Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated December 2, 2019
People in New Hampshire try to live up to their state motto of “Live Free or Die” as much as possible. In fact, New Hampshire is one of only nine states in the country that doesn’t impose sales tax within its borders. However, while the state may be doing everything it can to help its’ citizens live free, many residents find themselves in over their heads – often due to circumstances beyond their control like job loss and unexpected medical expenses. When life happens, many regular people struggling to make ends meet and pay their bills don’t realize filing bankruptcy in New Hampshire can help them get back on their feet without giving up all their belongings. The government created bankruptcy laws to help hardworking, honest people that find themselves unable to get out of debt. Different types of bankruptcy give different types of financial relief, but if you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua it can eliminate most or all of your debts. Most people assume filing bankruptcy in Nashua is a long, complicated process – but in reality most only take a few months to complete and can be done without hiring an attorney if you take advantage of free help, services like Upsolve, and online guides.
Nashua Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Costs
It’s not necessary to hire a bankruptcy lawyer to complete your Nashua bankruptcy case, but if you have complicated finances, are confused by forms, or are concerned about protecting certain things you own (also called “assets”), the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer can be a good investment. You can often talk to a lawyer before you decide to hire them, because many bankruptcy lawyers offer free initial consultations. The average Nashua bankruptcy lawyer cost ranges between $1,200 and $1,500, which is slightly above the national average. This fee typically covers preparing your bankruptcy forms, filing your case with the local court, preparing responses to questions from the official supervising your case (known as a “trustee”), and attending a required meeting between you, your trustee, and people who claim you owe them money (“creditors”). However, if you have decided to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua but can’t afford the cost of a lawyer, Upsolve has a number of helpful resources you can use to file bankruptcy on your own.
How to File Bankruptcy in Nashua, New Hampshire for Free
You have to show your household income is below a certain legal limit before you can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua. Once you prove you qualify for New Hampshire bankruptcy relief, you have to complete a number of steps, pay a fee or ask for a waiver, and fill out a lot of forms for a court to eliminate your debts by entering a “discharge order.”
Collect Your Nashua Bankruptcy Documents
When you’re figuring out how to file bankruptcy in Nashua, make sure to take time to gather information you will need before you start filling out bankruptcy forms. Collecting several different documents that you’ll need to complete these forms will be the most time-consuming part of filing bankruptcy in Nashua, but if done right it will make the rest of your case much easier. You need to request a copy of your credit report from all three consumer reporting agencies – this will help you get a complete list of your debts as well as the current addresses for your creditors. The last 90 days’ worth of your bills and collection notices will also help show your debts. The forms also require your income and asset information, so should include a copy of your most recent federal tax returns as well as the last 6 months of pay stubs – which you can usually get from your human resources or payroll departments at work. Get copies of recent bank statements, vehicle titles, retirement account statements, and any other documents that will help when listing assets, debt, or income on your Nashua bankruptcy forms.
Take Credit Counseling
Another step to take before filing bankruptcy in Nashua is taking a credit counseling course. You will need to complete credit counseling no more than 6 months before filing your New Hampshire bankruptcy and have to give a completion certificate to the court with the rest of the documents you need for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua. The course is designed to help you understand if you need to file bankruptcy, show you alternative ways to repay your debt, and go over your income and expenses. Courses usually take an hour or more to complete and cost between $10 and $50. If your household income is less than 150% of the federal poverty line you may qualify to get your fee waived. There are no places to take this course in person in New Hampshire, but you can complete your credit counseling online or on the phone with a number of approved agencies.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Completing bankruptcy forms is the most technical, complicated part of filing bankruptcy in Nashua. You have to submit 24 completed forms to file your Nashua bankruptcy. The forms are usually asking for information about your income, expenses, assets, debts, or exemptions (laws you believe protect your property), and you have a legal duty to give true, correct, complete information to the court. The forms are available online for free, and you have a lot of options to get help when you fill them out. If you don’t want or can’t afford to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, you can buy bankruptcy software, turn to Upsolve’s free, nonprofit bankruptcy service, reach out to legal aid services, or rely on online instructions published by the federal government.
Get Your Filing Fee
Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua usually costs $335 and can be paid in the exact amount of cash, a cashier’s check, or a money order. Because money is tight for people filing bankruptcy, the prospect of coming up with this much money at once can be stressful. If you don’t have the funds, there’s a form you can complete asking the court to let you make up to 4 installment payments on the fee within 120 days of filing your bankruptcy. If you believe you will struggle to even make installment payments, you can submit a fee waiver application asking to pay nothing to file your Nashua bankruptcy. You may qualify for a waiver if your household income is below 150% of the current federal poverty line, but the decision is ultimately up to the court. If the court believes you won’t be able to pay the fee even after filing bankruptcy once the automatic stay keeping creditors from contacting you goes into effect, they may grant the waiver. If not, you’ll be ordered to make installment payments instead.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
Once your Nashua bankruptcy forms are filled in, you’ll have to print them so you can give them to the court. You must print a single-sided copy be sure to sign it before filing. New Hampshire only requires one copy of the forms, but you should print another set or make a copy for your own records. There are a lot of individual forms, and many of them look similar, so you should make a list or use a pre-made checklist to keep track of all the required documents. If you’re working with Upsolve to file your bankruptcy, you’ll get a single PDF document containing all your completed documents to make life easier. Courts in the Granite State will accept forms printed on regular 8.5” x 11” paper you can easily use with your printer at home, in a print shop, or at a local library.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Now that you’re done filling out forms, it’s time to take them and your credit counseling certificate to the court to file them and officially begin your Nashua bankruptcy. You need to mail in your paperwork or file it in person at the courthouse. The best way to guarantee you have filled out all your forms correctly, followed all the bankruptcy rules, and filed your petition the same day is to file them in person. New Hampshire’s Bankruptcy court is located in Concord and open Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
After entering the courthouse, security will have you pass through a metal detector. Next, head to the clerk’s office, tell the clerk you want to file for bankruptcy, and hand them your completed forms along with your filing fee or else your form for installment payments or a fee waiver. It should only take about 15 minutes to for the clerk to scan and process your forms, but you should go early to give yourself extra time if you need to wait. Once the forms are processed, you’ll receive a bankruptcy case number, your bankruptcy trustee’s name, and the date, time, and location of your required 341 Meeting, also called a Creditors’ Meeting. If you can’t get to the clerk’s office during business hours, you can file your Nashua bankruptcy forms and the required filing fee (in cashier’s check or money order form only) in an after-hours drop box located at the south end of the Concord Bankruptcy Court’s Cleveland Building. Now, take a deep breath, because you’ve just completed a very important step towards completing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua and your creditors can no longer contact you, garnish your wages, or take steps to foreclose on your property during your bankruptcy case.
Mail Documents to Your trustee
After you file your New Hampshire bankruptcy, you can expect to hear from the trustee in your case by mail. They are appointed by the court to supervise your case and review your forms and financial documents, so you can expect a request for documents like tax returns, bank statements, investment accounts, and pay stubs. Respond quickly, be truthful, and answer their requests fully – you have a duty to cooperate with them and not doing so means you won’t get a discharge of your debts. After filing bankruptcy in Nashua, in addition to cooperating with your trustee, you have to comply with local New Hampshire rules like submitting every pay stub you received in the 60 days before filing bankruptcy to your trustee.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
Everyone filing bankruptcy in the Granite State is required to take a second bankruptcy course after filing bankruptcy in Nashua in order to receive a discharge. Many people take this course even before they have the 341 meeting with their trustee to make sure they get their fresh financial start as quickly as possible. The course is a lot like the first credit counseling course you take before filing bankruptcy, but it focuses more on smart financial choices you can make to avoid another New Hampshire bankruptcy in the future. Like the credit counseling courses, none are available in-person in New Hampshire, but there are several courses approved by the Office of the United States Trustee you can take over the phone or online. These courses normally take at least 2 hours and cost between $10-$50, but, like the first credit counseling course, you may qualify for a fee waiver if your income falls below a certain level.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
The final step you must take in your Nashua bankruptcy is attending your 341 Meeting. The clerk gave you the date, time, and location for your meeting when you filed your case with the court. The 341 Meeting is usually scheduled about a month after you file your Nashua bankruptcy petition. It’s a brief meeting that usually lasts no more than 5 to 10 minutes and will be attended by you, your bankruptcy lawyer if you hired one, your bankruptcy trustee, and any creditors that decide to show up – though they rarely do.
There are several steps you can take to prepare for your 341 Meeting. On the day of your meeting, make sure you bring everything you need. Bring sufficient proof of identification or else the trustee cannot verify your identity and conduct your 341 Meeting. Dress appropriately. You don’t have to wear a suit, but gym attire is not recommended. Bring your copy of the forms you gave to the clerk when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua and any additional documents your trustee requested. The trustee may ask you to confirm basic information you put on your forms in addition to asking questions about assets, expenses, or anything on the forms that does not match your financial documents. You will be sworn in and are under oath, so remember to be completely honest. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. You should receive your discharge in the mail about 2 months after the meeting if you completed all the other requirements.
Dealing with Your Car
If you have a car, you need to make one more decision when filing your Nashua bankruptcy. When filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua, you have a few different options. If you own your vehicle, both the federal bankruptcy exemptions and the New Hampshire state exemptions have vehicle exemptions of $4,000, meaning you may keep your car long as it is not worth more than that. If it is, the trustee can decide to sell it and give any money over that limit to creditors to pay down your debt. If you still owe on your car, you need to make an “election”, or choice, from a few available options. If you want the car and can afford the current payments on your budget, you can enter into a reaffirmation agreement with your lender. This means you continue to make all car payments as originally agreed until the loan is paid. If you can afford a large payment and the car’s value is now less than your loan balance, you can pay the market value in a lump sum to redeem your car. If you just can’t afford these options or the car is not in good enough shape to keep for a long time, you can surrender the car and get out of repaying the loan entirely.
New Hampshire Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Nashua
New Hampshire Means Test
Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua offers the greatest amount of debt forgiveness for honest but unlucky debtors, but not everybody qualifies for this level of help. To make sure Chapter 7 bankruptcy is only used by people who really need the relief it gives, people must “pass” a New Hampshire bankruptcy Means Test by showing they fall below a certain household income level before they file their petition. If you don’t fall below the income level guaranteeing your eligibility to file a Chapter 7 petition, the New Hampshire bankruptcy Means Test can figure out if you still don’t have enough money to make repayments in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If so, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief.
Median Income Levels for New Hampshire
New Hampshire Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for New Hampshire
New Hampshire 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)|
New Hampshire Bankruptcy Forms
Everyone filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nashua needs to use the correct forms. New Hampshire uses most of the national forms used in many states across the country, but they have created some local New Hampshire bankruptcy forms that are only used in New Hampshire’s bankruptcy district. There is one local form, the Verification of Creditor Mailing List stating the creditor list you put on your Creditor Matrix is both correct and complete, everyone must give to the clerk’s office along with the rest of their bankruptcy forms.
New Hampshire Exemptions
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee looks at everything you own, your assets, and whether these assets are protected from your creditors by an exemption. Many people worry they will lose most of their things during a bankruptcy, but this is usually not the case – especially if you use exemptions wisely to cover as many assets as possible. Most people, nearly 96% of Chapter 7 filers, don’t have to give up any assets. Both federal and New Hampshire bankruptcy exemptions have created categories of assets including vehicles, jewelry, alimony, and retirement accounts that are protected from creditors in a Nashua bankruptcy. Some exemptions, like cars, have a limit on how valuable they can be before they are no longer protected. Others, like retirement accounts, have no limit. Filers in the Granite State have the choice of using federal or state exemptions to protect their assets as long as they have lived in New Hampshire at least 2 years before filing for bankruptcy. Because there are differences in the two sets of exemptions, you should use the one that protects more of your things.