Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated August 17, 2020
If you live in the “Gateway to the Northwest” region of Idaho (also known as Pocatello) and are under financial stress, filing bankruptcy can be a great way to start over and enjoy life in the “Gate City”. Living in Idaho and enjoying the outdoor activities is enjoyable and exciting but can also be expensive. Even the most financially responsible residents of Pocatello can face financial issues due to unforeseen circumstances. If debt collectors are constantly calling you and you are not sure how to manage your finances, then bankruptcy can be a way to legally relieve you from your debts. Millions of Americans have taken advantage of filing bankruptcy to start over. An Idaho bankruptcy can help to erase your debts so that you can start saving money and regaining control of your life. People file for bankruptcy every day due to job loss, medical diagnosis, loss of a loved one, or serious accident. Bankruptcy laws were enacted to help the “honest but unfortunate debtor.” Filing bankruptcy in Pocatello is a powerful tool to help you and many other Americans regain financial independence. Filing bankruptcy is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You will have to decide which kind of bankruptcy process may work best for you. You will need to look at your whole financial situation including your assets, income, and expenses to determine which chapter you qualify for. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, erasesyour debt so that you are no longer liable to your creditors. Many people don’t know that they can file for bankruptcy on their own. If bankruptcy seems like the right option for you, this guide can help you file bankruptcy without the help of an attorney.
Pocatello Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost
A Pocatello bankruptcy lawyer can be expensive. The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Pocatello is somewhere between $800 and $1,500 for a Chapter 7 case. These figures depend on how complicated your financial situation is and how many assets you have. If you don’t own any assets and make little money the cost will probably run you closer to the $800 range. If you are able to hire a lawyer to help guide you through the process, then you should seriously consider doing so, as that is often an investment worth making. A lawyer can review all of your finances to make sure that bankruptcy is the right choice for you. You can schedule a couple of free consultations with different local bankruptcy lawyers so that you can choose someone that you feel comfortable with. Make sure you bring all of your financial information to the consultation so that the lawyer will have a full picture as to your financial situation. If you can’t afford an attorney, you can still file for bankruptcy without one.
How to File Bankruptcy in Pocatello, Idaho for Free
If you plan to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pocatello without the help of an attorney, this guide can help you manage each step of the Idaho bankruptcy process to ensure you receive a discharge.
Collect Your Pocatello Bankruptcy Documents
Filing bankruptcy in Pocatello means you will have to gather a lot of paperwork. You’ll need to gather all of your financial documents before you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pocatello. The forms will want to know all about your financial situation and why you are filing for bankruptcy. The forms will look into proof of your assets, debts, income, and expenses. You’ll need to gather everything so that you have all the information readily available while filling out the forms. Before going to Court for your creditors’ meeting, you will be required to submit some copies of official documents, like the titles to any vehicles you may own, appraisals of any property you own, financial statements from your banking institution. Although, this process can seem draining, it is important to take a deep breath. If you are worried you don’t have all the documents required, you can request them from the IRS, bank or your employer.
Take Credit Counseling
A successful Pocatello bankruptcy will depend upon you completing your credit counseling course. The Credit counseling course allows you to explore which debt relief option will be best for you before filing bankruptcy. Some other options include debt settlement, or debt negotiations. The credit counseling course can be taken in the convenience of your home either online or on the phone. The only condition is that the course must be approved by the Department of Justice for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s District of Idaho. Once your course has been completed you will be required to file the certificate with the Court. Failing to do so will cause your bankruptcy case to be thrown out.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
If you are wondering how to file bankruptcy in Pocatello, you are not alone. The first and most important step is to complete all of your paperwork. The paperwork you will be asked to fill out can be a little confusing and tedious. Make sure to have all of your financial documents with you so that you will be able to answer all the questions accurately. The forms you’re preparing for your Pocatello bankruptcy will be submitted to the Court and lying on these forms is considered a criminal offense. The forms will ask you questions about your income, assets, property, and creditors. Once these forms are complete you will need to sign each page verifying that everything is true and correct.
Get Your Filing Fee
The cost of filing bankruptcy in Pocatello under Chapter 7 is $335. If you don’t have the funds you may request a fee waiver. A fee waiver will only be granted if you can show the Court you can’t come up with the funds to pay this fee upfront or in installments. If you live below 150% of the poverty line, you are eligible to apply for a waiver. If you don’t qualify for a waiver the Court may allow you to pay four installment payments until the fee is paid off. In order to pay the filing fee in installments because you’re not eligible for a fee waiver, you will need to get permission from the Bankruptcy Court. They will review all of your forms in order to decide if you will be granted permission to pay the fee in installments.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
You will need to print 2 copies of your Pocatello bankruptcy forms. These copies will be for you to keep for your records and the Court. Unfortunately, these forms require a lot of pages and can’t be filed electronically. If you don’t have a printer you will have to gather some money to print them at your local library, FedEx, Staples or Kinkos. Note, the Bankruptcy Court will never accept your forms if they are printed double-sided. Make sure you review all of the printed forms before you begin printing them so that you don’t waste any more money. Once all of them are printed go through them to make sure you did not forget anything.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
In order to finish filing bankruptcy in Pocatello you will need to bring your forms to Court. You may have to pay for parking so make sure that you bring some extra change with you. The Court is located at 801 E Sherman Street in Pocatello. Make sure to bring a photo ID when you go because you will need to go through security. Going to Court to submit your papers may be annoying. However, bringing your documents in person allows the Clerk to review your documents and make sure you are not missing anything. If you really don’t want to go to Court, you can mail your forms in. However, if you are missing documents it can take a while for the Court to notify you if you don’t go in person.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pocatello, paperwork has been submitted, you’re on your way to a fresh start. The Court will appoint a Trustee to oversee your case is handled properly. The Trustee will examine your paperwork and conduct a meeting with you to ask you things about your forms. During the meeting, you will be placed under oath so if you lie about anything, you can be charged with a federal crime. Before that meeting, your Trustee will request certain documents from you. They will need to review your paperwork to make sure everything you listed on your petition is accurate. After you file the forms, the Court will send you a notification telling you who the Trustee is that is assigned to your case and how to contact them. If you did not receive any notifications from your Trustee in the weeks after filing bankruptcy in Pocatello, you can call them to find out what they will need before your hearing and how to get it to them.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
Just like the first Pocatello bankruptcy course, you will have to take another counseling course after filing bankruptcy in Pocatello . You’ll again need to choose a course that has beenapproved by the Department of Justice for the District of Idaho. You will be able to take the course online or over the phone. You will need your case number with you when you take the second course. Just like the first course you will have to upload the certificate with the Court. Failing to do so will result in your case closing without you getting a discharge. This means even though you filed for bankruptcy, you will still be responsible for your debts. Some course providers will file the certificate for you which could help save you some time.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
The 341 Meeting of Creditors is probably the only Idaho Bankruptcy Court hearing you will have to attend. The meeting is where you will meet with your Trustee and any creditors. It is rare that creditors show up. At the hearing you should have with you your social security and identification. Many people don’t understand that a bankruptcy is not an automatic right. If you lie on your paperwork, make too much money or transferred assets out of your name, your discharge can be denied. This Court hearing allows the Trustee to ask you questions under oath about the information in your Pocatello bankruptcy forms. It’s important to stay calm if you have not done any of the above then you should be fine! Dress casually and try not to wear anything fancy.
Dealing with Your Car
The biggest concern many people have when filing bankruptcy in Pocatello is what will happen to their car. Many people are under a misguided impression that if you file for bankruptcy, your car automatically gets taken away. This is not always the case. Depending on your circumstances, there are different options for you and your vehicle. The first option is to surrender your car. This means giving up the vehicle and returning your car to your creditor. If your payments are high and you can’t afford the vehicle, this can be a good thing to take advantage of. You can also choose to reaffirm your debt or redeem the car. Entering into a reaffirmation agreement means that you’ll agree to pay off your car, based on the original terms of the loan. You will be responsible for any future payments and if you fall behind on payments you will still be forced to pay back the loan. 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. Lastly, if you own the car outright, you may be able to keep your vehicle as long as its value is less than the available exemption.
Idaho Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Pocatello
Idaho Means Test
If you are thinking of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pocatello you must pass the Idaho bankruptcy Means Test. The Idaho bankruptcy Means Test examines the size of your household, your household expenses, and your income. It then compares your income to Idaho's median income for a family of similar size. If you are below the median household income, then you will qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy automatically. If you are above the household median income, then you will be required to complete the second part of the Means Test which looks to your disposable income each month.
Median Income Levels for Idaho
Idaho Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
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.
|Household Size||State Poverty Level||Fee Waiver Limit (150% PL)|
Idaho Bankruptcy Forms
Your Idaho bankruptcy forms will need to be completed in order to get a discharge Pocatello bankruptcy discharge. The forms you need can seem pretty labor intensive, since you will need to get so much paperwork to ensure accuracy. Make sure to take your time when filling out this paperwork as this is what you will be submitting to the Idaho Bankruptcy Court. The more accurate, the fewer issues you will have when you go to Court for your hearing. Don’t get overwhelmed take your time and go through everything carefully.
In order to keep your property in a Pocatello bankruptcy you will need to use certain exemptions. When Idaho bankruptcy exemptions are applied to your property it can’t be sold to pay off your creditors. In Idaho you are allowed to use either the federal bankruptcy exemptions or the Idaho bankruptcy exemptions. Just remember you can only choose one to protect your property.