How to File Bankruptcy for Free in Nevada (2020 Guide)

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In a Nutshell

You don’t need a bankruptcy lawyer to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Plus, if you earn less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, the Nevada Bankruptcy Court may waive your filing fee. This guide will show you how to navigate the Nevada bankruptcy process on your own.

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer.  
Updated September 3, 2020


The tricky part about financial security in our country these days is that even if you’re disciplined about your finances, don't gamble, and do everything by the book, sometimes circumstances completely outside of your control can leave you with more debt than you can handle. 

Fact is, life happens, and sometimes you end up in a place that you can’t get out of by yourself. If any of that sounds familiar, or if you’re worried that soon you might not be able to make all minimum payments on your debts, then you’re doing the right thing by researching your Nevada bankruptcy options.

Even though the bankruptcy process can seem scary, the United States bankruptcy laws are designed to protect people. Honest but unfortunate debtors can get a fresh start by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada because no one should have to decide between paying a credit card bill or paying rent.

How to File Bankruptcy in Nevada for Free

You don’t need a bankruptcy lawyer to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Plus, if you earn less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, the Nevada Bankruptcy Court may waive your filing fee. This guide will show you how to navigate the Nevada bankruptcy process on your own. 


Collect your Nevada Bankruptcy Documents

Collecting your Nevada bankruptcy documents will make it easier to make sure you’re not missing any important information when completing the bankruptcy forms. You’ll have to provide the bankruptcy court with information about who you owe, what you own, and what your financial situation has been like leading up to your bankruptcy filing. 

As part of this process, you’ll have to provide the Nevada Bankruptcy Court with up-to-date addresses for all of your creditors. Since that’s not something most people  know off the top of their head, start by getting a free copy of your credit report. Then, put together a list of your property, collect the last 6 months of your paycheck stubs, and find your copy of your most recent federal income tax return, and you’ll be off to a good start. 

Take Credit Counseling

Before you can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, you have to take a credit counseling course. The purpose of the course is to make sure you are aware of your debt relief options. Federal law requires everyone filing bankruptcy  to take a credit counseling course from a pre-approved provider. The certificate of completion you’ll receive when done will be good for 180 days. 

Money Management International offers the course in person in their Reno, Henderson, and Las Vegas, NV locations, though most complete the course online or by phone. There is a small cost associated with the class, so make sure to shop around for a provider that works for you. 

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

Now that you have collected all of your Nevada bankruptcy documents and learned more about your debt relief options, it’s time to fill out your bankruptcy forms. If you’re eligible to use Upsolve’s free web app, you’ll provide all required information and documents through an online portal. If you’re working with a law firm, they’ll likely have you fill out a similar questionnaire to prepare your Nevada bankruptcy forms. 

But, there’s nothing that says you can't complete the forms needed for filing Chapter 7 in Nevada by yourself. They are all available for free online, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts have even published a detailed instruction manual you can download for free. 

Remember to be honest in answering all questions. No matter who prepares it, you’re the one signing the bankruptcy petition before it’s submitted to the bankruptcy court.

Get your Filing Fee

Even though it may seem strange that there’s a filing fee for bankruptcy, there is. Specifically, the filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $335. Remember no two cases are the same. Just because someone ends up filing bankruptcy in Nevada doesn’t automatically mean that paying this amount is a hardship for them. 

If it is for you, and your monthly income is below a certain threshold, you can ask the bankruptcy court to waive your fee. If you’re not eligible to have the fee waived, but can't wait to file and need the automatic stay to take effect, you can ask the court for an installment plan

The court’s electronic filing system is only available for bankruptcy attorneys. If you’re filing without one (“pro se”), you have to submit your bankruptcy petition in paper. One original plus one copy. If you’re using Upsolve’s free tool, you’ll receive a single PDF file to print on regular 8.5" x 11" white paper. If not, start by reviewing the Chapter 7 filing requirements for the District of Nevada, so you can make sure you have everything you need. 

Even though the Bankruptcy Code gives you some additional time to submit some of the forms, it’s best to plan on filing them all at once. That way, once you have filed your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, you know you are done with filling out forms and won't have to worry about getting your case dismissed by missing an important filing deadline.

Go to Court to File your Forms

The Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada has offices in Las Vegas and Reno and is unofficially divided into a northern division and a southern division. If you live in the counties of Clark, Esmeralda, Lincoln or Nye, the Las Vegas office will handle your case. If you are in any of the other counties, your case will be handled by the court on 300 Booth Street, in Reno, NV. 

You can either mail everything in, or drop it off in person. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person bankruptcy filings are submitted through a dropbox, rather than by handing them to a clerk in person.

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

Even though most of your work is done before filing bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Code does make meeting with your trustee a part of the bankruptcy process. Every Chapter 7 case has a bankruptcy trustee assigned to it. It’s the person you’ll be meeting for your 341 meeting - but more on that later.  

After filing your case, your bankruptcy trustee may send you a letter asking you to submit certain documents, like your most recent income tax return, to their office. It’s important to follow the instructions and submit everything on time to avoid any unnecessary delays in your bankruptcy case. 

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

Before filing bankruptcy you had to complete credit counseling. Now that your bankruptcy case is filed, you’ll have to complete a financial management class. Without it, you’re not eligible for a fresh start through a bankruptcy discharge

Although there is no hard deadline to complete this course, it’s best to get it done before your 341 meeting. Otherwise, you risk having the bankruptcy court close your case without discharging your debts

Once done, you’ll receive a certificate of completion from your provider. Find out whether they’ll submit this to the Nevada Bankruptcy Court for you. Some of the companies approved to offer this course in Nevada handle that step as an added service for their customers. If not, simply use your certificate of completion to complete this form and submit that to the Nevada Bankruptcy Court instead.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The 341 meeting, or meeting of creditors as it’s sometimes called, takes place about 30 days after your bankruptcy petition is filed with the court. Creditors rarely show up for this meeting, although they’re allowed to. As long as the filer remembers to bring their IDs, most of these meetings in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases take less than 10 minutes

Dealing with Your Car

Surprising to many, filing bankruptcy gives you more options to deal with your car than you otherwise have. Without a bankruptcy, if your car is worth less than what you owe, giving it back to the bank (voluntarily or through a repossession) will not get you out of the obligation to pay off the loan. 

After filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, on the other hand, you can surrender the vehicle and discharge the loan. Or, if you want to keep the car, you can keep everything the same by entering into a reaffirmation agreement. If you have the ability to raise some funds after filing bankruptcy in Nevada, you may also be able to redeem your car. If you do that, you get to keep the car, but instead of paying off the full loan balance, you only pay the bank the actual value of the vehicle as a lump sum.

Nevada Bankruptcy Means Test

Since it would be unfair to let anyone file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy without regard for their actual ability to pay back their debts, everyone who wishes to do so must first pass the Nevada bankruptcy means test. This test first compares your monthly income to the median household income for a household of your size. 

If you make more than the income limits, the means test calculates whether allowing you to file Chapter 7 would be an abuse of the bankruptcy process.  It shows the court that you don’t have enough monthly income for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan.

Data on Median Income Levels for Nevada

Nevada Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income
1$4,370.75$52,449.00
2$5,479.67$65,756.00
3$6,238.00$74,856.00
4$6,794.00$81,528.00
5$7,544.00$90,528.00
6$8,294.00$99,528.00
7$9,044.00$108,528.00
8$9,794.00$117,528.00
9$10,544.00$126,528.00
10$11,294.00$135,528.00

Data on Poverty Levels for Nevada

Nevada Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020

Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.

Household SizeState Poverty LevelFee Waiver Limit (150% PL)
1$1,063.33$1,595.00
2$1,436.67$2,155.00
3$1,810.00$2,715.00
4$2,183.33$3,275.00
5$2,556.67$3,835.00
6$2,930.00$4,395.00
7$3,303.33$4,955.00
8$3,676.67$5,515.00
9$4,050.00$6,075.00
10$4,423.33$6,635.00

Nevada Bankruptcy Forms

Though most of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms are the same in all states, there are some Nevada bankruptcy forms designed specifically for use in the Silver State. 

They are the Creditor Matrix and the Verification for the Creditor Matrix. You can download both from the Nevada Bankruptcy Court’s website.

District of Nevada Requirements

Everyone filing bankruptcy in the District of Nevada has to submit their original bankruptcy petition plus one copy to the bankruptcy court. If you’re asking the court to pay your filing fee in installments, you’ll have to pay at least $80 within 2 days of filing your case.

Nevada Bankruptcy Exemptions

Even though it may not seem like it, all of your property is considered an asset by the Bankruptcy Code. If you’ve lived in the Silver State for at least two years when your case is filed, you can protect your property using the Nevada bankruptcy exemptions. They cover your basic household goods, social security benefits, and any real estate or mobile home you live in, to list a few. Non-exempt property is sold by the bankruptcy trustee. Nevada bankruptcy laws don’t allow its residents to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Still, most Nevadans filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy don’t own any non-exempt property. 

Nevada Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

On average, the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a little higher than in the rest of the country, but a lot of law firms offer free initial consultations for Nevada bankruptcy matters. Especially if you’re not sure if all of your debt is dischargeable, hiring a bankruptcy attorney can be a good investment, if you can afford it. 

Nevada legal aid organizations provide free legal assistance to low-income residents in a variety of areas. If you’re worried about successfully navigating the bankruptcy process by yourself, reach out to one of the organizations providing legal aid in Nevada near you.

Nevada Legal Services, Inc.
(702) 386-0404
701 East Bridger Avenue, Suite 700, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Upsolve
Nationwide Service (NYC Office)

Nevada Court Locations

Foley Federal Building

Foley Federal Building
702-527-7000
300 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas, NV 89101

C. Clifton Young Federal Building and United States Courthouse

C. Clifton Young Federal Building and United States Courthouse
775-326-2100
300 Booth Street Reno, NV 89509

Nevada Judges

Nevada Bankruptcy Judges
DistrictJudge Name
District of NevadaHon. Bruce T. Beesley
District of NevadaHon. Mike K. Nakagawa
District of NevadaHon. August B. Landis
District of NevadaHon. Gregg W. Zive

Nevada Trustees

Nevada Trustees
TrusteeContact Info
Jeri A. Coppa-Knudsonrenobktrustee@gmail.com
(702)329-1528
Marianne Eardleymeardley@frontiernet.net
(775) 738-2043
W. Donald Giesekewdg@renotrustee.com
(775) 742-9107
Shelley D. Krohnshelley@trusteekrohn.com
(702) 421-2210
Christina W. Lovatotrusteelovato@att.net
(775) 851-1424
Lenard E. Schwartzer
(702) 307-2022
Brian D. Shapirotrustee@trusteeshapiro.com
(702) 386-8600


Written By:

Attorney Andrea Wimmer

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Andrea practiced exclusively as a bankruptcy attorney in consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases for more than 10 years before joining Upsolve, first as a contributing writer and editor and ultimately joining the team full time in August 2019. While in private practice, Andrea ha... read more about Attorney Andrea Wimmer

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