When individuals or businesses are unable to pay their debts, they can file bankruptcy to get relief from their creditors. It’s a legal process which, if accepted, discharges the person its unsecured loans. According to bankruptcy lawyers India, bankruptcy filings have increased substantially over the years and it’s likely to increase further because of COVID-19 pandemic which has caused financial havoc throughout the world.

As per the law, bankruptcy can be filed under Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or Chapter 11. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as the ‘liquidation Bankruptcy’, is the most common and is applicable to individuals and businesses, both. If individuals file for bankruptcy, then they legally declare their inability to service the debt obligations. If the bankruptcy application is accepted and approved, it relieves the individual from repaying its debts to the creditors.

When bankruptcy is filed under chapter 7, the non-exempt assets of the petitioner are liquidated and the money realized from the sale is proportionately distributed among the creditors. If it’s a business entity, it legally ceases to exist after the liquidation.

Bankruptcy Filing Under Chapter 7

You can either file bankruptcy on your own or hire a lawyer. If you don’t want to hire an attorney or can’t afford one, you can file “pro se” that is, on your own. You can get help from a legal aid organization which would assign a lawyer to help you fill up the forms free of cost. They review the filled up forms to check if everything is in order. After that, you have to proceed on your own. This article offers tips on filing bankruptcy.

Remember that you are filing pro se.

Even if you sought help and assistance from an attorney to fill up your bankruptcy forms and got them checked for accuracy and completeness, ultimately you will be filing bankruptcy pro se. “Pro se” is a Latin term that basically means ‘on your own’ and that you are not represented by a lawyer. During the 341 meeting the trustee might ask you about it and you have to tell him that you are unrepresented. It is important that you clarify your position so that there is no room for confusion, either in the minds of the dealing clerk or the trustee. Also, if a petition preparer has helped you fill up the forms, and not a lawyer, you must inform the court.

Personally deliver the bankruptcy forms to the court

Usually, courts do not allow the pro se bankruptcy filers to submit the forms through the electronic filing system. You can either send them through mail or hand-deliver them to the clerk’s office. If the court is not far from your home, it is advisable that you personally deliver the documents to the clerk’s office. Showing up in a court can be intimidating for some people so, going to court just to deliver your forms can ease your nerves and you get acquainted with court atmosphere, which would stand you in good stead for your future visits. Also, it will be easier for you if you have to change any form.

Know the documents you must send your trustee

After you have submitted your bankruptcy forms, you will be intimated about the date of your 341 meeting and also get to know the name of your trustee, the court official who would oversee your case. You will receive a request from the trustee asking for documents before the scheduled meeting. The requested documents differ from trustee to trustee, so make sure you are ready with the right documents. The documents may include bank statements, up-to-date pay slips, tax returns, and other documents that are deemed necessary. Do remember that you have filed bankruptcy per se, and that you don’t have a lawyer by your side to assist you so, be extra careful while submitting the documents.

Post-Filing Course

After you file for bankruptcy, you must attend the post-filing debtor education course. It takes about an hour to complete, and the course organizer issues a completion certificate to be submitted to the court. Make sure you submit it on your own just to ensure that the clerk’s office has received it. Many bankruptcy filings fail just because the debtor didn’t complete the course.

Be confident in the 341 meeting

Don’t get intimidated by 341 meeting, it hardly lasts more than 10-15 minutes and, usually, the creditors don’t attend these meetings. People who file chapter 7 bankruptcy, usually do not have any asset left with them that can acquired, so creditors find these meetings worthless and skip them. Mostly, debtors are asked about their earnings, expenses, assets, and any money that is expected in the future. Be honest with your answers and do not hide anything from the trustee.

If you follow the above tips properly, you would not need a bankruptcy lawyer India to represent you in bankruptcy filing.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I am Alex John, A blogger at USAMagazines.