Districts: District of Montana
To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Montana, you have to complete a packet of about 24 forms. You will be expected to describe everything you make, spend, owe, and own in the free bankruptcy forms for Montana.
Some of the questions may seem bizarre - “wait, the Court wants to know how much my pet dog can be sold for?” That’s ok. Just be sure to answer every question as best you can. The Court is asking these questions because they want to understand your entire financial picture. In the article, we’ll explain each of these forms for Montana and we’ll provide links to download each form for free.
What is the "Voluntary Petition" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
Think of the voluntary petition as the “About Me” section of the free bankruptcy forms for Montana. The petition asks for your name, social security number, address, which chapter of bankruptcy you want to file, whether you own a business, whether you’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past, and other questions like that. The petition is designed to give the Court a general overview of who you are.
Download Voluntary Petition PDF
What is "Schedule A/B" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
On Schedule A/B, you list all of your property. And we mean all of it. Your real estate, your car, your financial accounts, your clothes, your costume jewelry, even your pet. You must list anything that you own only part of and anything you might have a right to own at a later time. Failing to list significant property items on Schedule A/B is the biggest reason that people get in trouble in bankruptcy.
If you forget to list a twenty-year old typewriter or a few pairs of socks, it may not matter because those items have no resale value. But if you “forget” to list real estate, bank accounts, or cars that you own, that’s a big problem. Intentionally leaving valuable property off your bankruptcy forms is a crime - bankruptcy fraud - as this Real House Wife of New Jersey discovered. So bottom line - be very diligent in listing all of your assets on the free bankruptcy forms for Montana.
You also must list the current value of all your assets on Schedule A/B. That’s means what you could sell the asset for today, not what you paid for it new. It may be hard to value things like used furniture or an interest in your business. Just do your best. And for assets where you can find a clear value - like for your checking account or for your used car - make sure to look up the precise value online and list that on Schedule A/B.
Download Schedule A/B PDF
What is "Schedule C" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
Most people get to keep all their property when they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. But keeping your property does not happen automatically when you file for bankruptcy. You need to tell your trustee why you’re entitled to keep your property. That’s what Schedule C of the free bankruptcy forms for Montana is for.
Schedule C, you list the “exemptions” that protect your property. Exemptions are a set of statutes enacted in each state and by the federal government to protect a certain amount of certain types of your property from creditors. On Schedule C, the first question to answer is what set of exemptions are you selecting: state or federal?
If you have resided in your current state continuously for the past 2 years (actually 730 days) before filing, you can use your current state’s exemptions. And if that state is Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, or Wisconsin, you can also choose to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. If you’ve resided in your current state for less than two years, the choice of exemptions becomes trickier, as explained in this article.
If you’re a homeowner, the federal bankruptcy exemptions are often worse than state exemptions because the federal homestead exemption offers very little protection for equity in your home. But if you don’t own real estate, the federal exemptions are often better because they include a very generous wildcard exemption of $13,100 that can be used to protect any property. Unfortunately, you can never mix and match between federal and state exemptions; you have to pick one set for better or worse.
After you’ve chosen between state and federal exemptions, you must list the specific exemption for each piece of property that you want to protect on Schedule C. For example, if you have a vehicle and are using the federal exemptions, you would list the federal vehicle exemption, 11 U.S.C. 522(d)(2), which allows you to protect up to $3,775 in equity in your car. If you have more equity than that in your car, you might also list the federal wildcard exemption, 11 U.S.C. 522(d)(5), which protects a total of $13,100 in any property.
Exemptions are tricky to choose correctly. So you may want to consult a lawyer about this section of the bankruptcy forms for Montana or use a free bankruptcy service like Upsolve.
Download Schedule C PDF
What is "Schedule D" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
After property and exemptions, the free bankruptcy forms for Montana ask about your debts. Schedule D asks you to list all your secured debts. Secured debts are debts that have collateral that can be taken if you don’t repay the debt. Common examples of secured debts include a home mortgage or a car loan. These debts cannot be erased unless you surrender the home or car securing the debt.
Download Schedule D PDF
What is "Schedule E/F" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
Schedule E/F of the bankruptcy forms for Montana first asks you to list “priority debts,” like child support, alimony, and recent taxes. These debts are not secured by collateral, but still can’t be erased in bankruptcy for public policy reasons. After priority debts, Schedule E/F of the free bankruptcy forms for Montana asks you to list any general unsecured debts you have. General unsecured debts include credit card bills, medical bills, personal loans, civil judgments and every kind of debt other than secured and priority debts. With a few exceptions like student loans, general unsecured debts are erased in bankruptcy.
For every debt that you list on the Schedule E/F and Schedule D, you should list the name of the creditor, the creditor’s address, and the amount of the debt. Don’t worry too much about listing the exact amount of the debt. Just do your best to list everyone you owe.
Download Schedule E/F PDF
What is "Schedule G" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
Do you make continuing payments under a lease or a contract, like an apartment lease or a car lease? If so, you need to list these leases and contacts on Schedule G of the free bankruptcy forms for Montana.
Download Schedule G PDF
What is "Schedule H" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
Schedule D and Schedule E/F of the free bankruptcy forms for Montana asked you to list every debt you owe. Now on Schedule H, the Court wants to know whether you have any co-debtors for any of those debts. A co-debtor is someone who is liable for one of your debts if you don’t pay it. Common examples of co-debtors are a parent who acted as your co-signer for your car, or an ex-spouse who jointly purchased a home with you and is also listed on your mortgage. Schedule H requires you to list all your co-debtors because your co-debtors are entitled to get notice of your bankruptcy filing.
Download Schedule H PDF
What is "Schedule I" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
Schedule I of the free bankruptcy forms for Montana asks about your current monthly income. You’ll list your occupation, your current employer’s name and address, and the length of your employment. If you’re married, you also must list your spouse’s information and income, unless you’re separated and not currently living together. Schedule I asks you to list your monthly income from employment and from all other sources, including a business, retirement accounts, child support, or government benefits like social security, SNAP, or unemployment compensation. Listing your income accurately is critical.
Download Schedule I PDF
What is "Schedule J" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
Schedule J is where you list your current monthly expenses on the free bankruptcy forms for Montana. The Court wants to understand all of your current expenses for housing, utilities, food, transportation, entertainment, insurance and childcare among other things. Many people underestimate their expenses on Schedule J of free bankruptcy forms for Montana because they don’t want to look wasteful. This is a big mistake. The Court doesn’t expect you to live on rice and beans. And when you underestimate your actual expenses, it makes it appear that you have extra disposable income left over at the end of each month that could be used to repay creditors. If so, the court might decide that you shouldn’t be allowed to use Chapter 7 and instead should enter a debt repayment plan in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Download Schedule J PDF
What is the "Declaration About Schedules" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
On this free bankruptcy form for Montana, you state your oath that all information contained in your schedules is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.
Download Declaration About Schedules PDF
What is the "Summary of Your Assets and Liabilities" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
This form serves as the Cliff Notes for all the free bankruptcy forms for Montana. It summarizes your total debt, income, and asset amounts listed elsewhere in the forms. This allows your bankruptcy trustee to see an overview of your current finances at a glance.
Download Summary of Your Assets and Liabilities PDF
What is the "Statement of Intention" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
On the Statement of Intention for the free bankruptcy forms for Montana, you tell the Court what you intend to do with property that is collateral for a secured debt. First, you can choose to surrender the property and erase the debt. Second, you can choose to buy back the property in one lump sum for the current value of the property, which is called “redemption.” Third, you can choose to keep the original debt in place and keep making payments under the loan agreement. This is called “reaffirmation.” On the Statement of Intention, you also chose what to do with your leases and ongoing contracts from Schedule G. If you want to cancel your lease and erase any debt from it, you check the box to “reject” the lease. If you want to keep the lease in place, you check the box to “assume” the lease.
Download Statement of Intention PDF
What is the "Statement of Financial Affairs" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
The Statement of Financial Affairs, or SOFA, contains twenty-eight questions about recent financial transactions that don’t fit elsewhere on the free bankruptcy forms for Montana. Here are a few of the SOFA’s highlights. First, the SOFA asks about your current marital Status and any past addresses you’ve had in the past 3 years. Second, the SOFA asks you to list all sources of income you’ve had for the past 3 years from employment, operating a business, investments, family support, government benefits, and even lottery winnings. Third, the SOFA asks about debt payments you made shortly before you filed for bankruptcy.
In certain cases, the trustee is allowed to recover those debt payments from the recipient and distribute that money equally to all creditors. Fourth, the SOFA asks you to identify any lawsuits you’ve been involved in recently and any recent repossessions or foreclosures of your property. Fifth, the SOFA asks you in the 2 years before you filed for bankruptcy, did you transfer any property to anyone outside the ordinary course of your business or financial affairs? The main purpose of this question is to see if you transferred expensive property to a friend or family member to avoid having the property being taken when you filed for bankruptcy. Sixth, the SOFA asks you about all businesses that you’ve had an ownership interest in over the past four years. Seventh, the SOFA asks you to list special financial accounts, safe deposit boxes, and storage units. The purpose of these questions is to see if there’s any property the trustee may be able to take that was not listed on Schedule A/B of the free bankruptcy forms for Montana.
Download SOFA PDF
What is the "Statement of Current Monthly Income" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
This form determines whether you’re eligible to file for Chapter 7. And it has the most confusing name of any of the free bankruptcy forms for Montana. Despite its name, the Statement of Current Monthly Income is not asking for your current monthly income. Rather it’s asking for your average income and your spouse’s average income over the last 6 months before your filing date.
The Court wants to know about your income from all sources over the past 6 months, including employment, side-businesses, family contributions, and government benefits like SNAP or unemployment. If your average household income for the past 6 months is below the median household income for families of your size, then great! - you’re eligible to file for Chapter 7. If you’ve earned above the median income, you may be ineligible for Chapter 7. If you’re a disabled veteran or someone who owes primarily business debt, you can fill out the Statement of Exemption from Presumption of Abuse explaining that you are still eligible for Chapter 7. But otherwise, if you’re over the median income, you must complete the Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation. To be honest, that form is a beast. You should definitely hire a lawyer if you need to complete that particular free bankruptcy form for Montana.
Download Statement of Current Monthly Income PDF
What is the "Statement About Your Social Security Numbers" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
This document is one of the simplest of the free bankruptcy forms for Montana. You list your Social Security Number (SSN) or your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Only the last 4 digits of your SSN or ITIN will be publicly accessible in the court’s records. But is important that you list your entire SSN or ITIN accurately because otherwise the court will be unable to verify your identity.
Download Statement of SSN PDF
What is the "Creditor Matrix" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
All of the creditors on your free bankruptcy forms for Montana are entitled to receive notice of your bankruptcy case. So when you file for Chapter 7 one of the forms must prepare is a creditor mailing list, often called the Creditor Matrix. The Creditor Matrix simply lists the names of all your creditors and their mailing addresses. The bankruptcy court uses this list to send all required notices to your creditors during your case.
Download Creditor Matrix PDF
What is the "Verification of Creditor Mailing List" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
Along with your Creditor Matrix, you must file a form stating that the matrix is a true and complete list of all your creditors. This free bankruptcy forms for Montana is called the “Verification of Creditor Matrix.”
Download Verification of Creditor Mailing List PDF
What is the "Credit Counseling Course Certificate" for in a Montana bankruptcy case?
Everyone who files for bankruptcy must complete a credit counseling course from this list of government-approved course providers. The course takes about an hour, costs between $10-$50, and can be completed online or over the phone. There are many good course providers. We recommend Debtorcc.org because the course can also be completed on your smartphone and only costs $15. Once you complete the credit counseling course, the course provider will email you a certificate of completion. The certificate isn’t an “official” free bankruptcy form for Montana, but it is a document you must provide the Court. If you don’t earn the certificate before filing and provide it to the court, your case will be dismissed without any debt relief.
What bankruptcy forms are special for Montana districts?
District of Montana Requirements
The District of Montana has no special forms.
- Expect to keep copies of your documents.
- You will need one copy of your forms.
- Expect to file your paystubs.
Mike Mansfield Federal Building and United States Courthouse
400 North Main Street Butte, MT 59701
Russell E. Smith Federal Building
201 East Broadway Street Missoula, MT 59802
We hope that was helpful!
If you feeel overwhelmed or want assistance, check out Upsolve's free bankruptcy assistance and see if you’re a good fit for our service. We have a free service that makes the bankruptcy process super simple for residents of Montana.