Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated July 28, 2020
If filing bankruptcy in Philadelphia is what you are looking for, you have come to the right place. Our guides provide great resources to help you file for bankruptcy without hiring an attorney. The median household income for Philadelphia is $30,756. This figure is way below most other cities in Mississippi. If you are facing financial troubles and need to act quickly, filing for bankruptcy can be your way out. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you get away from creditors that are going after you. Most unsecured debts like credit cards, personal loans, and medical bills get wiped away when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It’s reassuring to know that filing for bankruptcy will allow you to get back on your feet and start saving money shortly.
Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Philadelphia can be done on your own if it doesn’t make sense for you to hire an attorney or work with legal aid. If you follow the steps carefully you can be debt-free within a few months. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can begin rebuilding your credit as soon as the process is completed. If you don’t own any assets and have little income then filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is most likely the direction you will need to move towards. If you have a lot of assets or make “too much income” then a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be something to look into. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 will provide a way to help you get back on your feet financially.
Philadelphia Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
Bankruptcy lawyer costs can be a problem for most people who want to get out of debt when filing bankruptcy in Philadelphia. Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer to help you through the process can make things hassle-free. But if hiring a lawyer is too expensive for you, then you can file t Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your own. At the very least, you may want to sit and speak with a Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer to make sure filing a Philadelphia bankruptcy is the right decision for you. Many lawyers offer free consultations that will help point you in the right direction. A Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer costs anywhere from $999-$1,200 to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most people can’t afford the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer but with proper tools to assist you, you will find that you don’t need a lawyer. Continue reading this guide to help you prepare for the process of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your own.
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How to File Bankruptcy in Philadelphia, Mississippi for Free
Filing a Philadelphia bankruptcy can help you restructure your finances. If you don’t know where to start with this process, then you have come to the right place. This guide can walk you through the steps so that you will feel more comfortable completing your Philadelphia bankruptcy on your own.
Collect Your Philadelphia Bankruptcy Documents
Gathering the documents you’ll need to complete the Philadelphia bankruptcy forms is the first step. Get a folder so that you can neatly organize all of your paperwork. You will need to locate the following documents:
Any deeds for any real property you own
Appraisals for any property you own
Pay off Statements for any property you own
Copies of your last two years filed tax returns
3 months of bank statements from all of your financial accounts
A list of all of your monthly expenses
Paystubs for the last six months or any statements relating to income you receive each month. (This includes unemployment, social security, food stamps, etc.)
A list of your creditors
This is not a complete list but a helpful starting point. You will probably need to gather other documents in addition to the documents listed above. If you can’t find some of these documents you can contact your financial institution, employer, DMV, or any other agencies to help you. You can go to the IRS website and get a copy of your tax return. You can get a credit report for free online to ensure you have a proper list of everyone you owe money to.
Take Credit Counseling
A credit counseling course from an approved provider will need to be completed before filing bankruptcy in Philadelphia. You can take the course online or over the phone. The course will probably take about an hour. You won’t be tested on this information, however, the Court will want to make sure that you have completed the course. The course is designed to help you determine if bankruptcy is the best option for you. While you take the course, you should have a list of your monthly expenses on hand. Some courses will have you take a picture to confirm your identity. Once the course is completed you will get a certificate that will need to be filed with the Court as part of your your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Philadelphia. You can’t complete this course after you file your documents so make sure to complete this step right away. The certificate of completion is valid for 180 days.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
There are 24 forms that you will need to complete to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Philadelphia. These forms include your bankruptcy petition, schedules, and various statements. The petition is only the first ten pages and will ask you to fill in your basic information. The schedules are organized in alphabetical order and will ask you information about your income and expenses as well as your debts, assets, and creditors. Make sure to carefully review your Philadelphia bankruptcy forms before submitting them. You will be questioned about the information you provide when you go to your 341 meeting. You will use the documents you gathered above to help you complete these forms. It may seem like a lot of paperwork but the questions are simple to answer if you take your time. If filling out the forms seems too complicated Upsolve might be able to help if you’re eligible.
Get Your Filing Fee
The filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $338. Everyone is required to pay this fee to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Philadelphia. You will have to bring a cashier’s check or cash with you to pay the fee when you file your documents. If you are worried that you can’t afford to pay this amount, you may be able to apply for a fee waiver. You will need to complete a fee waiver application to determine your eligibility. The Court will decide whether you qualify. If the Court does not allow your request for a fee waiver then you can ask for permission to pay the fee in four installments. If the Court doesn’t grant this request, you will need to come up with the full fee to pay for your Mississippi bankruptcy.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
The Bankruptcy Courts have fallen behind on times. Unfortunately, the only way to get your Philadelphia bankruptcy filed is to physically bring or mail your forms to the Mississippi Bankruptcy Court. To do so you will need to print a few hundred pages of forms. Always print at least one extra copy for you to keep. If you don’t have a reliable printer you will need to locate a location to print all of your documents. You can choose to go to your local library, FedEx, Staples or Kinkos to print out your forms. Never print your forms double-sided because the Bankruptcy Court will not allow your forms to be filed.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
It’s now time to get in the car and take a drive down to the courthouse. Since Philadelphia is located in Neshoba County, you will need to file your forms in the Southern District for the Mississippi Bankruptcy Court. The courthouse is located at 100 East Capitol Street in Jackson. Before you head down to file your Philadelphia bankruptcy make sure to bring your license, money for parking, money to pay the filing fees and a copy of your credit counseling certificate with you. Once you are inside the courthouse you will need to head to the Clerk’s office to get your documents filed and stamped.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Don’t throw away any of your documents just yet! The Trustee that will be personally handling your Philadelphia bankruptcy may need some of the documents you filled your forms with. Some of these documents the Trustee may ask for include: tax returns, paytubs, bank statements etc. When you go to your 341 meeting about a month after Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Philadelphia, the Trustee will question you about your forms. Keep a copy with you so you can review all the information before your hearing. The Trustee wants to go through your full financial history to understand why you are filing for bankruptcy. If you get any notices in the mail from your Trustee, make sure to act quickly. If the Trustee does not get your documents before your hearing, he will not hear your case.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
It’s now time to take the second approved bankruptcy course. This is also called the financial management course. This course will help you manage all of your finances once the bankruptcy is over. The course will go through steps on how you can rebuild your credit, put away money and begin budgeting. They will also provide you with ways to avoid any financial downfalls in the future. To receive a discharge in your Philadelphia bankruptcy, the certificate will have to be filed with the Clerk’s office. Put time aside to take this course because it takes two hours to complete. Make sure to have your case number while taking the course because you will be required to put that information in. If you can’t locate your case number, you can go to the Court’s website and type in your name or social security number to locate your case number.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Do not get stressed before going to Court. The 341 meeting will only last about five minutes and you should dress business casual, but not too fancy. Everyone who files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Philadelphia, must attend such a 341 hearing in Court. If you are medically unable to attend the hearing and need alternative arrangements, you will need to get permission from the United States Trustee. The hearing allows the Trustee to question you under oath about the paperwork you submitted. There will be a tape recorder on the desk so speak loudly and clearly. If your Trustee wants more paperwork after your meeting, it’s important to send it to their office right away. Otherwise, your Philadelphia bankruptcy will be delayed. Usually, you will only have to go to Court one time.
Dealing with Your Car
Many people contemplating bankruptcy don’t want to file over the fact that they are worried that you will lose their car. Exemptions allow you to keep a vehicle you own even after filing bankruptcy in Philadelphia. If your vehicle is worth less than the available exemption, your car will be safe. For example, if the vehicle exemption in Mississippi is $5,000 and your car is worth $2,000 then you will be able to keep your car. If you have a loan on your vehicle when you file your Philadelphia bankruptcy, you will have other options. If the car is draining your pockets and you want to get rid of it then you can surrender the car. When you surrender a vehicle you let it go and are not responsible for the payments. Other options you have are to reaffirm or redeem the vehicle. Reaffirmation agreements enable you to enter into a contract with the lender to allow you to keep your vehicle. A reaffirmation agreement will ask you questions about your income and expenses to ensure that you will be able to keep up with the payments moving forward. If the Court does not foresee a way that you will be able to keep making the payments then they will deny your reaffirmation agreement.
Mississippi Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Philadelphia
Mississippi Means Test
You will need to complete Form 122 to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Philadelphia. This form is known as the Mississippi bankruptcy Means Test. While completing the form you will be required to calculate your last six months of income along with your expenses. Congress enacted the Means Test to make sure that only people who were really in financial trouble were able to walk away from their debts by filing a Chapter 7. The Means Test has two parts. Not everyone will have to complete the second part of the test but if you do, have your monthly expenses on hand.
Median Income Levels for Mississippi
Mississippi Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed In 2022
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Poverty Levels for Mississippi
Mississippi Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed In 2022
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Mississippi Bankruptcy Forms
Filling out your Mississippi bankruptcy forms is the longest step. It will require attention to detail and directions. Make sure to list all of your assets on your forms as full disclosure of everything is one of the most important parts of filing bankruptcy in Philadelphia.
If you want to keep your vehicle, home, car or any other property, you will need to use your bankruptcy exemptions. Bankruptcy exemptions allow you to keep most of your necessities so that creditors’ can’t take them. If your property is not exempt the Trustee will want to sell it so that they can pay your Creditors. The Mississippi bankruptcy exemptions can be confusing so, make sure you look over everything carefully. Other states allow federal bankruptcy exemptions when filing bankruptcy. But Mississippi only allows the use of state exemptions. Carefully review your bankruptcy exemptions before filing your forms. Remember, any property that is not exempt can be sold.