Help, my 341 meeting is coming up and I can’t find my social security card!

Ideally, you’ll have located your social security card at the very beginning of the process and have everything ready to go by the time your creditors’ meeting rolls around. Of course, life doesn’t always go as planned. If you can’t find your social security card in time for the meeting, bring last year’s form W-2 from your employer or one of the other accepted alternatives.

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Why does the bankruptcy court need my social security number? 

Interestingly, there is nothing in the Bankruptcy Code itself that requires the filer to have a social security number. But, your social security number is how you obtain and maintain credit and how your tax filings and liabilities are tracked, so the bankruptcy court system uses it to keep track of bankruptcy cases. So, if you have a social security number, you have to provide it to the bankruptcy court.

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What is a luxury item and why does it matter for my Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

A luxury item is something that is not reasonably necessary for your maintenance and support. It’s something you don’t need to live. Non-luxury items, on the other hand, are things you purchase to cover necessities for yourself and your dependents. Things like groceries, utilities, rent, and gas. The term luxury item includes both products and services that cost more than $725.

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Cash Advances and Bankruptcy

A cash advance is exactly what it sounds like. Someone gives you cash, you pay it back. There are a variety of different forms of cash advances, but they all have this in common. You get cash in a certain amount. You pay it back with interest.  Getting a cash advance right before filing bankruptcy is a big red flag for a couple of reasons. This article explains how.

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Giving gifts before filing bankruptcy

The bankruptcy system doesn’t care about the fact that you purchased your kids some toys for Christmas, or that you’re giving a friend a $10 gift card for their birthday. But, you will be required to list all persons who received gifts with a combined value greater than $600 within the 2 years before your bankruptcy case is filed. This article discusses how gift giving is viewed in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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My children receive social security benefits. Do I include this as income in my bankruptcy?

There are two locations in your bankruptcy forms where income has to be disclosed, the means test and your Schedule I. This article explores whether and when you should include social security benefits your child receives as part of your household income in your bankruptcy forms.

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I had a car accident after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. What do I do now?

While a property settlement from the insurance company may have to be paid to the trustee, any personal injury settlement you’re entitled to as a result of the accident is yours to keep. This article will explore what steps to take if you get in a car accident after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Can I file bankruptcy with my deceased spouse?

No, you can't file bankruptcy jointly with your late spouse. But, you can (and should) make sure that all of their debts are listed on your schedules so any payment obligation you may have to the creditors can be discharged in as part of your case.

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Can I file bankruptcy if I’m in a debt relief program?

Yes, you can absolutely file for bankruptcy relief even after attempting to work things out through an alternative debt relief program. Once your bankruptcy case is filed, you can stop making the payments under the debt relief plan you’re in (if you haven’t already) and your obligation to pay the debt will be eliminated for good when your discharge is entered. Continue reading to learn more about how the different debt relief options can impact your bankruptcy case.

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What to do if I realized that the address for one of my creditors has changed since my case was filed?

If you notice that your creditor’s address has changed on a document/letter they sent to you regarding your bankruptcy, it’s likely that they’ve already provided their new/updated address to the court.

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How to update a creditor’s address after filing

When you file bankruptcy, the court sends a document called the “Official Form 309A Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case — No Proof of Claim” to the creditors you listed on your bankruptcy paperwork. This form gives each creditor important information about your case and tells them what they need to do if they have a reasonable objection to your bankruptcy. If a creditor didn’t receive a copy of this notice because the court did not have the correct address, follow these steps to make sure this is corrected.

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What to do if I receive returned mail originally addressed to one of my creditors

If you receive a notice from the court in your bankruptcy case that was originally addressed to one of your creditors but returned to you, the creditor’s address may have been incorrect on your creditor’s matrix or changed after the case was filed.

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What to do if I receive a Notice of Undeliverable Mail from the court?

You’ll receive a Notice of Undeliverable Mail from the court if one (or more) notices to creditors were returned by the post office because their mailing address was incorrect. Typically, it includes instructions to add the new/updated mailing address directly on the form notice and send it back to the court.

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Can Social Security Overpayments be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

If you owe money to the government due to an overpayment of social security benefits, you may be concerned about whether you’ll be able to eliminate this debt as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Keep reading to learn how to make sure you are able to discharge your debt for this overpayment.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy and Tax Refunds

It's pretty well-known that tax debts typically can't be discharged in bankruptcy. But what if you're getting a refund? This article answers some of the frequently asked questions about tax refunds and bankruptcy.

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What are the Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Arizona has opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions. If you’ve lived in Arizona for at least 2 years when your bankruptcy is filed, you have to use the Arizona exemption laws. This article explores the exemptions available under Arizona law.

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What bills do I have to keep paying after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

One of the biggest benefits of filing bankruptcy is the automatic stay that goes into effect as soon as the case is filed. It means that your creditors (those you owe a debt) are not allowed to keep asking you for money. But, just because you don’t have to pay your debts after filing bankruptcy, you’ll still have some expenses to pay going forward. This article will explore what kind of bills a person filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy has to pay even after their case is filed.

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What is the presumption of abuse in bankruptcy? 

While every American has the right to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy,there are specific income requirements you must meet to be eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge. If your current monthly income exceeds these limits, then a presumption of abuse exists in your bankruptcy case. This article will explain what the presumption of abuse is, why it exists when it arises, and how it can be overcome. Finally, we take a brief look at what it means to file Chapter 7 even though a presumption of abuse exists in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

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What is post petition debt?

This article will explain what “post-petition” means, what post-petition debt is, the difference between post-petition debt and debts you simply forgot to include in your bankruptcy forms, the effect of your discharge on post-petition debt and whether the timing of the discharge affects the new debt.

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What is an Adversary Proceeding in Bankruptcy?

An adversary proceeding is a like a lawsuit that takes place as part of the bankruptcy case. Adversary proceedings are generally the most complicated part of a bankruptcy proceeding, but they don't happen in every case.

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How to Amend your Statement of Intentions

The Statement of Intentions is the bankruptcy form that you filed with the court to let your creditors know what you want to do with your secured debts, most often a car loan. If you have changed your mind and need to amend (update) your Statement of Intentions, follow the steps outlined in this article.

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Why do reaffirmation agreements exist? 

A brief overview of why reaffirmation agreements exist and their purpose.

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Filing bankruptcy while self-employed

Do you own your own business and are your own boss? Congratulations! You're living the American dream! Of course, if you're finding yourself in financial difficulties, the American dream of being self employed can feel a little bit like a nightmare. This article will explore the two most typical ways individuals own businesses, and how it impacts your options when it comes to getting lasting debt relief through a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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Everything You Wanted to Know, But Were Too Afraid to Ask: 341 Meeting of Creditors

In this article and video we will be walking you through what goes on in a typical 341 Meeting of Creditors, and hopefully help calm your nerves! It’s going to be okay! We promise.

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What is debt consolidation?

Debt consolidation is one of many possible options for debt relief. In simple terms, debt consolidation involves combining multiple debts into one obligation. However, there are risks and downsides associated with taking on this type of debt. This article describes how debt consolidation works, how it can be beneficial, and what pitfalls you may face.

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What is credit counseling?

Credit counseling is not a debt relief solution in itself. Instead, it’s a starting point for people who are looking for the right solution.

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What is Debt Settlement?

Debt settlement is a type of debt relief that may allow you to settle your debts for less than the full amount due. Most debt settlement programs work by setting aside money to negotiate with, then making settlement offers one debt at a time. But, like any debt relief solution, debt settlement isn’t for everyone. In this article, you’ll learn more about how debt settlement works, the benefits of making lump sum payments, and the risks you should know about.

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What is a Debt Management Plan?

When you’re struggling with debt, your first step should always be to educate yourself about your options so you can make the best decision for you and your family. This article describes one possible option: a debt management plan, also known as a DMP. A debt management plan involves working with an agency to consolidate your payments. The agency will also work with your creditors to try to get you better terms, so you can pay off your debt more quickly.

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Can Bankruptcy Help Discharge Traffic Tickets, Court Fines, and Road Tolls

If you have any traffic tickets or court fines, then filing bankruptcy may help you get out of debt. You will first need to determine which Chapter of bankruptcy will be most helpful in your situation. At Upsolve we provide the tools you need to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy without the help of a bankruptcy lawyer. If you feel more comfortable using a bankruptcy lawyer we can help you find one.

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Can Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Help Get Back Garnished Wages?

Many people who end up with a wage garnishment are already strapped for cash and can’t afford to have money taken out of their checks every week. Filing for bankruptcy is one of the ways to stop a wage garnishment.

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How to Fix a Mistake on your Bankruptcy Forms After Filing

When you file for bankruptcy and submit your forms you testify under oath that your forms are true and correct. If your [bankruptcy forms](https://upsolve.org/learn/chapter-7-bankruptcy-forms-explained "bankruptcy forms") have inaccuracies and you don’t fix your mistake, the Bankruptcy Court may assume that you’re purposely trying to hide information. Making an amendment to your forms is simple and shows the Court that you made a mistake.

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Should I keep paying my credit cards if I’m going to file bankruptcy?

It’s important to understand that you don’t have to be late on credit card payments to file bankruptcy. But at the same time, if you are really facing a hardship and are struggling to make ends meet each month then it is absolutely ok to fall behind on payments before filing bankruptcy.

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What is non-exempt equity?

What property you are allowed to keep and what you may be forced to sell or surrender when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy depends on how much non-exempt equity you have in the item. Let’s explore what this means for you, so you can choose the path to debt relief that makes the most sense for you.

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What Is A Co-Debtor and How Does My Bankruptcy Affect Them?

When you file bankruptcy, your co-signers will remain responsible for paying the debt that they co-signed for that is discharged in your bankruptcy. As long as they continue to pay the debt, your bankruptcy will not affect their credit.

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Everything You Need to Know About How Bankruptcy affects Credit Union Accounts

There are a lot of details to understand when you are deciding whether filing for bankruptcy is a good idea. If you are a member of a credit union, there are some specific things to consider that are unique to this type of organization. Keep reading to learn how bankruptcy affects credit union accounts.

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How to get your credit report for free

There are three ways to request a copy of your free credit report.

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Can I File Bankruptcy with No Money While Being Unemployed?

Your ability to file a bankruptcy case is not dependent on your employment status. Being unemployed is a common cause when it comes to reasons to file bankruptcy, and it is possible to file bankruptcy with no money. If you’re unemployed, consider the factors and information discussed below when making your decision about whether bankruptcy is right for you.

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Do I Need to Include My Spouse’s Income and Expenses?

Married couples don’t have to file bankruptcy together. Depending on their situation, it may make sense for only one spouse to file. This article explains what information the filer needs to include with respect to their spouse’s income and expenses.

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What is a tax return?

It is important to take all the necessary steps to make sure that you have copies of your tax returns or transcripts when you file for bankruptcy. Your tax returns will give the Bankruptcy Court and your Trustee an idea of your financial history. To ensure your bankruptcy case goes smoothly make sure to locate copies of them before filing your bankruptcy case, so you don’t have to rush later.

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Why you should not include credit card or personal loan debt payments in Schedule J (Expenses)

Since Schedule J is essentially a budget for life after bankruptcy and since you will not continue to pay your debts after filing for bankruptcy, don’t list your monthly credit card payments etc. on your Schedule J. Anything that gets discharged in your case, that you won’t continue to pay for should be left off your Schedule J.

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Can bankruptcy help me get my car back after repossession?

If your car has been repossessed, you’re probably stressed out and worried. If you have fallen behind on your payments and are wondering if bankruptcy can help get your vehicle back, the simple answer is yes, though it doesn’t always make sense to do so. If your car has been repossessed, [bankruptcy can help](https://upsolve.org/learn/should-i-file-bankruptcy-after-repo/ "bankruptcy can help you") you get it back as long as you quickly take action to recover your vehicle.

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Can bankruptcy help me get my car back after a repossession?

Filing bankruptcy may allow you to get a car back after it has been repossessed. This article explores how this might work in Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 bankruptcy and why it may not always be a good idea to try.

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What is a Bankruptcy Discharge?

A bankruptcy discharge is an order from the Bankruptcy Court that is granted to the filer in a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Discharge orders are also entered in Chapter 13 cases, but only if the filer is eligible for a discharge, which most often includes completing the payment plan. The debt that is discharged depends in part on the type of bankruptcy you file.

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Using A Fee Waiver For Free Bankruptcy Credit Counseling

Everyone who wants to file for bankruptcy has to take a credit counseling course before they can do so. While there is a small cost associated with this requirement, it is possible to take the required course for free by requesting a fee waiver.

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How to find the right bankruptcy lawyer for your case

In this article, we'll explore whether you need an attorney to file bankruptcy, how you can make sure you hire the bankruptcy attorney that is right for you, and what kind of resources are available to find a bankruptcy lawyer near you. Learn how to choose the right bankrutpcy lawyer for your situation based on what matters most!

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Verification of Creditor Matrix Explained

Learn about the verification of creditor matrix.

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Does The Government Pay for Bankruptcies?

People filing for bankruptcy are struggling to pay their debts. Find out what type of costs to expect for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and who pays for it if you can’t.

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Is Bankruptcy Worth It?

Filing bankruptcy immediately protects you from your creditors but, it’s not right for every situation. Find out when filing bankruptcy may not be worth it.

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What Happens If I Declare Bankruptcy?

Overview of what to expect after declaring bankruptcy, including types of bankruptcy, the immediate debt relief benefits of filing bankruptcy, and important information about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process.

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Why does Upsolve believe in earning revenue?

Earning revenue makes Upsolve a more sustainable, effective, and impactful nonprofit.

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Legal Services Corporation
Robin Hood
The Upsolve Team
Harvard University
Fast Forward

Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) legal aid nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income Americans in financial distress get a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy at no cost. We do this by combining the power of technology with attorneys. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have mission-driven funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and private charities.

To learn more, read our reviews from past clients, or read our press coverage.

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