Filing Requirements

Included in Basic Chapter 7 Fee 

A debtor must file the following documents in a bankruptcy case. For the fee charged in a basic bankruptcy case, this law firm assists a client in the preparation of the following official bankruptcy forms and supporting documents based on information provided by the client. This firm will electronically file the forms with the bankruptcy court after the client has reviewed the documents, verified their accuracy by signing them, and paid the attorney’s fees and filing fees required before filing.  
  • Voluntary petition. The filing of a petition at the bankruptcy court is an important moment that determines a point of reference for numerous time calculations and deadlines in the case, including the creation of the bankruptcy estate and the start of the automatic stay, which prevents creditors from beginning or continuing collection action against a debtor or the debtor’s property. 
  • Certificate from an approved credit counseling agency showing completion of an approved, pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course within 180 days prepetition.
  • Statement of financial affairs 
  • Schedules of assets and liabilities (Schedules A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and summary). Listing all debts and assets, including real estate and personal property, is crucial in a bankruptcy case. 
    • A debtor must list all assets that are owned by the debtor, in the name of the debtor, or to which the debtor has any right. Certain assets in certain amounts are exempt in bankruptcy and cannot be used by the trustee to pay creditors. Nonexempt assets that are listed or scheduled in the bankruptcy but not administered by the trustee are deemed abandoned and return the control of the debtor after the case is closed. Assets not listed in the bankruptcy are not abandoned upon case closing and remain property of the bankruptcy estate. 
    • To ensure that debts are eligible for discharge, creditors must be listed in the schedules of liabilities or debts and must be given notice and an opportunity to exercise any rights that the creditor may have in the bankruptcy. For example, if a creditor is not listed in an asset case and is not able to file a claim for payment by the trustee, the omitted creditor’s claim may not be discharged. 
  • Schedule of current income and expenditures (Schedules I and J). A budget, including a statement, if applicable, disclosing any reasonably anticipated increase or decrease in income or expenditures during the 12-month period after the date of the filing. 
  • Chapter 7 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means-Test Calculation. A means test is not required of debtors whose debts are primarily nonconsumer or business debts, but the trustee will probably ask for documentation showing that most of the debts are nonconsumer or business debts. 
  • Statement of Social Security Number
  • Copies of all payment advices, paycheck stubs or other evidence of all salary, commissions or income received within 61 days before the filing of the petition. If a debtor is self-employed, is not employed, or is unable to provide copies of every payment advice, a TLB Form 1007-1 must be completed and signed by the debtor and filed with the court. 
These documents should be filed at the same time as the petition. In some circumstances, supporting documents may have to be filed after the petition. A case may be dismissed by the court if the supporting documents are not filed within 14 days after the petition or within such additional time as the court may allow in an order granting an extension of time to file the supporting documents.

Not filed with the petition, but required shortly afterward, are copies of the most recently filed federal and state income tax returns with supporting documentation — for example, each and every W-2 and Form 1099. Tax returns usually are not filed with the court. Tax returns should be given to the bankruptcy trustee at the beginning of the case or received by the trustee no later than seven court days (not calendar days) before the 341 meeting of creditors. Click here to read more about tax return requirements.

Within 45 days after the 341 meeting of creditorsa debtor should file with the court a certificate showing completion of an approved, pre-discharge debtor education or personal financial management course. If a debtor education certificate has not been filed when the court is ready to enter a discharge order, the bankruptcy case will be closed without a discharge. If a debtor does not receive a discharge, creditors are allowed to take collection action after the case is closed. A debtor can pay another filing fee and re-open a closed case in order to file a debtor education certificate and receive a discharge.