Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated October 1, 2020
Louisiana Bankruptcy Forms for Chapter 7 (Updated 2019)
If you have decided to file for bankruptcy relief in The Pelican State under Chapter 7, you may be understandably nervous about completing all the necessary paperwork. Thankfully, most forms for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are neither labor nor time-intensive. Many people are surprised to learn that filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is a relatively easy and straightforward process. As long as you focus, occasionally take some deep breaths and follow directions carefully, you should be able to prepare your Louisiana bankruptcy forms yourself instead of paying an attorney costly fees to complete these forms on your behalf. Before you begin filling out your packet of bankruptcy documents, you may benefit from gathering together any financial information you think might prove useful to you as you work through your forms. If you create lists of your creditors, your income and household expenses, your debts, and any other information that clarifies your financial situation, you’ll be able to reference it easily as you explain to the Court why you deserve to be granted debt relief under Chapter 7.
Voluntary Petition for Bankruptcy
You’ll start working through your Louisiana bankruptcy forms by completing a basic Voluntary Petition for bankruptcy. This document is the first form required by the Court because it provides important, basic information about you, your household and the case you’re filing. In this form, you will report your contact information, confirm which chapter of bankruptcy you are filing under, explain whether your spouse is filing with you as your codebtor and report whether you’ve ever filed bankruptcy before. This document effectively acts as a cover sheet for the rest of your bankruptcy forms. Once you know what type of bankruptcy you’re filing, it doesn’t require you to make any challenging choices and is generally an easy form to complete.
Louisiana Bankruptcy Schedule A/B: Property
You will begin educating the Court about your finances in the Louisiana Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms commonly known as "schedules." Each schedule gives the Court information about a particular aspect of your financial situation, like income or expenses. Louisiana bankruptcy Schedule A/B asks you about the property you own and how much your property is worth. Most of the time, you will be asked to estimate the value of your property based upon how much you would get if you sold it at a tag sale. Thankfully, this form doesn’t require you to go into much detail. For example, you should report that you own clothing and you should estimate the value of your clothes and accessories as accurately as you can. However, you don’t need to admit that you own (at last count) 547 strands of plastic Mardi Gras beads.
Louisiana Bankruptcy Schedule C: Exemptions
Louisiana bankruptcy Schedule C deals with the consequential issue of exemptions. When property is categorized as exempt under the law, creditors can’t come after it. It’s therefore important to exempt as much of your property as possible to keep it safe from creditors. In this form, you’ll assign a property exemption to each piece of your property listed in Schedule A/B if possible. Because this form helps you to safeguard your property, this is arguably the most important form you will fill out when completing your bankruptcy paperwork. With that said, due to the way bankruptcy exemptions work, most low-income filers of Chapter 7 Louisiana bankruptcy can keep most or all of their property safe from creditors, as long as they follow the directions associated with the exemption of property in Schedule C.
Louisiana Bankruptcy Schedule D: Creditors Who Hold Claims Secured by Property
The Court will ask you about your different kinds of debt in the next three schedules. Louisiana bankruptcy Schedule D deals with secured debt. Secured debt is both unique and rare because it extends legal rights to creditors when debtors default on their payments. When a debtor defaults, creditors are granted the right to repossess the property they originally loaned the debtor. Because the right to repossess partially paid-for property is extreme, secured debt may ordinarily only be applied to particularly expensive purchases paid off in installments, like real estate, recreational vehicles, cars, trucks, motorcycles and watercraft. You’ll list your secured debts and the property used to secure those debts in this Louisiana bankruptcy form.
Louisiana Bankruptcy Schedule E/F: Creditors Who Hold Unsecured Claims
Louisiana bankruptcy Schedule E/F asks about any unsecured debt you have. Unsecured debt is much more common than secured debt and it doesn’t give creditors the right to repossess your property. Student loans, personal loans, credit card debt and medical bills are examples of unsecured debt. In this form, your unsecured debts must be divided into priority and non-priority categories. You don’t need to worry much about these terms; just follow the directions on the form and the Court will take care of the rest. Your unsecured debt is defined like this so that if you can pay back any of your creditors before your case is finalized, the Louisiana Bankruptcy Court can pay priority debts, like child support or taxes, first.
Louisiana Bankruptcy Schedule G: Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
Finally, in Louisiana Bankruptcy Schedule G, you’ll provide the Court with details of any debt you have classified as either an executory contract or unexpired lease. Executory contracts are agreements that require you to pay for ongoing services or other benefits on a rolling basis. Entertainment streaming services, cellphone contracts, cable packages, memberships to gym facilities, and regular club dues contracts are all examples of executory agreements. In this form, you only need to report any leases and contracts you are a party to that are still active. You’ll list any expired leases and canceled contracts on other Louisiana Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms.
Louisiana Bankruptcy Schedule H: Codebtors
When two or more individuals may legally be held responsible for the same debt, these individuals are referred to as “codebtors.” Applying for credit or loans with another person named on a loan or credit card application makes you codebtors. Because you and your codebtors are independently responsible for jointly-held debt, if your bankruptcy case is successful, creditors will still be able to collect from your codebtors, even though they can no longer come after you for payment. An exception to this rule applies if your spouse is your co-debtor. Even if you’re the only one filing a Louisiana bankruptcy, the fact that Louisiana is a community property state means your spouse is also protected, at least as long as you remain married. In Louisiana bankruptcy Schedule H, you’ll provide the Court with the contact information of each of your codebtors so that it can officially notify each of them about your case.
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Louisiana Bankruptcy Schedule I: Income
Louisiana bankruptcy Schedule I gives the Court a “snapshot” of what your income looks like now and what it will probably look like for the foreseeable future. In this form, you will tell the Court about your employer and your occupation, including information about how long you’ve been with the same company. The Court is primarily concerned with learning about what you currently earn in actual wages. However, this Louisiana bankruptcy form also asks you to discuss any other sources of non-wage income you regularly benefited from. One-time gifts do not need to be listed as income. However, child support, military, Social Security and disability benefits, alimony, profits from a family business, pension payments, etc. should be disclosed here.
Louisiana Bankruptcy Schedule J: Expenses
In Louisiana bankruptcy Schedule J, you’ll be asked to list your regular household expenses. You should disclose all of your regular expenses, even though the Court may frown on some of them. For example, you may be worried that the Court won’t understand why you regularly donate to your church, even though you cannot currently pay your creditors. However, omitting any information requested by the Court or being otherwise intentionally dishonest on your Louisiana Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms could result in negative legal consequences, including the denial of your petition for a Chapter 7 discharge. The Court needs to understand why your income doesn’t stretch far enough for you to reliably pay back your creditors, so reporting your expenses accurately is important.
Declaration About Schedules
Now that your schedules are complete, the Court seeks reassurance that they are accurate. In your Declaration about Schedules, you will be asked to swear that you have been honest and forthcoming when completing your Louisiana Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. In the legal context, “honest” means that you haven’t been intentionally misleading when reporting information to the Court. “Forthcoming” means you haven’t intentionally left out any information the Court has requested from you. The Declaration About Schedules serves as an oath, so you could be charged with a crime if the Court discovers you have been dishonest in filling out your schedules or any other official bankruptcy form. Also, note that in this form, you’ll need to disclose whether you used any paid assistance when preparing your case. As Upsolve isn’t considered a petition preparer and it provides its services for free, using help from Upsolve doesn’t need to be disclosed here.
Summary of Assets and Liabilities
Next, you will need to transfer totals from your schedules to your Summary of Assets and Liabilities. Each schedule gives the Court a glimpse at your finances from different angles. Bringing this information together allows the Court to bring the broader picture of your financial situation into focus. When filling out this form, take some time to double-check that you haven’t made any mistakes in your reporting up to this point. Every one of your Louisiana Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms needs to be both complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge before you submit the documents to the Court. Mistakes could result in delays to your case or even rejection of your request for bankruptcy relief.
Statement of Intention for Filing Louisiana Chapter 7
Most Louisiana bankruptcy forms don’t ask you to make any decisions. Most of the time, they just prompt you to list or otherwise clarify objective information, like what kind of debt you have or how much money you earn each month. However, the Statement of Intention for Filing Louisiana Chapter 7 form does require some tough decision-making if you are currently paying down debt tied to property, like a car loan or a mortgage. In this form, you must choose whether to keep making payments on that property or return it to your creditors. If the property still being paid for is important, such as a car that serves as your family’s only mode of transportation, making this decision can be particularly challenging. No matter what you decide to do, just remember that bankruptcy is designed to give filers a fresh financial start. Whatever decision you make should support that fresh start and your financial wellbeing going forward.
Statement of Financial Affairs
Most Louisiana bankruptcy forms focus on your current financial situation. However, the Statement of Financial Affairs for Louisiana bankruptcy aims to understand your finances in a broader context. In this form, the Court seeks to understand how your finances have evolved over the past few years. You will be asked to report any government assistance you have benefited from and whether you have been impacted by repossessions, garnishments, foreclosures, etc. When deciding whether to approve your request for debt elimination under Chapter 7, the Louisiana Bankruptcy Court needs to be convinced that you can’t reasonably be expected to complete a 5-year bankruptcy repayment plan under Chapter 13. The Statement of Financial Affairs helps you to explain why Chapter 7 is the only feasible financial option for your household for the foreseeable future.
Chapter 7 Statement of Your Monthly Income: 122A-1
The Louisiana bankruptcy Means Test for Chapter 7 determines whether you are eligible to be granted a bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7. You won’t pass this test unless your household income meets Louisiana specific Chapter 7 income limits summarized in the Bankruptcy Code. If you fail the Chapter 7 Means Test, you will need to speak with an attorney to see if you can still qualify for relief under Chapter 7 after flagging additional expenses or by qualifying for one of the exceptions to the means test requirement. If you still don’t meet the terms of this litmus test, you will need to consider alternative debt management options, like filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13. As a result, Bankruptcy form 122A-1, which asks you to show that you pass the Chapter 7 Means Test, is one of the most important Louisiana Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms you will complete as you prepare your case.
Statement About Your Social Security Numbers: Form 121
No one else alive has been assigned your specific Social Security number. Social Security numbers serve as a unique and highly-sensitive form of identification. They therefore need to be protected whenever possible. The government is so concerned about safeguarding the integrity of Social Security numbers that the Court mandates that when filing for bankruptcy, applicants must complete a separate Louisiana bankruptcy form just to confirm that the Social Security numbers they have reported (theirs and their spouse’s) are accurately entered. An error on this form could negatively impact the credit of any American whose SSN is erroneously linked to your case, so Bankruptcy form 121 needs to be free of mistakes.
A Creditor Matrix is an official list of your creditors and their contact information. It’s particularly important that the information you provide in this form is correct and that the format follows the directions provided by the Louisiana Bankruptcy District you’re filing in. Any debts not addressed here could outlive your bankruptcy case. When debts are not properly discharged, they are not erased. This means that you remain indebted to your creditors for those debts and must pay your creditors back despite your Chapter 7 discharge. It’s also important that your work on this Louisiana bankruptcy form is error-free because the Court uses this information to create address labels for each of your creditors. The Court then uses these labels on correspondence that alerts your creditors to your decision to file for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7.
Verification of Creditor Matrix Louisiana
In the verification of creditor matrix Louisiana, you will be asked to promise that the information listed in your creditor matrix is both accurate and complete, to the best of your knowledge. In an earlier form, you were asked to swear that you aren’t intentionally leaving out requested information and that you aren’t intentionally misleading the Court when filling out your Louisiana bankruptcy forms. However, the Court needs reassurance that you have told the truth on this particular form because it needs to officially notify each of your creditors about your decision to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. Incorrect and/or incomplete information in your creditor matrix could affect the Court’s ability to complete this necessary task.
Credit Counseling Course Certificate for Chapter 7 in Louisiana
Before your case can be filed, you must participate in a credit counseling course specifically approved by the U.S Department of Justice for Louisiana bankruptcy filers. Unless you select a course that has been pre-approved by the DOJ for filers in your District, you will not earn credit for taking that class. The district your case will be filed in depends on the parish in which you live. Each parish/District assignment is listed below for your convenience. After you finish your approved credit counseling course, make sure to submit your credit counseling course certificate to the Court with the rest of your Louisiana Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. Depending on what makes the most sense for you and your family, you can opt to participate in an online course or attend an in-person class. If you choose an online course that is DOJ approved for Louisiana bankruptcy filers, it’s okay if that online course is offered by a company located outside of the state.
Louisiana Bankruptcy Fee Waiver
If you can’t afford to pay the $335 filing fee required of Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers in Louisiana, the Court may evaluate your case for free. You can submit a Louisiana bankruptcy fee waiver request for the Court’s consideration. Your fee waiver request will likely be granted if you can demonstrate that you can’t afford to pay this fee in installments and you live below 150% of the poverty line. In this Louisiana bankruptcy form, you will need to persuade the Court that you can’t afford to pay the fee in installments even after your case is filed and you’re relieved from making monthly payments to your creditors.
Louisiana Specific Bankruptcy Forms
Your Louisiana bankruptcy forms are comprised of the official forms that are the same whether you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Louisiana or elsewhere, and some local forms. While the local forms tend to vary for each district, they typically include a declaration regarding your payment advices and a verification of your creditors' mailing matrix. The latter requires you to sign, under oath and penalty of perjury, that you have provided the Court with correct addresses for all of your creditors. While they are not technically online bankruptcy forms, but fillable PDF documents instead, you do have free access to all Louisiana bankruptcy forms on each of the three Louisiana bankruptcy districts' websites.
Eastern District of Louisiana Bankruptcy Requirements
Additional Special Forms – None required.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana handles bankruptcy cases filed in the following parishes:
Middle District of Louisiana Bankruptcy Requirements
Additional Special Forms – None required.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Louisiana handles bankruptcy cases filed in the following parishes:
East Baton Rouge
West Baton Rouge
Western District of Louisiana Bankruptcy Requirements
Additional Special Forms – None required.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Louisiana handles bankruptcy cases filed in the following parishes: