Filing Bankruptcy in Hilo, Hawaii

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Written by the Upsolve Team.  
Updated September 29, 2020


Throughout your life, you try to protect yourself and your loved ones from financial hardship. However, despite your best intentions and meticulous planning, challenging times may come and go both with and without mistakes on your part. Nuisances like creditors’ collection letters, telephone calls, wage attachments, utility shutoff notices, bank account levies, auto repossessions, and foreclosures and evictions actions are all examples of things that usually make matters worse. Moreover, Hilo has a high poverty rate of 19%, which is a cause of concern for its residents. However, there’s definitely a solution. You can turn to Hawaii bankruptcy, either under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, to help repair your financial situation. 

Most folks file one of two types of bankruptcies in Hilo. Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo is ideal for people with little or no disposable income. Under this chapter, your unsecured debt, such as medical bills and credit card debt, are eliminated. Once you have filed for Hilo bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7, any collection activities by your creditors, like phone calls, lawsuits, and paycheck garnishments, etc. must stop immediately. On the other hand, under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you propose a payment plan that follows the terms and conditions outlined in the US bankruptcy laws, setting forth the repayment to your creditors over time. The first important step when filing bankruptcy in Hilo is to determine which type of bankruptcy suits you best. 

There are some myths and rumors that often discourage people in Hawaii from seeking the clean slate bankruptcy may provide. Many people don’t consider filing bankruptcy in Hilo as they think it is for the irresponsible and will tarnish their reputation. Many people in Hawaii think that filing bankruptcy is something that only irresponsible people do. While some irresponsible people in Hawaii file for bankruptcy, the truth is that there are far more instances of financially responsible folks filing for bankruptcy protection in the face of some unfortunate life experiences, like loss of employment and divorce. Many people in Hawaii think that filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo is a complicated and drawn-out process. This is another myth as most Hawaii bankruptcy cases are quite straightforward and you can get free legal help or file bankruptcy in Hilo on your own!  Don’t allow these unfounded bankruptcy myths to scare you.

Hilo Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost

If you are considering filing bankruptcy in Hilo, you would like to know how much you will have to pay your bankruptcy lawyer. And if a lawyer has already quoted you their price, you may want to see how it compares to what other bankruptcy lawyers charge. The typical cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Hilo ranges from $1,199 to $1,500. If you are finding it hard to arrange the cash, you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo on your own as it is not mandatory to hire a bankruptcy lawyer. You can save the money and use it to pay your filing fee.

How to File Bankruptcy in Hilo, Hawaii for Free

You may have a hard time affording the high fees charged by bankruptcy attorneys for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo. You may want to know how to file bankruptcy in Hilo for free. There is no rule in Hawaii that requires you to use a bankruptcy lawyer to file your case. You may do the filing yourself, especially if your case is simple. This City Guide will give you an overview of the Hilo bankruptcy process so that you can get bankruptcy relief.


Collect Your Hilo Bankruptcy Documents

Although the information you provide to the Hawaii Bankruptcy Court when filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo is, primarily, contained in the bankruptcy forms you’ll have to complete, there are some supporting documents that can make completing these bankruptcy forms easier for you. You can start by getting your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies. The bulk of the financial documents you will need to file bankruptcy can be categorized as your income documents (such as paycheck stubs and income tax returns) and documents pertaining to your debts (such as collection letters you’ve been receiving, and any lease agreements).

Take Credit Counseling

Before filing a Hawaii bankruptcy petition with the Court, you have to complete a credit counseling course during the 180 day period before your Hilo bankruptcy filing. You can attend bankruptcy credit counseling in person, or it can be done over the internet and the phone. The credit counseling agency you choose must be approved by the Office of the U.S. Trustee, for the State of Hawaii. You must file a completion certificate prepared by the credit counseling agency with the Bankruptcy Court. The main purpose of this course is to educate people filing bankruptcy in Hilo on all debt relief options available to them.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

Although you’re the only one who can take the counseling course in order to make you eligible for filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo, you may delegate the task of completing your Hawaii bankruptcy forms to your lawyer. You can easily download all official Hilo bankruptcy forms as fillable PDF documents for free. It’s important to be diligent and careful in completing your bankruptcy forms, as you’re signing everything under penalty of perjury. It will take a little time and patience, but you will save time in the long run as you won't have to fix anything later.

Get Your Filing Fee

The Court fee for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo is $335. If you make less than 150 % of the federal poverty guidelines, you are eligible to apply for a filing fee waiver. The Bankruptcy Court will decide whether you get a fee waiver after you file. Since not everyone filing bankruptcy in Hilo will qualify for a fee waiver, the Hawaii Bankruptcy Court also allows you to pay your fee in installments after your case is filed. You have to pay this fee in full by cash or money order. You can buy a money order at any U.S. Post Office near you.

At this time, only folks filing bankruptcy in Hilo with the help of an attorney are able to have their bankruptcy forms filed electronically. If you are filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo without a lawyer, you’ll have to submit the original hardcopy (signed) of your bankruptcy forms to the Bankruptcy Court. While filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo is a legal proceeding, all bankruptcy forms should be printed on regular 8.5" x 11" paper. Don’t print the bankruptcy forms you plan to give to the Court double-sided since the clerk's office won’t accept it. If you don’t have a printer, you should go to a local print shop, like Hilo Fine Art Center.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

While filing bankruptcy in Hilo is possible by mailing all your required bankruptcy documents to the Hawaii Bankruptcy Court, if possible, it’s best to go to the Court in person. This is because being there in person will provide you with the opportunity to rectify any mistakes and update any information you might have missed, thereby avoiding a potentially unnecessary delay. The clerk will stamp and process all of your Hilo bankruptcy documents. Make sure that you bring your complete set of bankruptcy forms, and do not forget the credit counseling certificate and your Court filing fee. Unlike those living on one of the other islands, you are lucky as the Hawaii Bankruptcy Court where you’ll need to file your documents is located in Honolulu.

Mail Documents to Your trustee

There are many individuals who play various roles in the Hawaii bankruptcy process. And one of these people is known as the bankruptcy trustee, who will handle several important aspects of your Hilo bankruptcy. The role of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy Trustee is to oversee your bankruptcy proceedings. Everyone filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo has a duty to cooperate with their bankruptcy Trustee. Your bankruptcy Trustee will review your assets in order to determine whether you have any property or assets that can be sold to satisfy the amounts you owe to creditors. You should know how much of your property is exempt and therefore can’t be taken by your bankruptcy Trustee.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

Your “Ticket Out” of Hawaii bankruptcy is debtor education.  Also known as ‘financial management’, people who have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, have to complete a debtor education course. Otherwise, you will not receive your bankruptcy discharge, which is the main point of filing bankruptcy in Hilo. Some of the things you will get help with during the course include budgeting, money management, and how to devise and stick to a financial plan. Debtor education course has to be taken from an agency that is approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office as only they can issue a valid completion certificate. 

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The purpose of the 341 meeting is quite simple. The meeting is designed to give all your creditors an opportunity to ask you questions about your debts. Also, this “meeting of creditors” functions as a brief review session: your Hawaii bankruptcy trustee will verify that you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo and have answered all questions on the bankruptcy forms truthfully. This meeting of creditors is often very short, taking about five minutes from start to finish. Your creditors are entitled to show up at this meeting, too, but seldom do, unless there was some fraud committed. Attendance at the 341 meeting is required, and failure to appear will likely result in your Hilo bankruptcy case being dismissed.

Dealing with Your Car

Many people tend to hold off on filing bankruptcy in Hilo as they’re concerned about how it will affect their vehicle. However, what they don’t realize is that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo gives them more options than they may otherwise have. If your vehicle is paid off, then everything will stay the same provided you properly disclose your car as an asset and can protect its full value with the relevant bankruptcy exemptions. If it does not make sense to keep your car, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo allows you to surrender your car and discharge the obligation on your loan. 

Hawaii Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Hilo

Hawaii Means Test

When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Hilo, you have to prove whether or not your current income qualifies you for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and determine, if necessary, your means to repay your creditors. The legal requirement for completing the Hawaii bankruptcy Means Test is used to determine this ability to repay your debts. Find out about the Chapter 7 income limits to make sure you are filing bankruptcy in Hilo under the proper chapter. The Hawaii bankruptcy Means Test is designed to prevent people with higher incomes from having all of their debts discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Median Income Levels for Hawaii

Hawaii Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income
1$5,498.08$65,977.00
2$6,468.42$77,621.00
3$8,385.00$100,620.00
4$9,531.75$114,381.00
5$10,281.75$123,381.00
6$11,031.75$132,381.00
7$11,781.75$141,381.00
8$12,531.75$150,381.00
9$13,281.75$159,381.00
10$14,031.75$168,381.00

Poverty Levels for Hawaii

Hawaii Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020

Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.

Household SizeState Poverty LevelFee Waiver Limit (150% PL)
1$1,223.33$1,835.00
2$1,652.50$2,478.75
3$2,081.67$3,122.50
4$2,510.83$3,766.25
5$2,940.00$4,410.00
6$3,369.17$5,053.75
7$3,798.33$5,697.50
8$4,227.50$6,341.25
9$4,656.67$6,985.00
10$5,085.83$7,628.75

Hawaii Bankruptcy Forms

Whether you’re filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Hawaii, there are several Hawaii bankruptcy forms that you will have to complete and file with the Court. In some cases, a few of the same forms might apply to both of these bankruptcy chapters. Although the federal bankruptcy forms make up the most the paperwork that will be the same throughout the country, note that certain local Hawaii bankruptcy forms are also necessary. 

Hawaii Exemptions

As Hawaii hasn’t opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions included in the US Bankruptcy Code, you may choose to use either the federal exemptions or state exemptions when filing bankruptcy in Hilo. However, you can’t choose some federal exemptions and some state exemptions; you have to use either all-federal or all-state exemptions. With Hawaii bankruptcy exemptions, you can keep a certain amount of assets or property by protecting it from your creditors. A married couple, jointly filing bankruptcy in Hilo, can each take the whole amount of exemptions.  



Written By:

The Upsolve Team

Upsolve is fortunate to have a remarkable team of bankruptcy attorneys, as well as finance and consumer rights professionals, as contributing writers to help us keep our content up to date, informative, and helpful to everyone.

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