Looking for a way to do a DIY Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? Here’s 10 tips to make sure you DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy goes off without a hitch.
Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad.
Updated October 20, 2020
There are a lot of good reasons to file a DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can be expensive, so using a consumer bankruptcy software might be a cheaper option for you. Bankruptcy can be confusing, so here are 10 tips to help you with your DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy without getting lost in a pile of paperwork.
1. See if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
The first thing you should do is to see if you qualify and if you should file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Before you get started on your DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy learn the basics.
See if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Figure out how much you owe and if you can pay it back.
Consider your alternatives too. If you can repay your debts, or can negotiate a payment plan with your creditors you might not need a DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
2. Decide if a DIY bankruptcy is right for you Think long and hard about if a DIY bankruptcy is right for you.
Consider alternatives to bankruptcy. It might be best for you to negotiate with your creditors or consult with a credit counseling agency or even do nothing. Remember, your situation is unique. Figure out what is best for you.
Consider if you want to get a bankruptcy lawyer to help you out in the process. Getting a lawyer has its advantages. Bankruptcy can be confusing, and a lawyer will be able to help guide you through the process of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
However, lawyers can be expensive. That might mean a DIY bankruptcy is right for you.
3. Know what kind of debt you have
Different kinds of debt are treated differently in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Make sure you know what kind of debt you have before you start your DIY bankruptcy.
For instance, there are generally special rules about child support debt and bankruptcy. If you owe money in child support you will want to read up no those differences.
Similarly, there are special rules for student loan debt and unpaid taxes. Student loan debt cannot typically be discharged with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Most kinds of debt can be dealt with by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you have credit card debt or mortgage debt you may be able to discharge them through your DIY bankruptcy. Make sure the kind of debt you owe can be discharged before you get started with your DIY bankruptcy.
4. Look at court websites for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy forms
The U.S. Bankruptcy court provides the forms you need to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can download and print Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms from the court if you want a true DIY bankruptcy.
You will have to figure out which forms you need for your DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Luckily, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court does have an instruction booklet you can use.
Also consider looking at your local court’s website for your DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Many courts provide information about other ways to have a DIY bankruptcy. For instance, the Eastern District of New York provides a list of consumer bankruptcy software providers.
Many courts provide the forms you need to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Checking with your local court may be a good way to find something to meet your DIY needs.
5. Take a moment to relax, recharge, and get back to filing
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be stressful, especially if you are doing it yourself. Make sure you take a moment to relax. Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be a long and confusing process.
If you take a moment to relax you will have an easier time getting through your DIY bankruptcy. If you start to feel overwhelmed by paperwork take break and recharge. You will be more organized and prepared when you get back to filing.
6. Check out free DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy resources
There are many free resources online with information about how bankruptcy works. If you are feeling lost or just want to get more informed check out free DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy resources online.
For instance, Upsolve’s learning center posts a wide variety of informative bankruptcy content. Whether you are looking to find out what those legal terms you keep coming across mean or how to stop wage garnishment, Upsolve has an article for you. Upsolve is continually updating its content to provide you with up to date answers about your bankruptcy related questions.
If you make use of free online resources you can make sure you DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy goes smoothly.
7. Look at paid DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy software
If you do not want to go it alone, but also do not want to hire an attorney then check out a paid DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy software. These softwares help guide you through the process of filing for bankruptcy. For instance, some help you fill out forms and make sure that the information you put in is accurate. There are many consumer bankruptcy softwares on the market. You should do research to see which one is right for your DIY Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing a do it yourself Chapter 7 bankruptcy software is whether or not the consumer bankruptcy software allows you to electronically file your forms. Some DIY consumer bankruptcy softwares allow you to take action online while others require you to print forms.
Different consumer bankruptcy softwares cost different amounts and might provide different forms.
Also consider checking out Upsolve for a free Chapter 7 Bankruptcy tool.
8. Get your financial forms organized
Do not scramble around looking for bank statements at the last minute! Get organized.
Whether you are using a Chapter 7 bankruptcy software or filing by yourself, you will eventually need to give the court information about your finances. To help with this you should get your financial forms organized.
You should get things like your bank statements, credit card statements, and any other financial forms organized for when you need them. If you get your forms organized before you start your DIY bankruptcy, you will have an easier time filing.
9. Keep your spirits up
There is hope, you can do a DIY bankruptcy.
Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be a stressful experience. Remind yourself that you can get through it and that you can have a successful DIY Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
10. Try Upsolve
If you are looking for a free do it yourself Chapter 7 bankruptcy software, Upsolve may be right for you.
Upsolve is a nonprofit founded out of Harvard Law School’s Access to Justice Lab with a mission of expanding access to low-income who need a fresh start. Upsolve is funded by the federal government (the Legal Services Corporation), and leading philanthropists like Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google. Here is a video from our founders.
Upsolve only helps low-income users who do not own real estate and want to file for Chapter 7. If you qualify, though, you can go to upsolve.org to create an account and get started on your own DIY bankruptcy.
On the site, you will take a credit counseling course to make sure bankruptcy is a good fit for you and there aren’t other methods for repaying your debt. You will also answer upload or take photos of financial documents like tax returns and pay stubs. And you will answer a number of questions about your income, expenses, assets, and debts.
From your answers, Upsolve will create your bankruptcy forms which will be reviewed by an Upsolve attorney. The attorney will reach out with any questions. Then they will email you the forms with instructions on how to bring or mail them at your local bankruptcy court to file them.
If you are looking for the hidden gem of DIY Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Upsolve is a great way to get started.