if my trustee is going to seize an asset?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy and if the filer has property that is not protected by the available exemptions, the bankruptcy trustee sells the property for the benefit of all unsecured creditors. The vast majority of all consumer Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases filed in the United States do not result in the sale of any assets by the trustee. Trustees never simply come and take an asset - whether that’s money in your bank account or a boat sitting in your driveway. Let’s look at what you can review to determine whether your trustee is likely to seize an asset from you and what to expect once your case is filed.

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Preparing for your 341 meeting during the COVID-19 emergency

On April 24, 2020 the U.S. Trustee Program, extended its requirement that all 341 meetings be conducted telephonically or other alternative means through July 10, 2020. This means that trustees are relieved from the requirement to conduct these meetings in person. Learn more about what to expect in your case.

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Filing your pro se bankruptcy forms during the COVID 19 Outbreak

Although most courts are closed to the public, you can still file your bankruptcy case by submitting your forms. In person filing has been suspended at most courts for the time being and each court has established its own specific filing procedures. This article is intended to provide you with a general overview of how the COVID-19 outbreak impacts your options for filing your bankruptcy forms. To find instructions for your court, visit your court’s website. Please be sure to closely follow the instructions provided by the court on how to file your bankruptcy forms. 

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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 are Priority Unsecured Debts?

We usually hear debts divided into two categories: secured and unsecured. A debt is secured if the lender has a security interest in some property and can take that property if you don’t pay. But, in bankruptcy, there are other important distinctions. Some unsecured debts get special treatment. In this article, we’ll explain the different types of unsecured debt, and what it means when a debt has priority.

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Corporate Bankruptcy Explained

When a corporation gets into financial trouble, the company may be able to file for bankruptcy protection. In some ways, corporate bankruptcy is like consumer bankruptcy. But, there are also important differences. In this article, you’ll learn how the two types of business bankruptcy differ, how each works, and how corporate bankruptcy is different from personal bankruptcy.

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Everything the Average American Consumer needs to know about Involuntary Bankruptcy

While no one ever wants to file bankruptcy, the vast majority of bankruptcy cases filed in the United States are voluntary bankruptcy cases. Voluntary bankruptcy cases are initiated when the debtor submits their voluntary petition to the bankruptcy court. It is possible, however, for creditors to initiate an involuntary bankruptcy case against someone.

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Does Bankruptcy Clear Judgments?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate many unsecured debts. Some unsecured debt can even be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. But, what happens if credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, or other unsecured debt is reduced to judgment? When a creditor or debt buyer files a lawsuit and gets a judgment against you, that generally doesn’t change whether the debt is dischargeable. That means some judgment debts are dischargeable and some are nondischargeable. The question becomes a bit more complicated if the creditor gets a judgment lien on your property. But, you may be able to avoid judgment liens in bankruptcy, keep your property, and discharge the debt. Here’s how it works.

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How can a trustee find out about an inheritance?

The Bankruptcy Code provides that an inheritance the filer becomes entitled to receive in the 180 days after their case is filed has to be turned over to the bankruptcy trustee so it can be paid to creditors. This article will explore why this rule exists, how it works exactly, and why it’s never a good idea to try and hide things from the trustee.

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Can small business owners obtain debt relief through Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Owning your own business has a lot of benefits. You’re the boss and you get to make the rules. On the downside, you take on a lot of risk, and you’re responsible for managing the books. This is doubly so when it comes to your bankruptcy filing. Read on to learn what you should know about business bankruptcy and Chapter 13.

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Guide to Bankruptcy Relief for Small Businesses

Small business owners who are struggling to pay the bills can often find relief, and even keep their businesses afloat, by filing business bankruptcy. But all bankruptcies are not created equal. To ensure that the outcome aligns with your goals, it is important to determine which type of bankruptcy is best for your unique situation.

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What are preferential payments in bankruptcy?

Preferential payments, or preferences, are payments made to creditors before a bankruptcy case is filed that allow the creditor to receive more than they would have been able to recover in the bankruptcy case. Such preferential payments can be recovered by the bankruptcy trustee so the funds can be distributed to all unsecured creditors in shares. This article will explore what constitutes a preferential payment and why it matters to you if you’re thinking about filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Do I still owe after my car is repossessed?

Unfortunately, having your car repossessed isn’t the end of the road on your car loan. Many Americans owe more on their car than it is worth and their loan is “underwater.” Here’s what you need to know about vehicle repossession and how Chapter 7 bankruptcy can offer some debt relief.

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What is Chapter 20 bankruptcy?

Some people struggling with overwhelming debt find that bankruptcy is the best debt relief solution for their unique situation. Determining which form of bankruptcy to file is largely dependent on the amount and types of debt held, and the financial situation of the individual or married couple. When considering bankruptcy, most people first learn about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, named for the Bankruptcy Code chapters that govern how they work. But a lesser-known arrangement, Chapter 20 bankruptcy, functions as a hybrid of the two.

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I’m being evicted. Can Upsolve help?

It depends. If your landlord already has won an eviction judgment against you, you have a complicated case that isn’t a good fit for Upsolve. If your landlord is only in the process of suing for eviction, you can use Upsolve.

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Discharging student loans in bankruptcy: The Brunner Test

Under the current Bankruptcy Code, an individual cannot discharge student loans in bankruptcy unless retaining this type of student debt would cause undue hardship. To determine whether such a hardship exists, the bankruptcy courts conduct an analysis known as the Brunner test.

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How to avoid an identity crisis about the way you make a living

If you’re not a traditional wage earner who gets a W-2 from their employer in January every year, you may be confused as to what you “are” when it comes to terms like self-employed, sole proprietor, independent contractor, gig worker, or small business owner. Let’s take a look at some important differences so you can map out your best path to lasting debt relief.

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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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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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If I file for bankruptcy, will it hurt my co-signer’s credit score?

__No__. In short, if you file bankruptcy, your social security number is the one the bankruptcy attaches to. A co-signer’s social security number will not be involved, and thus the bankruptcy does not go on their credit.

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What relief can I expect now that Congress has passed the CARES Act?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by the president last week provides emergency relief in a variety of forms. What follows is not intended to be a comprehensive list but rather a general overview of the types of relief made available by the Act most likely to benefit our users.

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What are the Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions?

There is some good news for Oregonians who are looking to file for bankruptcy protection in the state. Note that now there are 2 separate systems of bankruptcy exemptions to protect Oregon filers in bankruptcy. The Governor signed a significant law on July 1, 2013, that now allows individuals filing either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the state to elect to use federal bankruptcy exemptions. It is a huge change to the bankruptcy process in Oregon with a substantial impact on bankruptcy cases now being filed.

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What are the Colorado Bankruptcy Exemptions?

While the U.S. Bankruptcy Code operates in basically the same way throughout the country, there is one important exception: States have the ability to choose whether their residents can use the federal bankruptcy exemptions or have to use the exemptions available under state law even in a bankruptcy. While some US states allow people to choose between exemptions drafted by state lawmakers and federal bankruptcy exemptions, as a Colorado resident, you are not permitted to use the federal exemptions. Fortunately, Colorado has generous bankruptcy exemptions that can protect your property. So, you will have to use Colorado’s bankruptcy exemptions and federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, if applicable in your case. Unless stated otherwise, married couples in the state filing together can usually “double” the amount, provided both have an ownership interest in the relevant asset or property.

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What is the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline?

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an intimidating and daunting process. Especially if it's not something you've ever dealt with before, you may not know where to begin or how it ends. Here is an overview of what to expect as you prepare for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy and what happens after your case has been filed with the bankruptcy court. 

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What are Non-Dischargeable Debts in a Bankruptcy Filing?

Non-dischargeable debts are debts that can’t be eliminated in a bankruptcy because the U.S. Bankruptcy Code doesn’t allow it. If you have non-dischargeable debts, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case will not get rid of the debt. However, a Chapter 7 case can get rid of other debts so that you can pay non-dischargeable debts. Most debts are eligible for a discharge in Chapter 7.

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What is an asset in bankruptcy?

Everything you own or have an interest in is considered an asset in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Whether the bankruptcy trustee will use an asset to pay your creditors depends on whether the asset is protected by an exemption. Even if it's not protected, the asset itself has to be of enough value to make selling it worh the trustee's effort.

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Chapter 7 Document Checklist

Filing bankruptcy is a very document intensive process. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as the petition the filer submits to the bankruptcy court can be up to 100 pages long. Since preparing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be stressful, scary, and confusing, it can be helpful to use checklists to keep yourself on track. In this article, we’ll look at what documents you’ll need to gather to ensure your case proceeds smoothly and without unnecessary complications.

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What is Debt and How Should I Handle It?

Debt is money borrowed that has to be paid back over a period of time. Lending institutions, like banks, will lend you money so you can make a purchase. In turn they expect you to pay them back, with interest. Debt can be classified in two broad categories: corporate debt vs. personal debt. Corporate debt involves loans between businesses and, generally speaking, has little to no impact on personal debt. This article will explain the most common types of consumer (personal) debt and how to handle it.

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How can I surrender my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

"Surrendering" your car means that you give it back to the lender that gave you the loan to purchase it. If you surrender your car as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any debt that you owe on it will be eliminated when you receive your bankruptcy discharge.

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What’s a set off and why does the court want to know about it?

A set off is when a bank takes money out of your bank account because you defaulted on your payment obligations on a debt owed to that bank. Normally, creditors have to get a judgment before they can reach the funds in your checking or saving accounts, but there is an exception to that general rule: When you have a credit card or loan with your bank, the agreement (either the credit card agreement or the loan documents) will often give the bank the right to pay themselves directly out of your account in the event of a default. 

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Is my stimulus money at risk if I file bankruptcy before I get the funds?

The funds you’re expecting will be an asset of your bankruptcy estate. There is nothing in the CARES Act, the relief bill that created the stimulus, that suggests otherwise. This means the only way to protect the money is through a wildcard exemption.

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How to tell if you have property that is not protected by an exemption

Schedule A/B lists everything you own. Schedule C lists all everything you own that is protected by an exemption. Here is how you can tell what’s protected by an exemption by looking at your Schedule C, complete with an example to illustrate what it means when something is only partially exempt.

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How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt When You Have No Money

There are a number of strategies to put in place when you find yourself in credit card debt. Common advice includes tightening your budget, prioritizing your highest-interest accounts and negotiating with creditors. But those strategies only work if you actually have some money to put toward paying down your credit card debt. What are you supposed to do if you truly have little to no money to put toward your debt?

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What Does Bankruptcy Mean?

Bankruptcy is one of those words that everyone’s heard but many don’t really know what it means. Especially with so many high profile bankruptcies in the news these days, it can be hard to figure how bankruptcy can actually help a regular consumer. Let’s take a look at what bankruptcy means and how the different types of bankruptcy enable you to take back charge of your finances.

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Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Many low-income debtors have to decide between filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This Upsolve guide will help you figure out which type of bankruptcy is best for you.

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I lost most or all of my income due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Should I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

As we all navigate the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting global pandemic, the single biggest impact being felt by every-day Americans is the loss or significant reduction of household income. With so much uncertainty about so many things surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak, many are stressed and worried about their finances and trying to plan ahead. This article will explore whether bankruptcy can give you the relief you’re looking for and what to keep in mind when it comes to timing.

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If I surrender my vehicle, will I be responsible for any balance owed?

No. Even if the car is sold for much less than what you owe on the loan, your personal liability to pay the loan is discharged.

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

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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What does it mean to surrender your car in bankruptcy?

Surrendering your car in bankruptcy is similar to voluntarily surrendering your car when you can't make the payments any more, with one very important difference: Just giving your car back doesn't get you out of your loan. If you're surrendering your vehicle as part of your bankruptcy case, on the other hand, you're relieved from the obligation to pay off your car loan.

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What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy case that can be filed by individuals, married couples, and business entities. It’s the most common type of bankruptcy and provides the fastest form of debt relief. Further, even though it is a “liquidation” bankruptcy that provides for the sale of property to pay creditors, most individual Chapter 7 cases (more than 90%!) don’t require the filer to give up any of their belongings. Continue reading to learn more about how Chapter 7 bankruptcy works and learn more about what everyone filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy should know.

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What are the Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Although some states in the country allow people to choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions, this option is not available if you are filing bankruptcy in Ohio. Ohio, like many other states, has its own bankruptcy exemptions. If you’ve lived in Ohio for at least 2 years when filing your case, you have to use the Ohio bankruptcy exemptions and can’t use federal exemptions Note that one great advantage of using state bankruptcy exemptions in Ohio is that you will have an additional list of bankruptcy exemptions that might be available to you. So, while you have to use Ohio bankruptcy exemptions if you file a bankruptcy in the state, you can use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions as well. These exemptions protect certain qualifying property, like federal and military retirement benefits.

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What are the Wisconsin Bankruptcy Exemptions?

You will find a list of available exemptions in the federal Bankruptcy Code, or you may instead decide to use exemptions available under Wisconsin law. However, keep in mind that each state has the option of “opting out” of this scheme. Bankruptcy filers in an opt-out state may only use their state exemptions and not use the federal exemptions. As Wisconsin hasn’t opted out of the choice between state exemptions and federal exemptions, Wisconsinites who file bankruptcy can choose between federal bankruptcy exemptions or state exemptions. Actually, you will be happy to know that Wisconsin is one of the few US states that allows filers this choice, and this is a real advantage if you are filing Chapter 7 in the state. However, keep in mind that you are not allowed to cherry-pick exemptions from both lists; you can select only one set of exemptions. If you’re using Wisconsin law to exempt your property, you can also use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, if applicable. This also means that if you’re filing for bankruptcy in the state, you should review both sets of exemptions and then choose what scheme can best protect your property. Hiring an attorney can be helpful in this respect.

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What are the Michigan Bankruptcy Exemptions?

If you are considering filing bankruptcy in Michigan, 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 while others don’t. Michigan allows residents to choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and state exemptions. This is why you have more flexibility. However, keep in mind that you can’t protect property by using both sets of exemptions. You’ll have to pick the system that works best for you. A bankruptcy attorney can help you decide which exemptions are best for you. If you decide to use Michigan exemptions, then the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions will also be available to you. Spouses in Michigan who file a joint bankruptcy may double most, but not all, of the exemption amounts on the state exemption list. For example, Michigan spouses are restricted to one homestead exemption.

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What are the Virginia Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Exempt property, such as a car or trade implements, is free of the claims of your creditors and can’t be taken by your trustee to be liquidated. Laws in Virginia determine the types as well as the amount of exempt property. While the U.S. Bankruptcy Code applies in almost the same way throughout the country, there is one important exception you should be aware of; and that is the ability to protect your assets through bankruptcy exemptions. In many instances, the federal laws govern the bankruptcy process exclusively, but, in the context of bankruptcy exemptions, federal law allows each state to determine whether they would like to use the bankruptcy exemptions delineated under the federal law or create and use their own. Each state in the US has the choice of applying the federal bankruptcy exemptions or using their own list of asset values that will be protected or exempt from creditors in bankruptcy. While some states in the country allow people to choose between exemptions drafted by state lawmakers and federal exemptions, residents of Virginia who file for bankruptcy can only use the state exemptions expressly provided for in the state law. In Virginia, you are not permitted to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. You can use Virginia’s state exemptions and, if applicable, the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

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What are the Pros and Cons of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy has its pros and cons. Read this article to figure out whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good fit for you.

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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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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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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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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 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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Should I inform my tax preparer about my bankruptcy case

Yes. If you find out that you are owed a refund there may be special instructions provided by your trustee that you will need to follow regarding your refund check that your tax preparer must know before filing your returns.

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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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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 can go wrong at the meeting of creditors?

The meeting of creditors is the one time everyone filing for bankruptcy has to go to court to answer questions from their trustee. Naturally, it’s often the most stress inducing part of the entire case for the filer. Let’s take a look at what to expect at your creditors’ meeting, and, importantly, some of the things that can go wrong at the meeting (and how to avoid them).

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Chapter 7 Means Test Calculator

The Chapter 7 means test, generally just called the means test, is the analysis that determines whether a person is eligible for relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code based on their monthly income. It’s called the bankruptcy means test because, at its most basic level, it looks at whether someone has the means to pay their debts.

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What are the alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is not right for everyone or every situation. If you're not sure whether bankruptcy is right for you, knowing what alternatives are available to give you some relief from your debts is a critical part of making the right decision for you and your family. Let's take a look at some of the most common bankruptcy alternatives.

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Telephonic Hearings in Bankruptcy Court

A hearing is an appearance in court where one or more parties to the case show up in the courtroom to present something to the judge. A telephonic hearing is exactly what the name suggests: a court hearing that takes place over the telephone.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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 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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