Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated July 28, 2020
If you have creditors harassing you, bills piled up and you don’t know where to turn, filing a Twin Falls bankruptcy may be something to consider, so that you can enjoy your life again in the “Niagara of the West.” Bankruptcy is not an easy decision to make, but sometimes hard decisions can be the best decisions. You can file bankruptcy in Twin Falls on your own or get a lawyer to help you. If hiring a lawyer is too expensive, then you can use this guide to help you file on your own. Filing bankruptcy is not a bad thing. Bankruptcy can help you get out of debt so that you can start saving money for your future. Bankruptcy will also allow you to start rebuilding your credit right away with many filers ending up with better credit than before filing within two years. Bankruptcy laws were implemented to help people who fell into debt through no fault of their own. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy lets you start over, by forgiving all of your debt. This means creditors are no longer able to go after you. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Twin Falls usually takes about 3-4 months. If you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to speak with an attorney about filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, you pay some of your debts over a three- to five-year period. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 can help you start over. Once your bankruptcy discharge has been granted, creditors will not be able to contact you ever again. This City Guide will help guide you through the process, so you don’t feel alone.
Twin Falls Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost
To determine what type of bankruptcy you should file, talking to an attorney can help you. Many lawyers offer free consultations that you should take advantage of. At the consultation lawyers will ask about your financial situation, so you should bring pay stubs and tax returns with you. The cost of a Twin Falls bankruptcy lawyer ranges from $800 to $1,500. Your lawyer will ask you a lot of personal questions about your finances so you should feel comfortable talking with your attorney. The attorney’s fee will usually include preparing your documents, filing them with the court, sending them to the trustee and going to court with you. If you are not comfortable with the attorney, don’t hire them! There are many bankruptcy attorneys that can help you. Upsolve can help you file on your own, if hiring an attorney is not possible.
How to File Bankruptcy in Twin Falls, Idaho for Free
If you plan to file a Twin Falls bankruptcy, you will need to gather many documents. Once you have all of your forms you will have to submit them to the court and then attend your court hearing. Keep reading and follow the steps below to help you with filing bankruptcy in Twin Falls.
Collect Your Twin Falls Bankruptcy Documents
Some of the most important bankruptcy documents you will need to file your Twin Falls bankruptcy are your pay stubs, your tax returns, your mortgage statement if you own your home, your bank statements, your vehicle titles, your credit card bills, medical bills, student loan records, court judgments, and lawsuits. It is important to look for as many documents as possible because the forms will ask you for this information. If you don’t have the information on hand, you will need to go digging for it. You can get a copy of your taxes from the IRS website. You can find a list of your creditors by pulling a credit report. If you think you may have old lawsuits that you forgot about, you can do a judgment search by going to your local courthouse.
Take Credit Counseling
To complete your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Twin Falls you will be required to take a one hour course prior to filing your Idaho bankruptcy case. This course is called the credit counseling course. The course is for your benefit and will help determine if you should file for bankruptcy. You have the option of taking the court online or over the phone. The course will ask you questions about your finances so you should have your paystubs and a list of your expenses on hand. It must be approved by the United States Trustee. Once you complete the course you will get a certificate that will need to be filed with the court. Forgetting to file the certificate with the court is a huge mistake because the court will throw out your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case!
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
The most important step in filing bankruptcy in Twin Falls is completing all of your bankruptcy forms. The bankruptcy forms will include your personal information, income, assets, creditors and an in-depth analysis of your whole financial situation. You will need to have the documents listed above in order to complete the forms. Accuracy is extremely important because if you fail to leave something out, the court can dismiss your case. You can locate all of the forms for free online. The forms are all fillable online so that you can do a little at a time. Make sure to answer every question. To help you fill all your forms out you must stay organized. Filling out the forms is tedious so if you need to take a break, it is important you do so.
Get Your Filing Fee
The cost to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Twin Falls is $338 whether you are married or single. Paying the filing fee is mandatory and the only way for the court to process your papers without a waiver is to pay the fee. If you don’t have money to pay your fees you may be able to get them waived or get permission to pay the fee in installments after filing bankruptcy in Twin Falls. You will have to fill out an application to do so. The form will ask you questions about your income and expenses. There is no guarantee that the court will allow you either of these options. If the court accepts your payments in installments you will be allowed up to 4 payments to pay the balance. If your request for a fee waiver is granted, then you will not have to pay the filing fee at all.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
After you have reviewed everything you will have to print your Twin Falls bankruptcy forms. Make sure to print 2 copies one for you to keep and one for the court. If you do not have access to a printer, you can go to your local public library, Staples, or FedEx. At all of these places you will have to pay to print. There are many pages of forms to print and each of the places will charge. It is best to call ahead to find out the price, so that you can find the cheapest place to print. Once you have all of your forms you can head to the court to file them.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Before you go to the Idaho Bankruptcy Court you should gather your ID, two copies of your Twin Falls bankruptcy forms and some money in case you have to pay for parking. When you get to the courthouse you will have to go through security. Security will likely take your phone and give it back to you when you leave the courthouse. In order to file your forms you will need to find the clerk’s office. If you are not sure where to go, ask security. If you can’t get to the courthouse, you can send your forms in by mail. However, bringing your documents to the clerk’s office is preferable so they can let you know if they signatures are missing.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Once you have filed all of your paperwork, a trustee will be assigned to your case. The trustee will look at all the forms you submitted and verify them for accuracy. The trustee’s job is to make sure that your unsecured creditors get paid as much as the law says they should get paid. If the trustee finds unprotected assets, they will sell them to pay your creditors. The trustee will ask for proof of certain things that you filled out on your forms. Some trustees may ask you to mail a copy of your entire Twin Falls 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. Make sure to send your documents promptly, so the trustee has time to review everything before your 341 meeting.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
You will now need to take your second Idaho bankruptcy counseling course. This is also called the financial management course and must be approved by the United States Trustee's Office. This course will give you ways to manage your finances in the future, so you don’t fall into the same bad habits. The counseling course should be completed no later than sixty days after the meeting. Make sure you finish the course; otherwise, your discharge will not be granted which will defeat the purpose of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Twin Falls. You can take this course online or over the phone for your convenience.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
After filing your Twin Falls bankruptcy, you will have to attend your 341 meeting of creditors. There you will be face to face with the trustee handling your case. They will ask you questions about your bankruptcy forms to make sure you didn’t forget anything. Creditors are also allowed to attend the hearing, but most never show up. The meeting will take place at the courthouse and you will have to bring your social security card and ID with you. The 341 meeting is a casual meeting so don’t wear anything flashy, dress casually but respectfully, and stay calm. You should always bring copies of any documents you sent to the trustee in case you don’t remember something off-hand.
Dealing with Your Car
If you love your car and don’t want to lose it, then you may have the option of keeping it. Filing for bankruptcy does not mean that you need to give up your vehicle. If your property is valued below a certain amount, then you can exempt the vehicle and keep it. You can also enter into a reaffirmation agreement with the lender and keep making your payments if your car is leased or financed. If you choose to reaffirm your vehicle, make sure you can afford the payments otherwise you will be held liable for the remaining balance. A reaffirmation agreement is a binding contract that enables you to keep your car. If none of these options appeal to you, and you don’t mind parting ways with your vehicle, you can give the car up in your Twin Falls bankruptcy.
Idaho Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Twin Falls
Idaho Means Test
The Idaho bankruptcy Means Test is considered one of the more challenging forms because you may have to do some math. The Means Test enables the bankruptcy court to only allow people who really need bankruptcy relief to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Twin Falls. If you make too much, the court assumes you can pay back your debts. 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. You can find many calculators online that can help you calculate to see if you qualify under the Idaho Means Test.
Median Income Levels for Idaho
Idaho Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
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Poverty Levels for Idaho
Idaho Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Idaho Bankruptcy Forms
Filling out your Idaho bankruptcy forms can be time consuming when filing bankruptcy in Idaho. However, this is the most important step so make sure you read everything over carefully. Even after you have completed the forms you should take a second look to make sure you didn’t forget to fill anything out. You can find all of the forms for free online. It is important to make sure you list all of your property and all of your creditors. This includes any family or friends that you owe money to. You should spend time going through each schedule and making sure everything is listed accurately. Most importantly, Schedule A/B should correlate with Schedule C. Schedule A/B lists all of your property while, Schedule C lists your exemptions. Make sure any property listed on A/B is exempt, if possible, on Schedule C.
Exemptions help you keep your stuff. You can exempt your home, car, furniture, jewelry etc. up to a certain amount. If your asset falls under an exemption, then the trustee can’t take it to pay off your creditors. Idaho bankruptcy laws allow you to use both Idaho bankruptcy exemptions and federal bankruptcy exemptions. As a result, when you file your Twin Falls bankruptcy petition you can choose which set of exemptions you will use. Be sure to remember that you can only use one or the other!