Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated September 30, 2020
Billed as the largest mall in America, many see the Mall of America as a symbol of all that life in the Twin Cities has to offer. However, for many Minnesotans who are still paying for purchases made at the mall many years ago because of high-interest credit cards, the mall can be a symbol of past financial mistakes they can’t seem to overcome. Other Minnesotans may simply be struggling with bills they can’t afford to pay as a result of an unexpected medical emergency or job loss. Whether you are seeking to overcome past financial mistakes or are a victim of financial circumstances beyond your control, you have options. If you live in Minneapolis and you have high-interest credit card payments that you can no longer afford to pay, payday loans that eat up most of your paycheck before you receive it, or medical bills that have been turned over to collections, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis can be the lifeline you’re looking for. Here at Upsolve, we believe no one is too broke for a fresh start. And we believe you should not be priced out of our nation’s courts because you can't afford to pay an attorney to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your behalf. Using the information provided in this guide and, if you qualify, without our help, you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis, on your own, for free, without an attorney. And if you do, you will put an end to the discomfort, frustration and stress of being harassed by your creditors in as little as ten days. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis gives rise to something called an automatic stay. This stay is an order of the Court that automatically prevents any of your creditors from contacting you or taking any action to collect on the debts you owe them, as long as you are under the protection of the Bankruptcy Court. This stay is available whether you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy that eliminates all of your debts without requiring you to make any payments, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reduces and consolidates your debts into one monthly payment. The debt is then paid off over a period of three to five years. Where a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically preferred by individuals who earn a high income or own their home, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is by far the more popular of the two and preferred by individuals with few assets but lots of debt. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs less than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and is quicker, typically taking only 4 to 6 months to complete, instead of three to five years. And you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for free, without an attorney!
Minneapolis Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost
Minneapolis is a great city to obtain low-cost or free legal aid. The Minnesota Legal Services Coalition of Minneapolis offers free legal services to low income and elderly families in a variety of civil matters including bankruptcy. If you do have to hire an attorney, the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Minneapolis ranges between $1,265 and $1,800. This cost can increase substantially if you have special circumstances in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis, like if you’re being sued, evicted, or your wages are being garnished. Whether you qualify for free legal aid or not, you don’t have to hire an attorney to file bankruptcy in Minneapolis. Using the content in this guide and, if you qualify, our free product, you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for free.
How to File Bankruptcy in Minneapolis, Minnesota for Free
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis, Minnesota is very similar to filing bankruptcy in any other city in the United States. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a federal program administered by the federal Bankruptcy Courts. You can’t file bankruptcy in state Court and a state Court can’t grant you a discharge. However, because it is governed by federal law, a discharge issued in a Minnesota bankruptcy is effective and enforceable in every state in the United States.
Collect Your Minneapolis Bankruptcy Documents
Depending on your source of income, the documents you will need to collect for your Minnesota bankruptcy will vary slightly. However, as a general rule you should have pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns. If you receive unemployment or social security, then you should get copies of your payments for those instead. Next, locate your monthly bills like utility bills, transportation costs, taxes, and other records of your day-to-day expenses, like receipts You should also get documents showing what debts you currently have and what you pay on them each month, such as credit card statements, medical bills, payday loans, collections, charge-offs and personal loans. Finally, get any ownership documents you have for car or home, such as a certificate of title and deed. If you can’t locate these, copies of most of these records can be obtained from your local department of motor vehicles or register of deeds office. Since filing bankruptcy in Minneapolis does require a complete and up to date list of all of your creditors, it’s always a good idea to request a free copy of your credit report, too.
Take Credit Counseling
Since 2005, part of the fresh start provided by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis, includes educating individuals about the basics of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the nature and consequences of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One way of doing this is through mandatory pre-bankruptcy credit counseling. Every individual who files bankruptcy in Minneapolis is required to complete a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course. The course costs between $15 and $35 and typically lasts thirty minutes to one hour. Upon completion of the course, you will be given a certificate that must be given to the Court when you file your Minnesota bankruptcy case. The Office of the United States Trustee maintains a list of approved credit counseling agencies that serve the Minneapolis area. While many of these providers are not based in Minnesota, you can take the course online, over the telephone or in-person.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Completing all of the forms for your Minnesota bankruptcy will be the most challenging, but also most rewarding, part of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis. And, if you qualify, Upsolve can help you to complete all your required forms, online, for free. Whether you complete your forms on your computer, by hand or online, the most important thing to do is answer each form completely, accurately and truthfully. The CEO, and co-founder, of Upsolve, Rohan Pavuluri says you must tell the Court “what you earn, spend and own.” What you “earn” will be reported on Schedule I – Your Income. What you owe will be reported on Schedule J – Your Expenses and what you own will be reported on Schedule A/B – Property. All of the other forms and schedules will generally ask you to provide additional information about one of these three things.
Get Your Filing Fee
Part of the costs of administering the federal bankruptcy program is paid for by a $335 filing fee required of everyone who files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Unless you are represented by an attorney, this fee must be paid in cash, cashier’s check or money order payable to “Clerk, US Bankruptcy Court.” If you’re unable to pay the entire fee at once, you can request to pay the fee in installments. If you can’t afford to pay the fee at all, you can request that the fee be waived. Your installment request will typically be approved as long as you don’t request to make more than four payments and your last installment is paid no later than 120 days after you file your Minnesota bankruptcy. In order to get your fee waiver approved, you must earn less than 150% of the poverty level and be unable to pay the filing fee in installments, even after filing bankruptcy in Minneapolis.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
When you have completed your Minnesota bankruptcy, you will need to print two copies of all of your forms. This will give you one copy to submit to the Court and one copy to keep for yourself after filing bankruptcy in Minneapolis. All of the forms should be printed one side per page and kept in sequential order. Typically this will consist of your voluntary petition, followed by your schedules and then your statements. For $0.10 per page, you can print your Minnesota bankruptcy petition at the Minneapolis Public Library. The Minneapolis Public Library is located at 300 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. A six-minute drive from Guthrie Theater.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Minnesota handles all Chapter 7 bankruptcies filed in Minneapolis and Hennepin County. You must deliver or mail a copy of your bankruptcy forms to the Court to start your case. Upsolve recommends filing bankruptcy in Minneapolis in person but you are not required to do so. Whether you file your case in person, or mail everything to the Court instead, you must include your signed bankruptcy forms, your filing fee and your credit counseling certificate. If you’re requesting a fee waiver or to pay the fee in installments, you must include the written request forms instead of the filing fee. The Court is located at 300 South Fourth Street in downtown Minneapolis, a two minute walk from the METRO Government Plaza Station. The Court is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, not including federal holidays If you are filing your Minnesota bankruptcy case in person, the Court recommends arriving no later than 4:00 p.m. so the Clerk has time to assist with your filing before closing.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
At least seven days before your scheduled creditors’ meeting, you must send your court-appointed Trustee a copy of your last 60 days’ worth of pay stubs and your most recent tax return. The Trustee is an individual appointed by the Court to review your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis and deal with any of your creditors who appear in your case. You should receive Form 309a, Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, from the Court about seven days after you filing bankruptcy in Minneapolis. The Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case will contain the name, address and telephone number of your Trustee, the case number assigned to your case, and the date, place and time of your creditors’ meeting.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
The personal financial management course is the second of the two mandatory Minnesota bankruptcy credit counseling courses you must complete before you receive your discharge. The course is a minimum of two hours long and usually lasts up to three hours. The course can be taken online, over the telephone, or in-person, like the pre-bankruptcy course, but if you take it online you will be required to pass a test after you finish it. The course costs between $25 and $50, but if you received a waiver for your filing fee, you are entitled to have the fee for this course waived as well. You can’t take the course until you have received your case number from the Court, which will be on your Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case. You should plan to complete the course, and file your certificate of completion, no later than 60 days after the date scheduled for your creditors’ meeting. A list of approved personal financial management providers in Minneapolis is available from the Office of the US Trustee.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Somewhere between 21 and 40 days after you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis, you will be required to attend your 341 meeting of creditors. The 341 meeting of creditors is an informal meeting between you, your court-appointed Trustee and any of your creditors who choose to appear. Since 96% of Chapter 7 bankruptcies are so-called no-asset cases, creditors almost never show up at this meeting. You should bring a copy of your Minneapolis bankruptcy forms with you to the meeting, as well as any documents you may need to answer the Trustee’s questions. After swearing you in, the Trustee will ask you about the information you have provided in your bankruptcy forms and give you some general information about the nature and consequences of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You should answer the Trustee’s questions accurately and completely, and inform them of any additions, deletions or corrections to the information you have already provided in your forms.
Dealing with Your Car
What happens with your car when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis depends on whether you want to keep your car or walk away from it. Many individuals who have high interest rate car loans choose to simply surrender their car as part of their Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Surrendering your car is as simple as arranging a place and time for your lender to pick the car up. When you surrender the car, the loan is discharged and you’re freed from the burden of paying off the loan. If you wish to keep your car, you must either reaffirm the loan or redeem the vehicle. To reaffirm the loan, you will have to enter into a reaffirmation agreement with your lender. This agreement obligates you to continue making your car payment in exchange for your lender allowing you to keep the car. To redeem the vehicle, you must pay the lender the current market value of the car. If you are able to do this, any balance owed on your car loan is discharged.
Minnesota Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Minneapolis
Minnesota Means Test
Upsolve usually suggests that if you earn less than $50,000 a year, don’t own a home and have less than $10,000 in assets, that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good option for you. One reason for this is the Minnesota bankruptcy Means Test. The Minnesota bankruptcy Means Test compares your household income to the median household income of a similar-sized household in Minnesota. The purpose of the Means Test is to determine if you earn enough money to be able to pay your bills. If not, you qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis.
Median Income Levels for Minnesota
Minnesota Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for Minnesota
Minnesota Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
|Household Size||State Poverty Level||Fee Waiver Limit (150% PL)|
Minnesota Bankruptcy Forms
Before you start completing your Minneapolis bankruptcy, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the Minnesota bankruptcy forms you’ll need. All of the forms you will have to complete can be viewed and downloaded from the website of the U.S. Courts. In addition, there are instructions that can help you complete each of these forms that can be viewed and downloaded for free.
If you own a home, you can still file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis with reasonable confidence that you will be able to keep your home. This is because of the Minnesota bankruptcy exemptions. Bankruptcy exemptions are laws that allow you to keep your property as long as it doesn’t exceed a certain value. These values differ depending on the state where your bankruptcy is filed and the type of property you own. You can retain up to $420,000 in equity in your home when you file bankruptcy in Minneapolis. In addition, you can retain up to $4,800 in equity in a car and $10,800 in personal property. Most people who file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minneapolis will be able to keep all of their property by using the Minnesota bankruptcy exemptions.