Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated August 17, 2020
If you have just finished taking a walk along Tubbs Hill Nature Trail or just took a swim in the Coeur D'Alene lake, but still can’t relax because your debt is piling up, then bankruptcy may be something you should look into in the near future. Filing a Coeur D'Alene bankruptcy is a way to get out of debt, relax and start enjoying your life again. When it comes to filing bankruptcy in Coeur D'Alene, you can either choose to hire a lawyer or do it on your own. If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, you will have to take up the task on your own. Fortunately, this guide can hold your hand each step of the way. First, you need to get any myths you have heard about filing for bankruptcy out of your head. You may have heard filing bankruptcy means that you won’t get credit again or your property will be taken away. This is not true. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people who fell into debt through no fault of their own. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, allows you to get rid of your debt and start over without having to pay your creditors back. Just imagine a life where no creditors are harassing you any longer! A typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Coeur D'Alene usually takes about 3-4 months. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your debts are wiped out. If you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to seek assistance in filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, you pay a portion of your debts over a three- to five-year plan. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 help you to get back on your feet. This City Guide will show you how to file for bankruptcy successfully so that you can start enjoying outdoor activities again!
Coeur D'Alene Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost
Hiring an attorney is a good way to make sure you know that bankruptcy is the right option for you. The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Coeur D'Alene ranges from $800 to $1,500. Cost depends on the number of creditors you owe and how complicated your case is. If you do plan to hire a lawyer, make sure you gather all of your financial documents so that they can fully assess your situation. Many bankruptcy lawyers provide free consultations. If you are not going to hire a lawyer, you may want to take advantage of the consultation to see if bankruptcy is the right option for you. If hiring an attorney seems too expensive remember that you can file for bankruptcy on your own.
How to File Bankruptcy in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho for Free
The steps below will help you with filing your bankruptcy in Coeur D'Alene. Each step is equally important, so pay attention to detail so that you don’t miss anything about the Idaho bankruptcy process.
Collect Your Coeur D'Alene Bankruptcy Documents
In order to file a Coeur D'Alene bankruptcy you will need to gather many documents. These documents will be used to complete your bankruptcy forms. Some of these documents include your pay stubs, your tax returns, mortgage statements, bank statements, vehicle titles, credit card bills, medical bills, student loan records, judgments, and lawsuits. It is important to look for as many documents as possible because the forms will ask you for this information. Filling out the forms without the correct information is always a no-no. When you go to court, the trustee can ask you to provide proof of this information, so accuracy is extremely important. If you need to call up your financial institutions or go through paperwork in your attic, then do so before you start filing out your bankruptcy forms!
Take Credit Counseling
Before you file your bankruptcy forms you are required to take an approved credit counseling course. This course is known as the Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Course. This one hour course is one of two credit counseling courses you will have to complete when you file your Coeur D'Alene bankruptcy. This course must be approved by the Office of the United States Trustee. If you’re worried that you’ll have to go back to school, you’re in luck! The courses can be taken from the convenience of your own home as you have the option of taking the course online or over the phone. The course is for your benefit. It will help you determine whether bankruptcy is the right option for you and give you ways to better handle your finances. Once you complete the course you will get a certificate that will need to be submitted to the court. If you don’t file the certificate with the rest of your bankruptcy forms the court can throw out your case. So, make sure you don’t forget to include your certificate when filing bankruptcy in Coeur D’Alene!
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
The most important step of filing bankruptcy in Coeur D'Alene is completing all of your forms. The bankruptcy forms will include your personal information, income, assets, creditors and an in-depth analysis of your whole financial situation. These forms are essential to completing your bankruptcy. If you lie or leave out information you can get into a lot of trouble. Your bankruptcy forms are what you will be submitting to the court so they must be completed properly. To complete the forms you will need to gather all of your financial documents listed above. It is important to keep these documents organized because you may have to send a copy of it to court in the future. One word of advice is to make sure you fill out the forms in order. If you don’t have something wait to get it before you complete the rest. Some of the documentation you should have with you are your taxes, paystubs, vehicle valuations, real property valuations, pay off statements and bank statements. If you fail to provide proof or answer the forms correctly your Coeur D'Alene bankruptcy can be dismissed or you can be held criminally if the court finds you committed fraud.
Get Your Filing Fee
The cost to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Coeur D'Alene is $335. This fee is used to file your documents and pay the trustee. Paying the filing fee is mandatory. If you don’t have enough money to pay your fee, you may be able to get it waived or pay it in installments. In order to do so, you will have to ask permission from the court. If the court accepts your request to pay in installments, you will be allowed up to 4 payments to pay the full amount. Obtaining a fee waiver is not easy, and only those who make less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for it. The judge will look at your bankruptcy forms and your income to decide if your fee can be waived. If you are not able to get your fee waived, then you will need to make sure that you pay your entire filing fee for your Idaho bankruptcy case.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
After you have reviewed your forms and have made sure that everything is complete, you will have to print your Coeur D'Alene bankruptcy forms. Make sure to print 2 copies one for you and one for the court. If you do not have ready access to a reliable printer, you can go to your local public library, Staples, or FedEx. Note, that you will have a lot of pages to print so make sure you bring enough money to pay for your copies. Once you have all of your forms printed keep them in a safe place until you go to court to file your paperwork.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
With your printed bankruptcy forms in hand, you will have to go to the court and file your forms. When you get to the courthouse you will have to go through security. Make sure to have a form of identification with you in case they ask. You will not be allowed to bring your phone inside so leave it behind if possible. Once passed through security you need to head to the clerk’s office. If you are not sure where to go, you can ask security to direct you. If you don’t drive or can’t get to the courthouse during business hours, you can send your documents by mail. Personally bringing your documents to the Clerk’s Office is ideal so they can let you know if signatures are missing and you can walk out of there knowing that you’ve successfully filed bankruptcy in Coeur D’Alene.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
After all of your documents are filed, you can finally relax for a little because you are more than halfway through! The court will assign you a trustee who will review your bankruptcy forms to make sure that everything you put on your forms is accurate. The trustee will ask you to provide proof of everything in your bankruptcy forms. Some trustees may ask you to mail a copy of your entire Coeur D'Alene bankruptcy petition, your pay stubs, W-2, tax returns, bank statements, vehicle title, mortgage statement, deed, and insurance policies. Trustees have different ways they like to get their documents. Some like to receive them electronically while others prefer to get them by regular mail. It is important that you send the trustee all of the documents they ask for before the creditors’ meeting. If the trustee does not get the required documents in advance, they may not hear your case at the appointed time, which will delay your Idaho bankruptcy case.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
It is now time for you to complete your second bankruptcy credit counseling course. Although, you could wait to take the course until after your Coeur D’Alene bankruptcy creditors’ meeting, we strongly recommend you take it before so you can file the certificate of completion with the court while you are there for your meeting. This course provider must again be approved by the U.S. Trustee. Your discharge will not be granted until you have completed the Post-Petition Bankruptcy Course. This two-hour course will guide you on how to start rebuilding your life. You will get a certificate upon completion. If you fail to file the certificate, the court will close your case without a discharge. This means your debts will still be there after the bankruptcy so make sure you don’t forget to file the certificate!
Attend Your 341 Meeting
After filing your Coeur D'Alene bankruptcy, you will have to attend your creditors’ meeting. The name is a bit misleading because creditors rarely show up to this. Unless you committed fraud, or you owe someone you know personally, it is unlikely any creditor will appear. The 341 meeting is a casual meeting held with you, the trustee, and any creditor who wishes to appear. During the meeting the trustee will swear you in and ask you questions regarding the forms you submitted. The trustee will tape record the hearing so make sure you speak loudly and answer each question honestly. The trustee will also ask for a copy of your social security card and ID to ensure that you are the person filing bankruptcy. The meeting typically lasts less than a half hour. Dress casually but respectfully, bring copies of any documents you sent to the trustee and wait for your name to be called. Once the meeting is over all you have to do is wait for your discharge to be entered by the court.
Dealing with Your Car
Filing for bankruptcy does not mean that you need to give up your beloved vehicle. If you want to keep it, you may be able to if the vehicle is exempt. If your property is valued at below a certain number, then you can exempt the vehicle and keep it. If you financed the vehicle, you can enter into a reaffirmation agreement with the lender and keep making your payments. If you choose to reaffirm your vehicle, you may have to show the court that you can afford to continue making payments. A reaffirmation agreement means you agree to keep the debt and continue paying it even after you obtain your discharge. Don’t just enter into an agreement if you don’t believe you will be able to keep up with the payments in the future. If you sign the agreement and fail to make the payments, you will be held responsible for the loan balance, no matter what. Another option is to surrender your vehicle to the bank. Giving up your vehicle in the bankruptcy allows you to walk away from it and not be held liable for the remaining balance. Choosing what to do with your vehicle when you file your Coeur D'Alene bankruptcy can be a tough decision. Think wisely about your future and the impact each will have on your finances.
Idaho Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Coeur D'Alene
Idaho Means Test
The Idaho bankruptcy Means Test is how you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Means Test takes into account your family income, your family size and your day to day expenses to see if you have no money left over. If you don’t have any money left over then you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you do have too much money left over, then you will have to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Congress enacted these laws to restrain people who made too much money from filing bankruptcy and not have to repay their creditors. Qualifying under the means test is extremely important. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Coeur d’Alene that you don’t qualify for can be result in your case being dismissed or converted to a different chapter.
Median Income Levels for Idaho
Idaho Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
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Poverty Levels for Idaho
Idaho Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Idaho Bankruptcy Forms
Filling out your Idaho bankruptcy forms may seem complicated. Although, there is a lot of information you will need to provide, it is important that you fill everything out accurately. Sometimes people forget to list all of their property or fail to answer questions appropriately. Make sure you list all of your creditors on your petition when filing bankruptcy in Coeur d’Alene. If you are unsure about their addresses, pull a credit report. We highly recommend pulling three credit reports from the three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Getting all 3 different credit reports can provide for more accuracy. If you were sued in the past and forgot who sued you, you can go to the state court to ask for copies of any judgments against you. If you have medical bills and don’t know where they are, you can list the hospital or doctor you saw. Go through each question carefully and make sure you don’t forget to answer anything.
Exemptions allow you to keep your property even though you are filing for bankruptcy. If you can exempt an asset, the trustee can’t sell it to pay your creditors. There are many exemptions in bankruptcy protecting items like your car, clothing, household appliances, some jewelry, pensions etc. Idaho law allows you to use both Idaho bankruptcy exemptions and federal bankruptcy exemptions. As a result, when you file your Coeur D'Alene bankruptcy petition you can choose which set of exemptions you will use. Typically, you should choose whichever exemptions cover most of your property.