Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated August 17, 2020
Have you ever wondered if bankruptcy is the right option for you so that you can be financially independent? Are you worried that you won’t be able to afford an attorney? Are you scared about what to expect when going to court? This Idaho Information guide will ease your concerns and give you the tools you need to file for bankruptcy on your own. Bankruptcy can seem complicated and scary. But filing for bankruptcy can be a way to legally relieve you from your debts. AnIdaho bankruptcy can help to get rid of your debts so that you can start saving money and get financial independence. The top reasons why people file for bankruptcy are job loss, medical diagnosis, loss of a loved one, or serious accident. Bankruptcy laws were enacted to help the “honest but unfortunate debtor.” Most people who are looking at filing bankruptcy in Nampa choose to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. In order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho you will need to determine if you qualify. If you don’t qualify you will have to consider which kind of bankruptcy process may work best for you. If you do plan to move forward, you will need to look at all of your creditors, assets, income, and expenses. In a Chapter 7 Idaho bankruptcy you can get rid of your debt. This means that you will no longer have to pay any of your creditors back. If you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, you pay your debts over a three- to five-year plan. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 help you to get back on track and manage your finances without having to worry about overwhelming debt. Below, are steps you must take to help you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Nampa Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost
Filing a Nampa bankruptcy can seem expensive as a Nampa bankruptcy lawyer costs somewhere between $800 and $1,500 for a Chapter 7 case. Lawyers tend to charge less if you have less debt, fewer creditors and limited assets. If the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer seems too pricey, remember that you can file for bankruptcy on your own. However, taking advantage of a free consultation could be in your best interests. If you decide to go to a free consultation, a lawyer might be able to provide you with some guidance on what chapter of bankruptcy is right for you. You can schedule a free consultation with a lawyer to help you better understand the process and what steps you will have to take to file for bankruptcy. Before seeing a bankruptcy lawyer, it is best to have an idea of your financial situation. Make sure to know how much you make, the value of your assets, and how much you owe on any outstanding debt.
How to File Bankruptcy in Nampa, Idaho for Free
If hiring a lawyer to help with filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nampa is out of the question, this guide can help you with the process. Read each section carefully to make sure you don’t miss anything important about filing bankruptcy in Nampa.
Collect Your Nampa Bankruptcy Documents
The first step to filing bankruptcy in Nampa is gathering all of your financial paperwork to help you fill out the bankruptcy forms. You will need to gather documents relating to your assets, debts, income, and expenses. Although, it is a lot of paperwork it is important not to get overwhelmed! Gather this paperwork first before you move on to the next step. Before going to court for your creditors’ meeting, you will likely be required to submit some of these documents to your trustee, so it’s important to get copies of everything. If you have lost or can’t find some of the documents, you contact any of your financial institutions and/or your employer. Remember to take a deep breath because you will soon be debt free!
Take Credit Counseling
To complete a Nampa bankruptcy, you will have to take a course called a credit counseling course. The credit counseling course gives you ways to manage your debt and information to see if filing bankruptcy is the best decision for you. Before you take the course, you should make a list of all of your monthly obligations and how much monthly income you receive. The counseling course can be taken in your pajamas, at home either on a computer online or on the phone. The course that you choose will need to be approved by the Department of Justice. After you complete it, you will get a certificate that will be filed with the clerk’s office along with all of your other bankruptcy forms.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Filing bankruptcy in Nampa requires a lot of paperwork. You must complete all the bankruptcy forms before you head to court to file it. Failing to complete all required forms will cause your Idaho bankruptcy case to be dismissed. Make sure not to forget to sign all of the required pages before you submit everything to the court. You should have all of your financial documents with you while filling out the forms. When you go to your hearing you will be questioned as to such so accuracy is a must! However, if you need to change something in the forms because you left something out the most trustees will allow you to amend your forms.
Get Your Filing Fee
The cost of filing bankruptcy in Nampa under Chapter 7 is $335. If you are struggling to pay the fee because you have no money, you may request a fee waiver . You will have to show the court that there is no way you can come up with the fee. If the court agrees, they will grant you a waiver and you won’t be required to pay anything. If you’re not eligible for a fee waiver, you can request to pay the fee in four installments until the fee is paid off. If you fail to pay the filing fee, the court will refuse to hear your case. This fee is used to process your documents and pay the trustee that will be assigned to your case.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
There will be a lot of forms you will have to print. We recommend that you print 2 copies of your Nampa bankruptcy forms. These copies will be for you and the court. If you don’t have a printer at home, you can go to your local library, FedEx, Staples, or Kinkos to print all of your documents. You will need to pay to print these documents so you may want to call ahead to see how much each place charges. Make sure that your forms are all printed and that they are in order to make things easier for you everyone. Finally, even if it will save you a little bit of money, don’t print the forms you’ll be submitting to the court double-sided; the clerk’s office won’t accept that.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Once you have completed and printed all of your forms, you can go to court to file your Nampa bankruptcy forms. Make sure to bring a photo ID and some spare change to pay for parking. When you get to the courthouse you will have to go through security. Most likely, your phone will be taken away, so if possible, leave it at home or in the car. Make sure you bring everything you need to file your paperwork. Once you pass through security, you will head to the clerk’s office where you will submit everything. If you don’t have transportation to get to court, you can mail your documents in. However, having someone review them in-person is always recommended just in case something is missing. Once your documents are filed you will wait to get a notice in the mail telling you the date and time you will have to appear in court.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Now you will have to make copies of your Idaho bankruptcy financial documents you used to fill out your forms. You will be required to send your trustee a copy of some of your Nampa bankruptcy documents, like tax returns and pay stubs. Most trustees will request these documents be sent electronically by PDF or mail. If you are unsure how the trustee wants the documents, you can contact their office directly. Make sure to send the paperwork by the deadline, so the trustee has time to review everything before your hearing. The trustee will examine your paperwork and conduct your creditors’ meeting. At the meeting, the trustee will ask you about the documents you have provided. While you are being questioned you will be sworn under oath and a tape recorder will be there to record everything you say.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
For the Idaho Bankruptcy Court to grant your discharge, you will need to take another counseling course after you file. The Idaho bankruptcy course provider will again need to be approved by the Department of Justice. You can conveniently take the course online or over the phone. Make sure to have your case number with you when you take the course. After completing the course, you will need to file your certificate with the rest of your forms. Many course providers will even upload the certificate at the end of your course saving you an extra step. This course will explain different ways to help you after filing for bankruptcy.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Some of you may be nervous about going to court. Creditors’ meetings at the Idaho Bankruptcy Court are not like the court proceedings you see on TV. There is no judge, it is casual and everyone there is filing for bankruptcy so there is no need to feel insecure or embarrassed. The hearing you will attend is called the 341 meeting. This will most likely be the only court hearing you will have to attend when filing your Nampa Bankruptcy. At the hearing the trustee will call you up and ask you to provide identification and your social security card. They will then swear you in and ask you questions regarding the paperwork you submitted. You should get to the hearing early so that you can hear some of the questions the trustee is asking other filers. An Idaho bankruptcy discharge is not an automatic right. It is important that you answer all of the trustee’s questions honestly. If you lie you can face big consequences and your discharge may be denied.
Dealing with Your Car
Are you asking yourself will my car be taken away if I file for bankruptcy? Are you worried because you need your vehicle to get to work? Many people filing bankruptcy in Nampa have the same worries as you. What happens to your vehicle depends on the circumstances. If you don’t want your vehicle, you can surrender your car. When you surrender your vehicle, you give the car up and are no longer responsible for payments. If you need your car for work, or don’t want to part ways with it you can choose toreaffirm your debt orredeem the car. Entering into a reaffirmation agreement means that you’ll sign a contract agreeing to pay off your car. If you fall behind on payments, the lender will be able to go after you even though you filed for bankruptcy. If you wish to redeem your car, you’ll pay off the market value of the vehicle in a lump sum. This amount will have to be negotiated between you and the lender or determined by the court. If you own the car outright and have no outstanding loans on it, you should be able to keep your vehicle as long as it is fully protected by an available exemption. Make sure to go through your options carefully. If you think you may fall behind on your payments in the future, then it is best you surrender the vehicle. Make sure to take the time to think about each option before agreeing to anything. In some instances, you may be able to keep the car, stay current and not sign any new agreements.
Idaho Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Nampa
Idaho Means Test
To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nampa you must pass the Idaho bankruptcy Means Test. The Idaho bankruptcy Means Test compares your income to Idaho's median income for a family of similar size. If you are below the household median income for Idaho, then you will qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you fall above the household median income, you still may qualify but will have to go to the second part of the test. The second part of the Means Test looks at your income and expenses. If you still don’t qualify don’t be upset! You're actually making more money than most people! In that case you may want to speak to an attorney to see what your options are and may need to look into filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An attorneycan review your income and expenses to make sure you have calculated everything properly. They may also help determine if there are any other options besides filing bankruptcy that you could benefit from.
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
Your Idaho bankruptcy forms will need to be completed, printed and submitted to the court to get a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Filling out the forms can take a while. You may wonder why the court asks so many questions. The forms are a way for the court to understand your financial situation. The bankruptcy court wants to make sure that you aren’t hiding anything. The Idaho Bankruptcy Court wants to see that you really can’t pay your debts and that you didn’t transfer any assets into someone else’s name or frivolously spend money on expensive items. Take your time when filling out this paperwork and don’t get overwhelmed. Many of the forms are fillable online so you can take a break and restart them.
Idaho bankruptcy exemptions allow you to keep your property when you file for a Nampa bankruptcy. Although you are filing for bankruptcy, the court allows you to keep items that they deem necessary for your livelihood and welfare. When you use your Idaho bankruptcy exemptions to protect your property, the trustee can’t sell it to pay off your creditors. Making sure you use the correct exemptions is important. Idaho allows you the ability to use both the federal bankruptcy exemptions or the Idaho bankruptcy exemptions. You will have to choose which set of exemptions is more appropriate for your financial situation.