FAQ for Legal Service Providers

  1. Which debtors should we not send to Upsolve?
  2. When can a debtor take the pre-filing credit counseling?
  3. Where does the debtor take the pre-filing credit counseling course?
  4. Can the debtor apply to waive the fee of the pre-filing credit counseling course?
  5. Does Upsolve populate the fee waiver paperwork, so debtors under 150% of the poverty line can waive the $335 filing fee?
  6. What is the nature of the relationship between a legal aid/pro bono attorney and a debtor who uses Upsolve?
  7. Is the legal aid/pro bono attorney Counsel of Record?
  8. What exactly is an attorney’s role when an LSP uses Upsolve?
  9. How does the attorney make changes to the petition Upsolve generates
  10. What happens after the attorney review?
  11. When can the debtor take the post-filing debtor education course?
  12. Does Upsolve take care of the means test paperwork?

1. Which debtors should we not send to Upsolve?

  • Any debtor that requires a reaffirmation
  • Joint filings (although you can ask joint filers to file two separate cases if they’re okay paying two filing fees)
  • Any debtor with extreme levels of debt (over $100,000), as this will raise red flags with a Trustee, requiring full representation
  • Debtors in an unusual or complicated situation, either from complex assets or debts, as full representation will likely be important
  • Debtors who do not have computer skills or access to email
  • Any debtor who earns close to the median income
  • Any debtor who earns above the median income and is subject to the means test

2. When can a debtor take the pre-filing credit counseling?

After the debtor’s attorney makes the final diagnosis, confirming the debtor is a good fit for bankruptcy, the attorney should send the debtor to Upsolve to get instructions on the pre-filing credit counseling course. This is the last step before the debtor and the attorney meet to finalize the bankruptcy forms.

3. Where does the debtor take the pre-filing credit counseling course?

We direct debtors to take the course online at the nonprofit Cricket Debt. We have an integration with Cricket Debt in which our debtors have a special login page. Upsolve also automatically receives the debtor’s Certificate of Completion and attaches it to the email we send the LSP that contains the complete petition.

4. Can the debtor apply to waive the fee of the pre-filing credit counseling course?

Yes. But Upsolve does not do this for debtors. The debtors must apply for fee waivers themselves. We do tell debtors that credit counseling fee waivers exist and provide information on how to apply for them.

5. Does Upsolve populate the fee waiver paperwork, so debtors under 150% of the poverty line can waive the $335 filing fee?

Yes we do. This is attached to the petition we email our point of contact at LSPs after the debtor has used our software.

The attorney who assists the debtor enters into a limited scope agreement with the debtor. As outlined below, the attorney helps the debtor complete and review the petition, but the attorney does not show up in court to represent the debtor.

No. The attorney’s name and signature do not appear on the petition in anyway. There is a notice of pro se assistance that includes the legal aid organization’s name and appears at the end of the petition submitted to the court. But this notice of pro se assistance does not have the attorney’s name. In the really small chance some further assistance is required by the debtor after filing, the attorney is not professionally obligated to provide it in anyway. The court does not know who the attorney is that provides assistance to the debtor.

8. What exactly is an attorney’s role when an LSP uses Upsolve?

The Upsolve workflow requires an attorney exactly twice.

  1. The Final Diagnosis. After Upsolve generates the draft petition, the attorney must review it and call the debtor to let them know if they are a good fit for bankruptcy. On the call, the attorney also sends the debtor back to Upsolve to complete the credit counseling course and comes up with a time to meet with the debtor to review and finalize the forms.
  2. The Debtor Meeting. The attorney can either meet in person or over the phone with the debtor. It’s up to the attorney and the debtor to find a mutually beneficial time to meet. Upsolve provides the attorney a checklist of what they must review and complete. Here are the most important items: Complete the exemptions (Schedule C), Complete the creditors (Schedules E/F), and Review income/expenses (Schedules I/E).

To see the full checklist, click here. It includes items the attorney can complete before the meeting with the debtor and items the attorney must complete during the meeting with the debtor. When the meeting is over, the attorney must provide guidance to the debtor on next steps.

9. How does the attorney make changes to the petition Upsolve generates?

Upsolve sends the LSP an editable PDF that the attorney can open and edit in Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free desktop application available for download here.

10. What happens after the attorney review?

The debtor must get a printed copy of the final petition, sign it in all the right places, and mail/hand deliver it to the courthouse in which he is filing. The debtor must also make two copies of the signed petition and send mail one to his assigned Trustee, who he will receive from the clerk’s office. Electronic filing is currently not permitted for pro se debtors.

If the debtor meets with the attorney in person (or the debtor meets with the attorney over teleconference at the LSP’s office), we suggest the attorney or LSP staff member print out the petition for the debtor, have the debtor sign it, make two copies, and then mail the petition to the right bankruptcy courthouse. If the bankruptcy courthouse is anywhere near where the debtor lives, we suggest the attorney or LSP staff member give the hard copies of the petition to the debtor to file in person at the courthouse on his own, instead of mailing the copies to the courthouse. This allows the debtor to get a feel for what the court is like and where it’s located.

If the meeting occurs over the phone while the debtor is at home, the attorney must email the debtor a complete final draft of the petition. The debtor must print it out on his own, sign it, make copies, and mail/hand deliver the petition to the court himself.

When all the signing, printing, and mailing is done, the attorney/LSP staff member tells the debtor to return to Upsolve to complete the post-bankruptcy debtor education course and watch the 341-prep video.

11. When can the debtor take the post-filing debtor education course?

The debtor can take the post-filing debtor education course right after the filing is complete. We suggest the debtor take the course as soon as he files his petition, so that he can print out the Certificate of Completion and give it to the clerk’s office when he goes to the court for his 341 meeting. At Upsolve, the debtor receives instructions on where and how to take the course.

12. Does Upsolve take care of the means test paperwork?

No. If a debtor is above the household median income and is subject to the means test, the LSP should not send them to Upsolve.

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 pro bono 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.