As the U.S. Courts points out, the debtor education class must be taken after you file for bankruptcy. Failing to take it give the courts the right to reject your filing and discharge your debts. Keep in mind that you may only take such a class from a provider of which the U.S. Trustee Program approves. There is a fee to take the course, but it is possible to obtain a reduced rate or even a waived fee if your income falls below a certain level.

The course, which can be done online, in person and even over the phone, will typically only take a few hours to complete. During that time, you can expect to go over the following topics:

  • How to save money effectively
  • How to manage your money
  • How to make and keep a budget
  • How to set and then reach your financial goals
  • How to use credit wisely
  • How to deal with a financial crisis

You may also learn about consumer protection. Often, people who file for bankruptcy can be targets of scams.

If you have filed for Chapter 7, you have 60 days from the date that was set for the meeting of creditors to finish the course. If you filed for Chapter 13, you simply must finish it before you make the last payment according to your plan. Once you complete the course, you will have to file the certificate with the court as proof.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

As the U.S. Department of Justice notes, the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 established the U.S. Trustee Program, which is intended to protect the integrity of the bankruptcy process. Through taking charge of the debtor’s bankruptcy estate in a Chapter 7 filing, the trustee commits to doing the following when it is applicable:

  •        Selling the property in the estate
  •        Giving creditors the proceeds of the sale
  •        Objecting to a claim a creditor has made
  •        Challenging a bankruptcy discharge

A trustee’s role in a Chapter 13 case is slightly different because a debtor develops a repayment plan instead of selling off assets. Therefore, the trustee is tasked with reviewing the plan and objecting to certain components if necessary. Once the plan is finalized, the trustee must collect payments from the debtor and distribute those to creditors.

The trustee plays an integral role in individual bankruptcy filings, and he or she may also oversee reorganization proceedings in a Chapter 11 business filing. There is no trustee automatically appointed to these cases, but a debtor can choose to have one. The person will perform tasks such as holding the meeting of creditors, monitor the debtor’s finances, approve reorganization plans and monitor professionals associated with the case.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

When filing an application for bankruptcy, you are required to provide a comprehensive list of creditors who you owe money to. According to the U.S. Courts, all creditors are invited to attend the meeting and ask the debtor questions regarding the bankruptcy case. As the debtor, attendance at the meeting is mandatory. In addition to creditor questions, the trustee will ensure that you understand the impact that filing for bankruptcy will have your financial health. Not only does this include your credit report, but also a reaffirmation of debt, liquidation of property and what types of debt are not eligible for discharge.

The trustee presiding over the case may wish to obtain further documentation regarding property and/or assets in your case. It is crucial that you provide this documentation to the trustee as soon as possible to avoid delays in the case.

The information should be used for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

One man in Minnesota was able to write off the cost of his room and boarding for his stay in prison. When the man filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, he listed his prison expenses under non-priority unsecured debt. The U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the court determined that the debt could indeed be written off under liquidation bankruptcy as it met the requirements under the state code. The court ruled that in order to be exempt from discharge, the debt must be given to punish a person or be penal in nature. Prison room and boarding, on the other hand, did not fall under this category, as it was simply the prison’s attempt to get back some of the money used to house the prisoner.

When people are facing large amounts of debt and cannot make ends meet, they may want to consider bankruptcy. Depending on their particular financial situation, people have different options when it comes to eliminating portions of their debt. People may want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney, who may be of help.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may be able to work with the creditor in order to extend the terms of your loan, even while you’re going through the bankruptcy process, according to U.S. Courts. When you reaffirm a debt, you agree to work with the creditor and continue making payments on your loan in order to keep your property. For example, if you wish to keep your vehicle during a bankruptcy, you may reaffirm the loan with the financial institution and make arrangements to keep paying, despite your impending bankruptcy. In some cases, the creditor may lower your monthly payments or decrease your interest rate as a way to help you.

It is important to keep in mind that when you reaffirm a loan, the debt will not be discharged and you are still fully responsible for paying off the terms of the loan. In order to be approved for debt affirmation, you must submit a comprehensive statement of your income and expenses showing that you have enough money to make the reaffirmed loan payments each month.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.


Debtors have several options when it comes to accumulating the money needed to file for bankruptcy. Depending on which chapter of bankruptcy you are planning to file, you may want to stop making payments on your credit cards. Since you are attempting to discharge the debt, you can take the money that you would use for the monthly payments and put it toward obtaining an attorney. Keep in mind that once you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay will keep creditors from harassing you with constant calls and correspondence.

There are some attorneys that may help you by working out a payment plan. This allows you to pay your attorneys’ fees and bankruptcy filing costs in affordable monthly amounts over time. Although you are able to file for bankruptcy on your own, without the legal assistance of an attorney, it may be better to go through the process with a professional in your corner. The bankruptcy process can be confusing, and having an experienced lawyer there to answer your questions and walk you through the process may prove to be vital.

According to U.S. Courts, you may be able to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you meet the following conditions:

  •          You have not filed for bankruptcy within 180 days and had that bankruptcy thrown out because you did not show up to a court hearing or for any other reason.
  •          You have completed an approved credit counseling course within 180 days of filing for bankruptcy.
  •          You are not filing as a corporation or partnership.

In addition to these requirements, you must pass the state means test, which ensures that you make less money than the state median income level. If you make more money than the state median, your case may be shifted to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In some cases, the judge or trustee may make special arrangements if unique circumstances are involved.

Once you are considered eligible to file for Chapter 7, it is important that you submit your application and supporting documents while paying close attention to the deadlines. If for some reason you don’t qualify for Chapter 7, you do have other debt relief options, including Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The story involves a man that required urgent care. The only way to get the treatment he needed was to receive transportation through the use of an air ambulance transport service.

Is the cost of ambulance transportation covered? Unfortunately, even if a patient has medical insurance, not all the medical costs needed for care may be covered. As a result, the answer to this question depends on the language of your insurance policy and the details of the situation.

In some circumstances, a ride in an ambulance may not qualify for coverage. This can leave the patient left to cover the cost. If that emergency transport involved air travel, such as in an air ambulance like a helicopter, the cost left to the patient could translate to a bill of almost $30,000.

In the story noted above, the man’s insurance policy did not cover the cost of transportation for a number of reasons. As a result, he was left with a bill of approximately $27,000.

What can I do if I can’t manage my medical debt? Those who are struggling with medical debt have options. One option is to seek relief through bankruptcy.

In many cases, medical debt qualifies for discharge through bankruptcy. This means the debt would essentially be forgiven. There are different types of relief available through bankruptcy, but the most common for individuals struggling with this form of debt are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

These two forms of bankruptcy offer different benefits and should be discussed with an attorney. Legal counsel can review the details of your situation and help you choose the best option for a fresh financial start.

Knowing the benefits of each may be a contributing factor in your decision. However, the best way to know which is right for you is by consulting a bankruptcy attorney because there are requirements you must meet for each type.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 wipes out most of your obligations to repay unsecured debt and is best if you do not have many or high-value assets.

  1. You eliminate most debts: Chapter 7 does not require you to pay anything to most creditors. Exclusions include child support and recent taxes.
  2. You can take advantage of state exemptions: Although you can only retain some types of property, other assets may have protection under Illinois exemption laws.
  3. You finish the process sooner: Your case is usually over within a few months, whereas with Chapter 13, you have a commitment to a repayment plan for three to five years.

It is important to note that your income may be too high to qualify for this type.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 entails a plan to repay a portion of unsecured debts.

  1. You get to keep your property: Unlike Chapter 7, you can keep more of your assets because you are still paying for them.
  2. You learn better money management: Following a plan and sticking to a strict budget will help you prevent going bankrupt again.
  3. You can rebuild your credit faster: Chapter 13 stays on record for a minimum of seven years, but you can qualify for secured credit cards within months and for loans in under two years. Making on-time payments will help raise your credit rating.

No matter which you file for, bankruptcy also puts an immediate end to creditor harassment, repossessions and wage garnishment. Bankruptcy may be frightening or stressful, but it gives you a fresh financial start, and the negative consequences will not last forever.

When you are under a good deal of stress, mistakes are easy to make, but here are five common missteps that could be damaging to your petition for bankruptcy.

Submitting an incomplete list of creditors

Skipping a creditor when you prepare your list may be a simple error given all the various bills you might have. On the other hand, you may want to keep a special account out of the mix. However, the law requires you to include all creditors when you file for bankruptcy.

Trying to hide assets

You may have an additional bank account you feel tempted to keep from view. You might consider transferring money to a friend or family member for safekeeping until you finalize the bankruptcy. Keep in mind that hiding assets is against the law. By doing so, you could jeopardize your filing, you might have to pay a fine and you could even face a prison sentence.

Repaying a family obligation

Perhaps you wish to repay a debt owed to a relative ahead of your filing because you do not want to include it in the bankruptcy process. The bankruptcy trustee may see that as a “preferential” payment and disallow it, in which case, your relative would have to return that money and pay it to the trustee.

Enjoying a spending spree

Many people think they can go on a spending spree before filing for bankruptcy. They reason that charging more debt to their credit cards at this point would not matter. Do not become a member of this misinformed group; the additional debt may not be dischargeable. Stop using your credit cards.

Not acting promptly

An experienced bankruptcy attorney will tell you not to delay filing for bankruptcy because your delinquent debts will just continue to snowball. You may have lost your job. You may be struggling under a mountain of medical bills. Whatever the circumstances, bankruptcy is a legal solution for getting out of debt. The faster you act, the faster you can enjoy a fresh new start for your life.