Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated July 27, 2020
If you are thinking about filing bankruptcy in Tupelo without the help of an attorney, we can help. Our guide will show you that filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an easy, straight forward process that you can do on your own. As long as you can stay organized and follow the directions you will be debt-free in no time! The Bankruptcy Court is also a great resource to use to help you get all of the forms that you will need to file. Unfortunately, large amounts of debt can burden even the most financially savvy people. Sometimes life circumstances beyond our control create situations where debts can’t be paid off. Harassing phone calls, garnishments, and Court notices from creditors can cause a great deal of stress on you and make it seem like there is no way out. Fortunately, filing for bankruptcy can help you get back on your feet and start over. If you are one of those people that want to pay your bills but can’t due to your financial circumstances, you are not the only one. Loss of employment, family emergencies, and unexpected medical bills are the top reasons people have to file bankruptcy.
You should think of filing for bankruptcy as a tool to help you start saving and rebuilding your credit again. Many people think that you can’t have credit after getting bankruptcy relief. This would go against why bankruptcy laws were enacted. Bankruptcy laws were enacted to help honest people who fell into hard times. The Court does not want to see people fail; they want to see people move on from their financial hardships. Look at Donald Trump, Walt Disney, and Missy Elliot, all people who filed bankruptcy and bounced back.
We are here to show you that filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tupelo is an easy process that can allow you to be debt-free within 4-6 months. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy your debts will be eliminated and you can start saving. If you are not able to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you may need to look into filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. In a Chapter 13, you will make monthly payments for 3 - 5 years and discharge what’s left. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 will trigger an automatic stay to prevent creditors from going after you.
Tupelo Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
Although, you may be inclined to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, you don’t need one to file a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are, however, certain advantages to hiring a lawyer if you can afford it. A bankruptcy lawyer can walk you through the steps of filing a Tupelo bankruptcy. They can also review your documents and make sure that everything is in order. Moreover, they can probably better prepare you for Court since they have gone to numerous hearings. If you feel that you want to hire a lawyer, be sure to find someone who practices bankruptcy law regularly. A bankruptcy lawyer’s fees can be expensive for some. A Tupelo bankruptcy lawyer costs anywhere from $999-$1,200 to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This can be a pretty hefty amount to spend when you are already struggling. If hiring a lawyer is not in the foreseeable future, then continue reading this guide to help you file for bankruptcy on your own.
How to File Bankruptcy in Tupelo, Mississippi for Free
If you can follow directions carefully you will find that filing bankruptcy in Tupelo is a pretty straight-forward process. This guide will provide you with an overview of the different steps required to get a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Collect Your Tupelo Bankruptcy Documents
You will begin by gathering your Tupelo bankruptcy documents. Gathering the documents and putting them in an organized folder will help you down the line when you begin filling out your bankruptcy forms. You will need to gather 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
You should note, this list is just a starting point for you. You will probably need to locate other documents in addition to the list above. If you have other property not mentioned above, you will need to gather the documents relating to that as well. If you need copies of your tax return, you can go online to the IRS website and get a copy. You should order a credit report so that you have all of your creditors’ information and know exactly how much you owe. Take note, that medical bills and judgments may not show up on your credit report so be sure to also gather any bills and collection notices you have.
Take Credit Counseling
You are required to complete a credit counseling course from an approved provider. This course will take about an hour to complete and can be done either online or over the phone. The course will help you determine if filing bankruptcy in Tupelo is the best option for you. Have a list of your income and expenses readily available to help answer the information requested. Make sure to have a debit card with you when you take the course because you will be charged anywhere between $10 - $50. After completing the course, you will receive a certificate of completion you’ll need to file with the Court. Make sure you complete this course before you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tupelo; otherwise your case will not be processed.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
You will need to complete 24 forms carefully to make sure that your Tupelo bankruptcy goes through. These forms require a lot of financial information from you. Use the documents you gathered in preparation for this step to complete these forms. Take your time and read through the directions carefully. You can always go back to the forms if you need to take a break. Your Tupelo bankruptcy forms should be filled out without any blanks. Double-check that your name and address match the information on your license.
Get Your Filing Fee
The filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tupelo is $335. This fee can be paid by check or cash. Make sure that you don’t file your documents until you have the fee in hand. For people who make little to no money, you may be able to apply for a fee waiver. Fee waivers are not guaranteed. You will need to fill out the application and file it with the Court. The Court will then have a judge review your income and expenses to determine if you can proceed without having to pay anything. If the Court denies your application for a fee waiver, you’ll likely be given the opportunity to pay the fee in installments after filing bankruptcy in Tupelo.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
Once you have reviewed all of your forms and made sure that there are no changes needed, you can start printing. You will need to print 2 copies so that you have one for you and the Court. Make sure to have all the supplies you need to print everything. If your printer isn’t working or you don’t have one, then you will need to go down to your local library or a place like Staples or Fedex to print the forms. Make sure your Tupelo bankruptcy forms are printed only single-sided. Unfortunately, the Court does not care if it costs more to print single-sided and won’t accept your forms if you print double-sided.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
You can now get into your car so that you can head down to the courthouse and file your Tupelo bankruptcy. When you go to file your documents, you should bring identification because you will be required to pass through security. Security will likely hold your phone so it’s best to leave it in the car or at home. You should also have with you money for parking, your counseling certificate, and the signed original and one copy of all of your forms. Once you pass through security, you will need to go to the Clerk’s office. The Clerk will take all of your forms, review them and file them. If you brought your copy, the Clerk will stamp it for you as a receipt of your bankruptcy filing. Once your case is filed it will be assigned to a judge and a Trustee who will oversee your case.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
The Trustee will be the person handling your Tupelo bankruptcy. The Trustee will want to see some of the documents you used to fill out your forms. He wants to understand why you are filing for bankruptcy to ensure you didn’t just go out and rack up unnecessary debt that you’re now trying to get out of. Your Trustee will be the person who you will have to answer to at your 341 Meeting. This is an informal meeting that will last about ten minutes. A few weeks before the meeting, the Trustee will ask you to provide certain documents. You should send these documents out immediately to ensure the Trustee receives them at least 7 days before your 341 meeting so as to not cause any further delays with your case.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
If you are worried about how to rebuild credit after the bankruptcy, this course will really help you. The second bankruptcy course that you are required to take, to complete your Tupelo bankruptcy will give you ways to rebuild and manage your finances. This course takes about two hours to complete but will provide you with great tips to help you in the future. If you don’t complete the course, the Court will not issue your discharge. As soon as the course is completed you should file your certificate with the Court so that you don’t forget. Make sure to choose a course from one of the approved lists of courses.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
You are now more than half-way done with this process! You just have to attend your hearing at court and within the next 60 - 90 days you’ll receive your discharge paperwork in the mail. All individuals who file for relief under Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tupelo, must attend a hearing in Court. The meeting is held to ensure that you properly filled out your paperwork and verify certain information that is best verified in person. When you go to the meeting you should dress business casual. It’s always better not to wear anything flashy so that you don’t draw attention to yourself. Everyone who is in the courtroom is filing bankruptcy so there is no need to be embarrassed. It is recommended you arrive a half-hour before your hearing to give you time to settle in and review your documentation before your name is called. Once your name is called, you will need to show the Trustee proof of who you are by showing him your original social security card and picture ID. Once that is done, you will be sworn in and they’ll begin asking you questions related to the information you submitted to the Court. You should continue to keep a look-out for any mail from the Court or your Trustee just in case there are any issues that need to be addressed.
Dealing with Your Car
Certain exemptions allow you to keep a vehicle you own outright even after you file for bankruptcy. If your vehicle’s value is less than what you owe or is covered by an exemption, you’ll be able to keep your car. What happens to your car when you file a Tupelo bankruptcy, usually depends on you. If you no longer want the vehicle, then you can simply surrender the car and give it back to the lender. This is a good option if you are behind on payments or won’t be able to afford the payments in the future. If the vehicle has a loan on it then you can either reaffirm or redeem the vehicle. Reaffirmation is an agreement that allows you to keep your car. If you choose to enter into this agreement the lender can go after you for any missed payments. Make sure to think about this carefully before you sign it.
Mississippi Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Tupelo
Mississippi Means Test
Passing the Means Test is the only way to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tupelo. The Mississippi bankruptcy Means Test will determine whether or not you have money to pay back your creditors. The Means Test is broken down into two parts. The first part only looks at your income. The second part will look at your income and expenses to determine if you have money left over that can be used to pay back creditors.
Median Income Levels for Mississippi
Mississippi Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
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Poverty Levels for Mississippi
Mississippi Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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Mississippi Bankruptcy Forms
Filling out your Mississippi bankruptcy forms will require you to take your time and carefully follow all instructions. Always double check your forms before filing bankruptcy in Tupelo to make sure you didn’t leave out any property or any creditors.
Bankruptcy exemptions allow you to keep your most, if not all, of your property whether you own it outright or have some equity. Equity is the difference between how much the item is worth and how much is owed. For example, if a car is worth $10,000 but has a loan for $3,000, the equity the car has is $7,000. The Mississippi bankruptcy exemptions allow you to keep property you own so your creditors don’t get any proceeds from the sale.