BK photo 3You can eliminate many types of debt with a full discharge in bankruptcy.
You can eliminate the following kinds of debts in a Chapter 7. (These debts are called “dischargeable” debts.):
  • Credit card debt
  • Medical bills
  • Personal loans
  • Past due utility bills
  • Past due car payments
  • Repossession deficiency balances
  • Past due rent
  • Court judgments (except DUI or fraud judgments)
  • Attorney fees (except child support awards)
What kinds of debts will I still be stuck with even after bankruptcy?
Non-Dischargeable debts (debts you can’t get rid of in bankruptcy) include:
  • Back child support and alimony
  • Divorce decree related debts
  • Student loans
  • Tax arrearages
  • DUI or intentional tort judgments
  • Debts from fraudulent or criminal transactions
Can I keep my house?
My house is already being foreclosed on. Will Chapter 7 help me?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will only help you temporarily with the foreclosure. Once the case is over the foreclosure proceedings will start back up. So generally a Chapter 7 will not help you with an ongoing foreclosure. You should consider a Chapter 13 (link) bankruptcy instead.
What if I am behind on my mortgage but the foreclosure has not started yet?
Can I stay in my apartment even though I am being evicted?
What if my power is being cut off?
Can I keep my car?
What other types of personal property will I be able to keep?
In Georgia you can generally keep the following:
  • Clothing, appliances, furniture, etc. up to $300 each item, up to $5,000 total.
  • Health aids (walkers, wheelchairs, etc.)
  • Jewelry up to $500
  • Personal injury recovery up to $10,000
What else will I be able to keep after my bankruptcy discharge?
In Georgia, you can also generally keep the following:
  • Social Security payments
  • Public assistance
  • Retirement accounts like 401ks and IRAs
  • Insurance (detail)
  • Wages (details)
  • Tools of the trade (details)
  • Alimony, child support
Can I just give away my other stuff so the bankruptcy court can’t take it?
Can I go on a spending spree with my credit cards before I file?
Can I pay my family members or friends what I owe them so they get the full amount of before I file Chapter 7?
Will a Chapter 7 hurt my credit?
My wages are being garnished. Will they still do this after I file?
Will I still owe back child support after I receive a discharge in bankruptcy?
Will I still owe the IRS for back taxes after I receive a discharge in bankruptcy?
I know that student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, but is there anything I can do to at least lower the payments?
What if I filed for Bankruptcy before?
If you filed for bankruptcy less than 8 years ago and received a discharge, you are not allowed to file. You must wait until 8 years from the date of filing of the previous bankruptcy. Also, if you recently filed and your case was dismissed within the last 180 days you may not be able to file.
I was sued and a judgment for money damages was entered against me. Will I still have to pay this?
How does divorce affect a Chapter 7?
 
Once You Decide to File Chapter 7 :
I decided I do want to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. How much will it cost?
The filing fee that goes to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court is $335.00. The required credit counseling course is $10.00.
What is your attorney fee?
My fee is based on the following sliding scale:
  • If you do not own a home or a business: $899
  • If you work as an employee and do not own a home: $999
  • If you are unemployed and own a home: $1,100
  • If you work as an employee and own a home:
  • If you are self employed and do not own a home
  • If you are self employed and own a home
How can I afford bankruptcy when I am in debt?
Can I pay in installments?
Can I pay with a credit card?
How can I pay for bankruptcy?
Wil I qualify to file a Chapter 7?
To see if you qualify for a Chapter 7, first, we do a Median Income Test. In Georgia, your Current Monthly Income must be LESS THAN the Median Income in Georgia, which is:
1 person in household: $3,471 month, 41,650 annually
2 people in household: $4,474 monthly, 53,684 annually
3 people in household: $4,900 monthly, 58,797 annually
4 people in household: $5,764 monthly, 69,170 annually
5 or more people in household: Add $8,100 to $69,170 for each additional family member. (www.LegalConsumer.com publishes updates to median incomes for each state).
Your “current monthly income” (CMI),  is the average income in the past 6 months before filing. We don’t include this month, but the 6 months before this month. In other words, if you plan on filing in July you would calculate based on January through the end of June.
What if I make more than the median income? Can I still qualify?
If your Current Monthly Income is over the limit, then you may still qualify if you pass the “Means Test” to qualify for a Chapter 7.
The Means Test is complicated, but our software program allows us to input your information and make the calculations fairly easily. This test calculates your living expenses to see what is left over at the end of each month (“disposable income”). The lower your disposable income you have after expenses each month the easier it will be to pass the means test. Again, we can calculate this for you once you provide us with some information.
What will happen once I file for Chapter 7?
Filing bankruptcy triggers the Automatic Stay. It stops creditor collections, including phone calls, letters, car repos, lawsuits, home foreclosure and wage garnishments. Creditors cannot file a lawsuit, record a lien against your property, report a debt to a credit bureau or seize a bank account. Utilities (gas, electric, water, phone) cannot be cut off for 20 days after you file. You have to make a deposit, though, to prevent a cut off after that.
The A.S. will NOT stop: family law related proceedings (divorce, child support, custody, etc) or IRS conducting a tax audit, issuing a tax deficiency notice or demanding payment of a tax assessment.
Evictions (p 43)
I am ready to move forward and file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. What do I need to do?
Call me at (404) 250-7000 and schedule your free consultation.
 
So to arrive at your Current Monthly Income you will need to provide us with your:
 
  • Gross wages, salary, tips, bonuses, overtime and commissions for the past 6 months (Bring 6 months of Paystubs to your appointment at our office)
 
  • If you own a business, gross business receipts and expenses for the past 6 months. (Quickbook statement)
 
  • If you own rental property, gross rental receipts and expenses for the last 6 months (statement)
 
  • If you own stocks, bonds, C.D.s, or have money in interest-bearing accounts, any income from stock dividends, interest accounts or royalties. (Bank or Broker’s Statements)
 
  • Pension and retirement income (not including Social Security retirement, disability or SSI)
 
  • Child support you have received in the past 6 months
 
  • Unemployment compensation received in the past 6 months
 
  • Workers compensation received in the past 6 months
 
You do NOT have to include income tax refunds, disability benefits, SSI benefits or Social Security payments.
 
We add up all of your income over the past 6 months and divide by 6 to get the average Current Monthly Income. We will multiply that by 12 (annualize it) to get your “Current Annual Income” to use with the “Median Income Tables” for Georgia. We take the number of people living in your household (all people living in your home, including kids who are or are not your dependents; but roommates do not count unless you comingle your money) and compare your current annual income to the median family income in Georgia for the size of your household, which is as follows:
 
If your Current Monthly Income is under the median income for a household your size, then you can proceed with the Chapter 7.
 
For example, if you are living in a household of 3 people and your current annual income is $51,000, this falls below the Median Income in Georgia of $56,189, and you can proceed with a Chapter 7.
 
What if your monthly living expenses are extremely high? Unfortunately, you are limited in the amount of some expenses you can claim, as the test limits the living expenses you can deduct based on the allowable IRS expenses for food and clothing, rent/mortgage and utilities, and healthcare based on your household size. You may be able to “override” these limits if you provide a reasonable explanation as to why the additional expenses should be allowed. Again, we will calculate this for you.
 
There are many other expenses you list on this Means Test form, including necessary expenses for transportation, education for employment, childcare, etc.
 
Generally, after plugging in the numbers you provide us, it boils down to this:
 
  •        If you have $100 or less in disposable monthly income, you “pass” the Means test, and you can proceed with a Chapter 7.
 
If you have between $100 and $166.67 in disposable income, you “pass” only if your disposable income multiplied by 60 is less than 25% of your “Non-Priority unsecured debt.” Non-Priority unsecured debt is usually debt from credit cards, medical bills and judgments. This sounds complicated, but don’t worry. We can figure this step out for you as long as we have information from you about your debts.
If you have $166.67 or more disposable monthly income, you “fail” the Means test. But you still may be able to qualify for a Chapter 7 based on “special circumstances” like a serious medical condition or having recently been called up to active duty military, or using a vague “totality of circumstances” argument that even though you technically do not qualify for a Chapter 7, because of the totality of your unique circumstances (recent loss of a job or divorce, etc.) the U.S. Trustee should make an exception in your case and allow you to go forward with a Chapter 7.
 
If you have more than $100.00 per month in disposable income, and you fail the Means Test, and you cannot prove unique circumstances to the Trustee that would allow an exception in your case, you cannot go forward with a Chapter 7 at this time. If you want to file bankruptcy right away you will need to consider a Chapter 13 payment plan.
 
Another alternative available to you if you fail the means test is to simply wait a few weeks or months so that your 6 month average will fall below the median income, allowing you to file a Chapter 7. This may be advisable, for example, if you only recently lost your job. The hardest part of waiting is dealing with the immediate problems your debt has you in.
 
Fill out a Schedule A, Real Property, Schedule.The Schedule A form asks for information about any real estate you own, including land, vacation homes, condos, duplexes, rental property, business property, mobile homes, mobile home lots. (Not time shares, which are included on Schedule G).
The information includes:
 
  •         Description and location of property
  •         Nature of Debtor’s Interest in Property
 
Types of ownership:
Fee Simple
Life Estate
Future Interest
Contingent Interest
Lien Holder
Easement Holder
Power of Appointment
Beneficial Owner under a Sales Contract (property “under contract”)
If married, indicate if property owned:
 
–By the Husband (H)
–By the Wife (W)
–Jointly by husband and wife as joint tenants, tenants in common, or tenants by the entirety (J)
–Jointly by husband and wife as community property (C)
  •         The estimated current value of the property. You can obtain an estimated value of real estate in a number of ways. You can go to www.Zillow.com and enter the property address; you can ask a real estate agent to do a “drive-by” evaluation; you can go to the Bank of America Home Value tool to get a “range” of the approximate value.
  •         All secured claims against the property, including mortgages, home equity loans, and any liens (judgment liens, mechanic’s liens, materialmen’s lien, tax liens, etc.) on the property. If you don’t know the balance on your mortgage or home equity loan, call the lender.
Some of the liens will be characterized as “Contingent” (for example, if you co-signed on a loan and you will not be liable unless the principal debtor defaults on the loan), “Unliquidated” (for example, you have a personal injury suit and your lawyer is working on a percentage basis of whatever is recovered; since you don’t know how much the amount will be it is unliquidated) or “Disputed” (if you dispute the debt itself or the amount of the debt).
What if I don’t know the balance on my mortgage?
You should call the lender for that information.
What if my house is in foreclosure?
You still list the property on Schedule A, as you still own the property until the foreclosure sale is held and a new deed is recorded with a new owner. However, you should put on the form that the house is currently in foreclosure and the date of the foreclosure sale if you know it.
How much equity in my home is exempt or sheltered?
The homestead exemption (the amount of equity you get to keep out of the bankruptcy estate) in Georgia is $21,500.00 for individuals, and $43,000.00 for married couples filing jointly. O.C.G.A. 44-13-100.
  1.   List Your Personal Property on Schedule B
 
Schedule B asks for information about all the personal property you own. You must list everything you own, even property that is being used as collateral for a debt and even if someone else is holding an item of property for you. For smaller items less than $50.00 you can combine them into groups. For example, you don’t have to list each hammer and screwdriver in your tool set; you can just state “tools” and give the current value as a set.
You must list each item of personal property you own, a description of the property, where it is located, if it is owned individually by you or with your spouse, and its “current value”. What is the current value of an item of property?
 
On this form you list:
  •         Cash on hand. This includes money in your wallet, under your mattress, or in a safe deposit box. Basically it is any cold hard cash you have access to.
  •         Checking and savings bank account balances and brokerage account balances. This includes C.D.s and credit union accounts.
  •         Security deposits with public utilities, telephone companies, landlords and others.
  •         Household goods, furniture and electronics. This includes computer equipment, TVs, stereos, etc.
  •         Books, pictures, works of art, antiques, collectibles. This includes stamp and coin collections.
  •         Clothes
  •         Furs and jewelry
  •         Firearms, sports equipment, photography and other hobby equipment. This would include things like handguns, rifles, golf clubs, tennis rackets, cameras, telescopes, etc.
  •         Interests in insurance policies. You should list all life insurance policies you have an interest in, including all term policies and whole life policies, even though the only thing the Trustee is interested in is the amount of any “cash value” or “surrender value” in a whole life insurance policy you own. If you own a whole life policy and you don’t know what the cash/surrender value of the policy is, you should contact your agent, who should be able to provide you with this information. Most insurance companies also have a toll free number that you can call to get this information. Note: this form does not ask for the death benefit (face value) of the policy, just the cash or surrender value.
  •         Annuities
  •         Interests in education IRA or State tuition plan. (These will not be part of the bankruptcy estate, but list them anyway)
  •         Retirement accounts and pension or profit sharing plans, including IRAs and ERISA
  •         Stocks
  •         Interests in partnerships
  •         Bonds
  •         Accounts receivable (If you own a business)
  •         Alimony and child support you are entitled to, including amounts not paid or past due. Also list any money or property that you are to receive in any property settlement in a divorce
  •         Other liquidated debts owed to you, including tax refunds. This is money you are owed that you haven’t previously entered on this form. For example, your cousin Joe may owe you $500.00, or you obtained a judgment against a company but haven’t been paid.
  •         “Equitable or Future Interests”, meaning property that you don’t have possession of now but will get later. Examples would include a trust where your relative is holding property for her lifetime, then when she dies it goers to you (a “life estate”). You don’t have to list any property you already listed in Schedule A, Real Property.
  •         “Contingent and non-contingent interests of any kind not previously listed” This includes personal injury, workers compensation and disability claims, in the estate of someone who has died, and interests you have in a death benefits plan, life insurance policy or trust. Basically if you are listed as a beneficiary of a trust or insurance policy, list it here. “Contingent” means you may or may not eventually get the property; “Non-contingent” means you will get the property or money, such as is the case if you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
Why do I have to list what I may get in someone’s will? They may change their mind and write me out of the will or maybe will not die before I do anyway.
Because if the person who named you in his will dies within six months of your filing for bankruptcy it becomes part of the bankruptcy estate.
  •         All other claims not listed. List all claims that you may have against others that may end up as a lawsuit. Example: If someone ran into your car and you may sue them, list it here.
  •         Patents, copyrights and other intellectual property
  •         Licenses and franchises, and whther you can transfer them to someone else
  •         Customer lists
  •         Cars, trucks, trailers and other vehicles. Include the make, model and year of each.
How do I determine the current value of my car or truck?
If you can get to a local Carmax, drive the vehicle over there and get a written offer from them to buy your car. This can serve as evidence of its current value. You can also go to www.kelleybluebook.com and see what your car would bring if you sold it to a private person.
 
  •         Boats, motors and accessories
  •         Airplanes
  •         Office equipment, office furniture, equipment and supplies used in business
  •         Business inventory
  •         Animals
  •         Crops
  •         Farming equipment
  •         Farm supplies
  •         Other personal property of any kind not listed. Basically, anything else you own you didn’t list already.
  1.   List Your Property You Claim as Exempt on Schedule C
 
“Exempt property” means property that you get to keep in a bankruptcy. Some property you will get to keep outright; other property you may have to give up completely; and for some property you get to keep a portion of its value. In Georgia you are required to use the exemptions listed in the Georgia laws; you do not have the option of using the federal exemptions like you do in some states.
 
Once we have completed Schedules A and B we will be able to figure out the exemptions you are entitled to and the amounts of each; in other words, we will know what stuff you will probably be able to keep. (Some of the exemptions may be left up to the discretion of the Trustee, so we don’t know for sure on all of the exemptions, but we will have a very good idea).
 
Generally, in Georgia you will be able to keep the following:
 
  •         Real Estate (Homestead): Up to $21,500 in equity if you are filing individually or up to $43,000 if filing jointly with a spouse.
  •         Cars and motor vehicles: Up to $3,500 in equity ($7,000 if filing jointly)
  •         Household goods, clothing, appliances, furniture, books, musical instruments, animals: up to $300 each item for a maximum exemption of $5,000 individual or $10,000 jointly
  •         Jewelry: Up to $500 ($1,000 if filing jointly)
  •         Tools of the trade: $1,500 ($3,000 if filing jointly)
  •         Personal injury recovery up to $10,000.00.
  •         Wages: 75% of earned but unpaid weekly disposable earnings, or 30 times the state or federal hourly wage, whichever is greater
  •         Retirement accounts, 401K, IRAs: 100% exempt
  •         Workers compensation, Disability benefits: 100% exempt
  •         Social Security benefits: 100% exempt
  •         Life insurance; 100% exempt
  •         Alimony, Child Support: 100% exempt
  •         Public benefits (public assistance, food stamps, welfare, aid to blind, Veterans benefits): 100% exempt
  •         Health aids: 100% exempt
  •         Wrongful death recoveries needed for support: 100% exempt
 
Wildcard: $600 of any unused property exemption and unused portion of homestead exemption up to $5,000.
What if I only have a little bit of equity in my house—can I use the rest of the exemption amount somewhere else in my exemptions?
You can use up to $5,000.00 of the unused portion of your exempt equity elsewhere in your property exemptions.
  1.   List Your Secured Creditors on Schedule D
Here you list your secured creditors. Secured creditors are those who have a security interest in some of your property. In other words, your property is being used as collateral to secure the loan. Examples would be lenders with the following secured liens:
 
  •         Mortgages (Georgia is a “title theory” state; the title is in the name of the lender until the mortgage is paid in full.)
  •         Statutory liens (IRS tax liens against your property, Child Support lien filed by Child Support Enforcement agency)
  •         “Purchase Money Security Interest” (Car loan)
  •         “Non-Purchase Money Security Interest” (re-financed home loans, home equity loans, or loans from finance companies. Also collateral you put up to secure a loan, such as from a pawnbroker)
  •         Garnishments (Wage garnishments)
  •         Judgment liens
  •         mechanics liens on your home (filed by contractors for work done on your home)
  •         “Common law liens” (Landlord holding your furniture until you pay rent. This lienholder does not have the right to sell your property, just to hold onto it)
  •         contingent attorney fees, such as in a pending personal injury lawsuit
  •         All parties trying to collect secured debts (collection agencies and/or collection attorneys)
 
Since we will have already completed Schedules A and B, including lien information on your real and personal property, we will have most of the information we need to complete Schedule D. All of the secured liens listed will be characterized as “Contingent”; “Unliquidated” or “Disputed.”
 
  1.   List Your Creditors Holding Unsecured Priority Claims
 
These are creditors who may be entitled to be paid first out of your non-exempt assets. These include
 
  1.    Domestic support obligations (past due alimony and child support)
  2.   If you own a business: wages, salaries and commissions owed to your employees or some independent contractors within 180 days of ceasing your business or filing the bankruptcy petition (up to $10,950 per person is priority debt)
  3.    If you own a business: contributions you owe to an employee benefit fund within 180 days of ceasing your business or filing the bankruptcy petition
  4.   Deposits by individuals who gave you money to buy or lease goods or services from you for personal, family or household use that you never delivered (up to $2,425.00 per person is priority debt)
  5.    Back taxes or government fines (without a tax lien having been filed on any of your property)
  6.    Claims against you for personal injury or death resulting from a claim of intoxication (e.g. drunk driving)
  7.   List Your  Creditors Holding Unsecured Non-priority Claims on Schedule E
 
This is a list of all other creditors, whether you contend you owe the debt or not, and whether you will be able to discharge the debt or not (like student loans).
 
  1.   List Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases on Schedule G
An executory contract means you or the other party still have to perform acts under it. Unexpired leases are leases that are still active. Examples include:
  1.    Car leases
  2.   Apartment or home leases
  3.    Real estate contracts for sale
  4.   Future homeowners association fees
  5.    Insurance contracts
  6.    Business rental agreements
  7.   Service and business contracts
  8.   Time-share contracts
  9.        Equipment leases
  10.   List Any Co-Debtors on Schedule H
List all co-debtors and the debts they are jointly responsible for with you.
 
  1.  Calculate Your Actual Current Monthly Income in Schedule I
 
Here you list your actual current monthly income (not your average monthly income in the 6 months before you file like you did in Schedule 22A/Means Test.) In other words, what are you making now? We will need your paycheck stubs and if you own a business your recent books entries, to fill out this schedule.
 
This Schedule asks for:
 
  1.    Marital status
  2.   Employer information and your occupation
  3.    Gross monthly gross pay and all deductions (withholding from your paycheck for taxes, Social Security and Medicare, etc.)
  4.   Dependants (kids or others you or your spouse provide over 50% of support to)
  5.    If you own a business, income from that business. You must attach a detailed statement showing the income. An IRS tax for “Schedule C” should be used if available. If your business income has been steady for the past year you can divide the amount you entered on the most recent tax form Schedule C by 12 for the amount to enter. If unsteady, enter the average monthly gross income over the past 3 months.
  6.    Average monthly income from real property
  7.   Interest and dividends
  8.   Alimony or child support you receive each month
  9.        Social Security or government assistance you receive each month. These include social security checks, SSI, public assistance, disability, Veteran’s benefits, unemployment, workers compensation, and food stamps.
  10.        Pension or retirement income
You will then need to put if you expect to make a lot less or a lot more income in the coming year. For example, if you know you will be laid off soon, you can explain that fact here.
 
  1.  List Your Current Expenditures on Schedule J
 
How much do you spend each month, and on what? You will list:
 
  1.    Rent or mortgage payment
  2.   Utilities (including power, water, gas, internet and cable tv)
  3.    Home maintenance and repair
  4.   Food
  5.    Clothing
  6.    Laundry
  7.   Medical and dental expenses
  8.   Transportation (not including car payments)
  9.        Recreation, clubs and entertainment
  10.        Charitable contributions
  11.   Insurance (not deducted from wages or paid in the monthly mortgage payment) for homeowners, life, health, and auto
  12.        Taxes (not deducted from wages or included in monthly mortgage payments)
  13. Installment payments. Enter payments you are making on any secured debt only (not credit cards). This would include car payments, furniture payments, but not mortgage payments.
  14.   Alimony or child support you pay out each month
  15.   Payments for support of additional dependants not living at your home
  16.   If you own a business, regular business expenses. (You will need to attach a detailed statement such as a Schedule C tax form)
  17.  Complete Statement of Financial Affairs on Form B-7
 
This form asks for all of your recent financial transaction, like payments to creditors and other transfers of property or gifts to others. Enter:
 
  1.    Income from employment or operation of a business. (Here we go again, right?). This time enter the gross income from this year and for the previous two years. We will use a “three year insert” in our software to complete this question.
  2.   Income from sources other than employment or running a business. These include stock dividends, interest, and government benefits of any kind.
  3.    Recent payments to creditors. There are two kinds of creditors for purposes of this question: “regular” creditors and “insider” creditors. An insider is a relative or close business associate. First, list payments to regular creditors of $600 or more made to repay a loan or other debt within the last 90 days before filing the Petition. Then list all payments to insider creditors in the past year, including alimony and child support.
  4.   Lawsuits (including personal injury, workers compensation and divorce proceedings), administrative proceedings, executions, garnishments and attachments. If any of your property was taken from you pursuant to a court order within the past year, enter the relevant information here.
  5.    Repossessions, foreclosures and returns within the past year. This includes car repos and home mortgage foreclosures.
  6.    Assignments and Receiverships. If you have assigned any future money to someone else (for example, a portion of a personal injury award to an attorney) in the last 120 days, list it here. For receiverships, list all of your property that has been in the hands of a court appointed official during the year before filing the Petition.
  7.   Gifts. List all charitable donation of more than $100 and gifts to family of more than $200.
  8.   Losses. List losses from fire, theft and gambling.
  9.        Payments related to debt counseling or bankruptcy. This includes bankruptcy attorney fees paid.
  10.        Other transfers. List all property you have sold or given to someone within the past two years.
  11.   Closed financial accounts. Accounts you closed in the past year.
  12.        Safe deposit boxes
  13. Setoffs. This is when a creditor like  a bank takes money from your checking account by “freezing” it to pay off a separate loan.
  14.   Property held for another person. This includes property you are keeping for another person (e.g. letting someone keep his car in your garage) or money you are handling as a trustee in a trust for the benefit of someone else.
  15.   Prior addresses
  16.   Spouses and former spouses
  17.   If you own a business or ran a business within the past 6 years, list the type of business, location and name of the businesses here.
  18.        If you have owned a business within the past 6 years, list the bookkeepers and accountants who have done or audited your books or who currently have possession of your books. Also provide a list of any Financial Statements you made in the past two years to any bank or financial institution.
  19.    Inventories. If you have a business that deals in products and any inventories were done, provide information about the last two inventories.
  20.  Complete the Individual Debtor’s Statement of Intention on Form B-8
This form ask you what you want to do about your property that is security for a debt, such as your car you are paying on, what to do about any executor contracts such as timeshares or active leases. What do you want to do about the collateral? You indicate if you will surrender the property or retain it. If you retain it you indicate if you will redeem the property or reaffirm the debt.
 
Basically, you have the option to reaffirm the debt; redeem the debt; or voluntarily surrender the collateral. If you reaffirm the debt you agree to be liable for the full debt even after filing bankruptcy. If you redeem the debt you agree to buy the collateral at its replacement value. If you voluntarily surrender the collateral you give it up to the bankruptcy Trustee.
For car leases you can indicate if you want to assume the lease or walk away from it.
  1.  SUMMARY OF SCHEDULES
 
This form is a summary of all of the Schedules you have completed. This form will auto-fill from all of the information you have provided us in answering the questions so far.
  1.  FORM B-6: DECLARATION CONCERNING DEBTOR’S SCHEDULES
This form is simply a declaration signed by you, the debtor, affirming that the information you have provided is true.
  1.  FORM B-23: DEBTOR’S CERTIFICATION OF COMPLETION OF PERSONAL FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT COURSE
This confirms that you have taken a two-hour course in financial management. You take this course after you have filed the Petition but before the discharge, and no later than 60 days after the first setting of the 341 Hearing.. The same types of companies that offer credit counseling usually provide this course as well.
You file this form with the court, along with a Certificate of completion from the counseling agency.
F.A.Q.
Should I file for bankruptcy?
First, what kind of debts do you have? Are they mostly dischargeable or non-dischargeable? If mostly dischargeable debts and you want creditor activity (garnishment; repossession; lawsuits, etc.) to stop, and/or you want to re-establish credit, then probably yes.
If most of your debts are non-dischargeable (back child support and alimony; divorce decree related debts; student loans; tax arrearages; DUI judgments) or can be objected to by creditors (debt from fraudulent or criminal transactions; recent luxury items; intentional torts) then maybe not.
If you are judgment proof and don’t want to rebuild your credit, then maybe not. If you live simply, have no non-exempt property and can live off of 75% of your wages, then maybe not. (But, interest on the debts continue to accrue exponentially.) If you have forgiven debts, of $600 or more the creditor sends you a 1099 and you pay tax on them.
What is the Automatic Stay?
Filing bankruptcy triggers the Automatic Stay. It stops creditor collections, including phone calls, letters, car repos, lawsuits, home foreclosure and wage garnsihments. Creditors cannot file a lawsuit, record a lien against your property, report a debt to a credit bureau or seize a bank account. Utilities (gas, electric, water, phone) cannot be cut off for 20 days after you file. You have to make a deposit, though, to prevent a cutoff after that.
The A.S. will NOT stop: family law related proceedings (divorce, child support, custody, etc) or IRS conducting a tax audit, issuaing a tax deficiency notice or demanding payment of a tax assessment.
Evictions (p 43)
Petition:
  1.   Form 1: Voluntary Petition. P.1
  •         Court name: Northern District of Georgia
  •         Name(s) of debtor and joint debtor: Last, first, middle.
Should you file jointly?
  •         All other names used by debtors (in past 8 years): Includes sole proprietorships trade names d/b/a. Any names you may have used with any creditor.
  •         Last 4 digits of SS#:
  •         Street address (Not P.O. Box)
  •         County of Residence
  •         Mailing address if different from street address
  •         Location of Principal Assets of Business Debtor: Leave blank
  •         Type of Debtor: Individual
  •         Nature of Business:
Healthcare (Assisted Living) Single Asset Real Estate (If you make all your money from one property with over 4 units); Railroad; stockbroker; commodity broker; clearing bank; other)
  •         Chapter of BK Code: Chapter 7
  •         Chapter 15 Debtors: Leave blank
  •         Tax Exempt Entity: Leave blank
  •         Nature of Debts: Are most Consumer or Business? (When in doubt, check business)
  •         Filing Fee: Full Fee attached;  Filing Fee To Be Paid In Installments; or Waiver Requested
  •         Chapter 11 Debtors: Leave blank
  •         Statistical/Administrative Information: Debtor estimates that after exempt property is excluded and administrative expenses paid, that extra funds WILL or WILL NOT be available to pay unsecured creditors. Check boxes indicating estimated number of creditors, estimated assets, estimated liabilities. If unsure, complete Schedules A, B and C first.
  •         P2: Debtor names (Last, first, middle)
  •         All prior BK filings in past 8 years. (A BK in past bars new filing for 8 years. If previous BK was dismissed for cause in past 180 days, may have to wait or accept that some debts will not be discharged.)
  •         Pending BK case filed by any spouse, partner or affiliate. Affiliate refers to related business; partner to business partner
EXHIBITS:
  •         EXHIBIT A (leave blank)
  •         EXHIBIT B. Attorney certifies he has explained chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13 and has delivered debtor Notice required by 11 USC 342 (b)
  •         EXHIBIT C: List potentially dangerous property (explosives)
  •         EXHIBIT D: This is a Debtor’s Statement of Compliance with Credit Counseling requirement. Sign and date the Exhibit and submit with Petition. (If joint, each spouse must submit one). Check the box that applies:
*Within 180 days before filing you did the CC and got a Certificate;
*You went to CC but didn’t get a Certificate (must get one and file it within 14 days after Petition is filed);
*You tried but 7 days have gone by and you cant get an appt.
*You don’t have to go because you are incapacitated, disabled or active military; or
*The Trustee said you didn’t have to go (rare).
  •         Information Regarding the Debtor—Venue. Check box that you have lived in the District for 180 days immediately preceding filing or lived here for a longer part of the last 180 days than any other district.
  •         Certification by a Debtor Who Resides as a Tenant of Residential Property. Asks if Landlord has judgment against debtor. (Has been evicted). If so, put name of landlord, and say if you have the money to catch up on rent. Include the deposit and certify you have given landlord notice.
  •         Signatures of debtors and Attorney.
FORM 6 (SCHEDULES):
  •         SCHEDULE A: Real Property
–Name(s) of debtors
–Case number (If you filed an emergency filing, put case #)
–Description and location of property: (House, farm, lot, 123 Main Street, Atl 30303) (If in foreclosure, enter info about circumstances)
–Nature of Debtor’s Interest in property:
  1.    Fee Simple (outright ownership)
  2.   Life Estate (Interest terminates at death)
  3.    Future Interest (Will own property in future pursuant to terms of a deed or irrevocable trust, not a will or living trust)
  4.   Contingent Interest (Will own property upon certain conditions. Can be in a will)
  5.    Lienholder (You have a lien on someone else’s property)
  6.    Easement Holder (You have a right to travel or use someone elses property)
  7.   Power of Appointment (You can appoint property to someone else, given to you in a will or transfer of property.)
  8.   Beneficial Ownership under a real estate contract. (You have a house or property under contract)
–Husband, Wife, Joint or Community (Owned by whom? Husband alone, wife alone, jointly by both as joint tenants; tenants in common, or tenants by the entirety; or by H and W as community property)
–Current Value. Fair market value
–Amount of Secured Claim: Each mortgage amount; deed of trust, home equity loan; liens (judgment/mechanics/materialmens/tax, etc) that is claimed against the property.
–Enter Totals
  •         SCHEDULE B: Personal Property
1 through 35 itemizing all of your cash and stuff
  •         SCHEDULE C: Property Claimed as Exempt
  •         SCHEDULE D: Creditors Holding Secured Claims
  •         SCHEDULE E: Creditors Holding Unsecured Priority Claims
*Domestic Support Obligations
*Extension of credit (leave blank)
*Wages, salary and Commissions: You owe employees or Independent Contractors with certain conditions
*Contribution to employee benefits plans for your employees
*Certain farmers or fisherman (blank if n/a)
*Deposits by Individuals, who paid you for personal, family or household goods or services that you haven’t delivered on. The fist $2,425 is a priority debt.
*Taxes and other govt debt. (Unpaid back taxes or fines, but if IRS recorded a lien then it is secured debt on Schedule D)
*Commitments to maintain capital…(Blank)
*Claims for death or p.i. while debtor intoxicated (DUI claims)
  •         SCHEDULE F:  Creditors Holding Unsecured Nonpriority Claims
*ALL other creditors, even if nondischargeable. (Student loans, credit cards
  •         SCHEDULE G: Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
*List contracts still current (executor) where you owe something under the K
*Unexpired leases, e.g. car leases; house or office leases; contracts for sale of property; HOA fee requirements
  •         SCHEDULE H: Co-debtors
*List co-debtors, even if listed before
*List spouses who lived with you in community property states (Alaska; Arizona; Cal.; Idaho; LA.; Nev, NM, Tx, Washngtn; Wisconsin) within 8 years of filing.
  •         SCHEDULE I: Current Income of Individual Debtors
*Use stubs for current income
  •         SCHEDULE J: Current Expenditures of Individual Debtors
  •         SUMMARY OF SCHEDULES A THROUGH J
  •         STATISTICAL SUMMARIES OF CERTAIN LIABILITIES
  •         DECLARATION CONCERNING DEBTOR’S SCHEDULES
  •         FORM 7: STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
Itemizes what you have earned and paid out to tothers in past calendar year plus previous 2 years.
  •         FORM 8: CHAPTER 7 INDIVIDUAL DEBTOR’S STATEMENT OF INTENTION
If you will Surrender or Retain the property, and if you  redeem or reaffirm the retained property.
  •         FORM 21: STATEMENT OF SS NUMBER
  •         FORM 22A: STATEMENT OF CURRENT MONTHLY INCOME AND MEANS-TEST CALCULATION
  •         FORM 23: CERTIFICATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL COURSE ON FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
  •         FORM 201: NOTICE TO CONSUMER DEBTORS UNDER 342 (b) OF THE BANKRUPTCY CODE
  •         MAILING MATRIX
  •         LOCAL FORMS
 
BANKRUPTCY CHAPTER 7 INTAKE
Name _______________________________________________________________________
Phone Numbers ______________________________________________________________
  1.      Have you ever filed bankruptcy before? Yes _____ No ______
  2.      If Yes, when did you file and was it a 7 or 13? ______________________________
  3.      Are you: married _______  single ________
If married, is your spouse going to file with you? Yes ____ No ____ Don’t Know ___
  1.      Do you own your home? Yes _____ No _____
If Yes,
Monthly mortgage payment $____________
Behind on mortgage? Yes ____ No ______
If yes, how far behind are you? $_________________
Is the home in foreclosure? Yes ___ No _________
How much is owed on your 1st mortgage? $___________________
If 2nd mortgage, how much is owed on that? $_____________________
Approximate Home Value: $______________
If No,
How much is your rent? __________________
Are you behind on rent? ______________________
Are you being evicted?________________________
  1.      Do you own a car, truck or boat? _______________
If yes,
Vehicle #1: Year ________ Make/Model ____________________
Monthly payment $_______________________
Behind on payments? Yes ___ No ___ If yes, how far behind? ________________
Vehicle being repossessed? Yes _____ No ________
Vehicle #2 Year ________ Make/Model ____________________
Monthly Car Payment $ ___________________
Behind on car payments? Yes ___ No ___ If yes, how far behind? ____________
Vehicle being repossessed? Yes _____ No ______
  1.      Total credit card debt $__________________________________
  2.      Total past due medical bills $______________________________
  3.      Tax debts owed to IRS: $__________________________________
  4.      Tax debts owed to Ga. Dept. of Revenue $____________________
  5.  Other debts: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  6.  How many people live in your household?  _______
  7.  Are you employed? Yes _____ No _____ If no, how long unemployed? ____________
  8.  Spouse employed? Yes ______ No _____  If no, how long unemployed? ___________
  9.  What is your annual income (from all sources, including unemployment, business income, etc.) ? ____________________
Spouse’s annual income: $__________________________
———————————————————————————————————-
 
Before filing :
  1. You must have completed a credit counseling workshop within the last 180 days. Once you complete the course you will receive a “Certificate of Completed Credit Counseling Workshop.” org; Debtorcc.org is $10; personalfinanceducation.com; finaniallit.org; consumerbankruptcycounseling.info (free)
  2. Any repayment plan developed during credit counseling
  3. Most recent federal tax return or transcript (goes to the Trustee, not the court, due no later than 7 days before 341 meeting). If you haven’t filed tax returns in 2 or more years, a signed letter to the Trustee explaining when you last filed and why you haven’t filed in 2 years. Can get tax transcripts and credit reports with Best Case.
  4. Wage stubs for last 60 days. If self employed, P and L statements from last ___ months.
  5. Local court filing requirements
  6. Filing fee of $306.0
 
Outline
  1. Median Income Test / Means Test (Form 22A)
  2. Schedule A: Real Property
  3. Schedule B: Personal Property
  4. Schedule C: Exempt Property (Will auto-fill from A, B)
  5. Schedule D: Secured Creditors (Will auto-fill from A, B)
  6. Schedule E: Unsecured Creditors with Priority Claims
  7. Schedule F: Unsecured Creditors with Non-Priority Claims
  8. Schedule G: Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
  9. Schedule H: Codebtors
  10. Schedule I: Current Income
  11. Schedule J: Current Expenditures
  12. Form B 7: Statement of Financial
 
  1. DO YOU QUALIFY FOR CHAPTER 7? (Median Income Test–Form 22A)
To see if you qualify for Chapter 7, first we must do a Median Income Test. We determine your “current monthly income” (CMI), which is the average income in the past 6 months before filing. We don’t include this month, but the 6 months before this month. In other words, if you plan on filing in July you would calculate based on January through the end of June. .
To arrive at your Current Monthly Income you will need to provide us with your:
  • Gross wages, salary, tips, bonuses, overtime and commissions for the past 6 months (Bring 6 months of Paystubs to your appointment at our office)
  • If you own a business, gross business receipts and expenses for the past 6 months. (Quickbook statement)
  • If you own rental property, gross rental receipts and expenses for the last 6 months (statement)
  • If you own stocks, bonds, C.D.s, or have money in interest-bearing accounts, any income from stock dividends, interest accounts or royalties. (Bank or Broker’s Statements)
  • Pension and retirement income (not including Social Security retirement, disability or SSI)
  • Child support you have received in the past 6 months
  • Unemployment compensation received in the past 6 months
  • Workers compensation received in the past 6 months
You do not have to include income tax refunds, disability benefits, SSI benefits or Social Security payments.
We add up all of your income over the past 6 months and divide by 6 to get the average Current Monthly Income. We will multiply that by 12 (annualize it) to get your “Current Annual Income” to use with the “Median Income Tables” for Georgia. We take the number of people living in your household (all people living in your home, including kids who are or are not your dependents; but roommates do not count unless you comingle your money) and compare your current annual income to the median family income in Georgia for the size of your household, which is as follows:
Median Income in Georgia:
1 person in household: $41,214
2 people in household: $51,954
3 people in household: $56,189
4 people in household: $67,214
5 or more people in household: Add $7,500 to $67,214 for each additional family member. (www.LegalConsumer.com publishes updates to median incomes for each state).
If your Current Monthly Income is under the median income for a household your size, then you can proceed with the Chapter 7.
For example, if you are living in a household of 3 people and your current annual income is $51,000, this falls below the Median Income in Georgia of $56,189, and you can procedd with a Chapter 7.
If, however, your Current Monthly Income is over the limit, then you must pass the Means Test to qualify for a Chapter 7. The Means Test is designed to determine if you have enough disposable income after expenses and deductions to qualify for a Chapter 7, or if you have enough to pay off your unsecured debts in 3 to 5 years under a Chapter 13 case.
The Means Test is complicated, but our software program allows us to input your information and make the calculations fairly easily. This test calculates your living expenses to see what is left over at the end of each month (“disposable income”). The lower your disposable income you have after expenses each month the easier it will be to pass the means test.
What if your monthly living expenses are extremely high? Unfortunately, you are limited in the amount of some expenses you can claim, as the test limits the living expenses you can deduct based on the allowable IRS expenses for food and clothing, rent/mortgage and utilities, and healthcare based on your household size. You may be able to “override” these limits if you provide a reasonable explanation as to why the additional expenses should be allowed. Again, we will calculate this for you.
There are many other expenses you list on this Means Test form, including necessary expenses for transportation, education for employment, childcare, etc.
Generally, after plugging in the numbers you provide us, it boils down to this:
  • If you have $100 or less in disposable monthly income, you “pass” the Means test, and you can proceed with a Chapter 7.
  • If you have between $100 and $166.67 in disposable income, you “pass” only if your disposable income multiplied by 60 is less than 25% of your “Non-Priority unsecured debt.” Non-Priority unsecured debt is usually debt from credit cards, medical bills and judgments. This sounds complicated, but don’t worry: we can figure this step out for you as long as we have information from you about your debts.
  • If you have $166.67 or more disposable monthly income, you “fail” the Means test. But you still may be able to qualify for a Chapter 7 based on “special circumstances” like a serious medical condition or having recently been called up to active duty military, or using a vague “totality of circumstances” argument that even though you technically do not qualify for a Chapter 7, because of the totality of your unique circumstances (recent loss of a job or divorce, etc.) the U.S. Trustee should make an exception in your case and allow you to go forward with a Chapter 7.
If you have more than $100.00 per month in disposable income, and you fail the Means Test, and you cannot prove unique circumstances to the Trustee that would allow an exception in your case, you cannot go forward with a Chapter 7 at this time. If you want to file bankruptcy right away you will need to consider a Chapter 13 payment plan.
Another alternative available to you if you fail the means test is to simply wait a few weeks or months so that your 6 month average will fall below the median income, allowing you to file a Chapter 7. This may be advisable, for example, if you only recently lost your job. The hardest part of waiting is dealing with the immediate problems your debt has you in. This is a decision that should be made after consulting with the bankruptcy attorney.
  1. List Your Real Property on Schedule A
This form asks for information about any real estate you own, including land, vacation homes, condos, duplexes, rental property, business property, mobile homes, mobile home lots. (Not time shares, which are included on Schedule G).
The information includes:
  • Description and location of property
  • Nature of Debtor’s Interest in Property
Types of ownership:
 
Fee Simple
Life Estate
Future Interest
Contingent Interest
Lien Holder
Easement Holder
Power of Appointment
Beneficial Owner under a Sales Contract (property “under contract”)
 
  • If you own the house alone or with someone else, and if you own with a spouse whether you own the property jointly. If married, indicate if property owned:
–By the Husband (H)
–By the Wife (W)
–Jointly by husband and wife as joint tenants, tenants in common, or tenants by the entirety (J)
–Jointly by husband and wife as community property (C)
 
 
  • The estimated current value of the property. You can obtain an estimated value of real estate in a number of ways. You can go to Zillow.com and enter the property address; you can ask a real estate agent to do a “drive-by” evaluation; you can go to the Bank of America Home Value tool to get a “range” of the approximate value.
 
  • All secured claims against the property, including mortgages, home equity loans, and any liens (judgment liens, mechanic’s liens, materialmen’s lien, tax liens, etc.) on the property. If you don’t know the balance on your mortgage or home equity loan, call the lender.
 
 
  1. Some of the liens will be characterized as “Contingent” (for example, if you co-signed on a loan and you will not be liable unless the principal debtor defaults on the loan), “Unliquidated” (for example, you have a personal injury suit and your lawyer is working on a percentage basis of whatever is recovered; since you don’t know how much the amount will be it is unliquidated) or “Disputed” (if you dispute the debt itself or the amount of the debt).
 
What if I don’t know the balance on my mortgage?
You should call the lender for that information.
 
What if my house is in foreclosure?
You still list the property on Schedule A, as you still own the property until the foreclosure sale is held and a new deed is recorded with a new owner. However, you should put on the form that the house is currently in foreclosure and the date of the foreclosure sale if you know it.
 
How much equity in my home is exempt or sheltered?
The homestead exemption (the amount of equity you get to keep out of the bankruptcy estate) in Georgia is $21,500.00 for individuals, and $43,000.00 for married couples filing jointly. O.C.G.A. 44-13-100.
 
  1. List Your Personal Property on Schedule B
This form asks for information about all the personal property you own. You must list everything you own, even property that is being used as collateral for a debt and even if someone else is holding an item of property for you. For smaller items less than $50.00 you can combine them into groups. For example, you don’t have to list each hammer and screwdriver in your tool set; you can just state “tools” and give the current value as a set.
You must list each item of personal property you own, a description of the property, where it is located, if it is owned individually by you or with your spouse, and its “current value”. What is the current value of an item of property?
On this form you list:
  • Cash on hand. This includes money in your wallet, under your mattress, or in a safe deposit box. Basically it is any cold hard cash you have access to.
  • Checking and savings bank account balances and brokerage account balances. This includes C.D.s and credit union accounts.
  • Security deposits with public utilities, telephone companies, landlords and others.
  • Household goods, furniture and electronics. This includes computer equipment, TVs, stereos, etc.
  • Books, pictures, works of art, antiques, collectibles. This includes stamp and coin collections.
  • Clothes
  • Furs and jewelry
  • Firearms, sports equipment, photography and other hobby equipment. This would include things like handguns, rifles, golf clubs, tennis rackets, cameras, telescopes, etc.
  • Interests in insurance policies. You should list all life insurance policies you have an interest in, including all term policies and whole life policies, even though the only thing the Trustee is interested in is the amount of any “cash value” or “surrender value” in a whole life insurance policy you own. If you own a whole life policy and you don’t know what the cash/surrender value of the policy is, you should contact your agent, who should be able to provide you with this information. Most insurance companies also have a toll free number that you can call to get this information. Note: this form does not ask for the death benefit (face value) of the policy, just the cash or surrender value.
  • Annuities
  • Interests in education IRA or State tuition plan. (These will not be part of the bankruptcy estate, but list them anyway)
  • Retirement accounts and pension or profit sharing plans, including IRAs and ERISA
  • Stocks
  • Interests in partnerships
  • Bonds
  • Accounts receivable (If you own a business)
  • Alimony and child support you are entitled to, including amounts not paid or past due. Also list any money or property that you are to receive in any property settlement in a divorce
  • Other liquidated debts owed to you, including tax refunds. This is money you are owed that you haven’t previously entered on this form. For example, your cousin Joe may owe you $500.00, or you obtained a judgment against a company but haven’t been paid.
  • “Equitable or Future Interests”, meaning property that you don’t have possession of now but will get later. Examples would include a trust where your relative is holding property for her lifetime, then when she dies it goers to you (a “life estate”). You don’t have to list any property you already listed in Schedule A, Real Property.
  • “Contingent and non-contingent interests of any kind not previously listed” This includes personal injury, workers compensation and disability claims, in the estate of someone who has died, and interests you have in a death benefits plan, life insurance policy or trust. Basically if you are listed as a beneficiary of a trust or insurance policy, list it here. “Contingent” means you may or may not eventually get the property; “Non-contingent” means you will get the property or money, such as is the case if you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
 
Why do I have to list what I may get in someone’s will? They may change their mind and write me out of the will or maybe will not die before I do anyway.
 
Because if the person who named you in his will dies within six months of your filing for bankruptcy it becomes part of the bankruptcy estate.
 
  • All other claims not listed. List all claims that you may have against others that may end up as a lawsuit. Example: If someone ran into your car and you may sue them, list it here.
  • Patents, copyrights and other intellectual property
  • Licenses and franchises, and whther you can transfer them to someone else
  • Customer lists
  • Cars, trucks, trailers and other vehicles. Include the make, model and year of each.
 
How do I determine the current value of my car or truck?
 
If you can get to a local Carmax, drive the vehicle over there and get a written offer from them to buy your car. This can serve as evidence of its current value. You can also go to www.kelleybluebook.com and see what your car would bring if you sold it to a private person.
  • Boats, motors and accessories
  • Airplanes
  • Office equipment, office furniture, equipment and supplies used in business
  • Business inventory
  • Animals
  • Crops
  • Farming equipment
  • Farm supplies
  • Other personal property of any kind not listed. Basically, anything else you own you didn’t list already.
 
  1. List Your Property You Claim as Exempt on Schedule C
“Exempt property” means property that you get to keep in a bankruptcy. Some property you will get to keep outright; other property you may have to give up completely; and for some property you get to keep a portion of its value. In Georgia you are required to use the exemptions listed in the Georgia laws; you do not have the option of using the federal exemptions like you do in some states.
Once we have completed Schedules A and B we will be able to figure out the exemptions you are entitled to and the amounts of each; in other words, we will know what stuff you will probably be able to keep. (Some of the exemptions may be left up to the discretion of the Trustee, so we don’t know for sure on all of the exemptions, but we will have a very good idea).
Generally, in Georgia you will be able to keep the following:
  • Real Estate (Homestead): Up to $21,500 in equity if you are filing individually or up to $43,000 if filing jointly with a spouse.
  • Cars and motor vehicles: Up to $3,500 in equity ($7,000 if filing jointly)
  • Household goods, clothing, appliances, furniture, books, musical instruments, animals: up to $300 each item for a maximum exemption of $5,000 individual or $10,000 jointly
  • Jewelry: Up to $500 ($1,000 if filing jointly)
  • Tools of the trade: $1,500 ($3,000 if filing jointly)
  • Personal injury recovery up to $10,000.00.
  • Wages: 75% of earned but unpaid weekly disposable earnings, or 30 times the state or federal hourly wage, whichever is greater
  • Retirement accounts, 401K, IRAs: 100% exempt
  • Workers compensation, Disability benefits: 100% exempt
  • Social Security benefits: 100% exempt
  • Life insurance; 100% exempt
  • Alimony, Child Support: 100% exempt
  • Public benefits (public assistance, food stamps, welfare, aid to blind, Veterans benefits): 100% exempt
  • Health aids: 100% exempt
  • Wrongful death recoveries needed for support: 100% exempt
  • Wildcard: $600 of any unused property exemption and unused portion of homestead exemption up to $5,000.
 
What if I only have a little bit of equity in my house—can I use the rest of the exemption amount somewhere else in my exemptions?
 
You can use up to $5,000.00 of the unused portion of your exempt equity elsewhere in your property exemptions.
 
  1. List Your Secured Creditors on Schedule D
Here you list your secured creditors. Secured creditors are those who have a security interest in some of your property. In other words, your property is being used as collateral to secure the loan. Examples would be lenders with the following secured liens:
  • Mortgages (Georgia is a “title theory” state; the title is in the name of the lender until the mortgage is paid in full.)
  • Statutory liens (IRS tax liens against your property, Child Support lien filed by Child Support Enforcement agency)
  • “Purchase Money Security Interest” (Car loan)
  • “Non-Purchase Money Security Interest” (re-financed home loans, home equity loans, or loans from finance companies. Also collateral you put up to secure a loan, such as from a pawnbroker)
  • Garnishments (Wage garnishments)
  • Judgment liens
  • mechanics liens on your home (filed by contractors for work done on your home)
  • “Common law liens” (Landlord holding your furniture until you pay rent. This lienholder does not have the right to sell your property, just to hold onto it)
  • contingent attorney fees, such as in a pending personal injury lawsuit
  • All parties trying to collect secured debts (collection agencies and/or collection attorneys)
Since we will have already completed Schedules A and B, including lien information on your real and personal property, we will have most of the information we need to complete Schedule D. All of the secured liens listed will be characterized as “Contingent”; “Unliquidated” or “Disputed.”
  1. List Your Creditors Holding Unsecured Priority Claims
These are creditors who may be entitled to be paid first out of your non-exempt assets. These include
  1. Domestic support obligations (past due alimony and child support)
  2. If you own a business: wages, salaries and commissions owed to your employees or some independent contractors within 180 days of ceasing your business or filing the bankruptcy petition (up to $10,950 per person is priority debt)
  3. If you own a business: contributions you owe to an employee benefit fund within 180 days of ceasing your business or filing the bankruptcy petition
  4. Deposits by individuals who gave you money to buy or lease goods or services from you for personal, family or household use that you never delivered (up to $2,425.00 per person is priority debt)
  5. Back taxes or government fines (without a tax lien having been filed on any of your property)
  6. Claims against you for personal injury or death resulting from a claim of intoxication (e.g. drunk driving)
 
  1. List Your Creditors Holding Unsecured Non-priority Claims on Schedule E
This is a list of all other creditors, whether you contend you owe the debt or not, and whether you will be able to discharge the debt or not (like student loans).
  1. List Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases on Schedule G
 
An executory contract means you or the other party still have to perform acts under it. Unexpired leases are leases that are still active. Examples include:
 
  1. Car leases
  2. Apartment or home leases
  3. Real estate contracts for sale
  4. Future homeowners association fees
  5. Insurance contracts
  6. Business rental agreements
  7. Service and business contracts
  8. Time-share contracts
  9. Equipment leases
 
  1. List Any Co-Debtors on Schedule H
List all co-debtors and the debts they are jointly responsible for with you.
  1. Calculate Your Actual Current Monthly Income in Schedule I
Here you list your actual current monthly income (not your average monthly income in the 6 months before you file like you did in Schedule 22A/Means Test.) In other words, what are you making now? We will need your paycheck stubs and if you own a business your recent books entries, to fill out this schedule. This Schedule asks for:
  1. Marital status
  2. Employer information and your occupation
  3. Gross monthly gross pay and all deductions (withholding from your paycheck for taxes, Social Security and Medicare, etc.)
  4. Dependants (kids or others you or your spouse provide over 50% of support to)
  5. If you own a business, income from that business. You must attach a detailed statement showing the income. An IRS tax for “Schedule C” should be used if available. If your business income has been steady for the past year you can divide the amount you entered on the most recent tax form Schedule C by 12 for the amount to enter. If unsteady, enter the average monthly gross income over the past 3 months.
  6. Average monthly income from real property
  7. Interest and dividends
  8. Alimony or child support you receive each month
  9. Social Security or government assistance you receive each month. These include social security checks, SSI, public assistance, disability, Veteran’s benefits, unemployment, workers compensation, and food stamps.
  10. Pension or retirement income
You will then need to put if you expect to make a lot less or a lot more income in the coming year. For example, if you know you will be laid off soon, you can explain that fact here.
  1. List Your Current Expenditures on Schedule J
How much do you spend each month, and on what? You will list:
  1. Rent or mortgage payment
  2. Utilities (including power, water, gas, internet and cable tv)
  3. Home maintenance and repair
  4. Food
  5. Clothing
  6. Laundry
  7. Medical and dental expenses
  8. Transportation (not including car payments)
  9. Recreation, clubs and entertainment
  10. Charitable contributions
  11. Insurance (not deducted from wages or paid in the monthly mortgage payment) for homeowners, life, health, and auto
  12. Taxes (not deducted from wages or included in monthly mortgage payments)
  13. Installment payments. Enter payments you are making on any secured debt only (not credit cards). This would include car payments, furniture payments, but not mortgage payments.
  14. Alimony or child support you pay out each month
  15. Payments for support of additional dependants not living at your home
  16. If you own a business, regular business expenses. (You will need to attach a detailed statement such as a Schedule C tax form)
 
 
  1. Complete Statement of Financial Affairs on Form B-7
This form asks for all of your recent financial transaction, like payments to creditors and other transfers of property or gifts to others. Enter:
  1. Income from employment or operation of a business. (Here we go again, right?). This time enter the gross income from this year and for the previous two years. We will use a “three year insert” in our software to complete this question.
  2. Income from sources other than employment or running a business. These include stock dividends, interest, and government benefits of any kind.
  3. Recent payments to creditors. There are two kinds of creditors for purposes of this question: “regular” creditors and “insider” creditors. An insider is a relative or close business associate. First, list payments to regular creditors of $600 or more made to repay a loan or other debt within the last 90 days before filing the Petition. Then list all payments to insider creditors in the past year, including alimony and child support.
  4. Lawsuits (including personal injury, workers compensation and divorce proceedings), administrative proceedings, executions, garnishments and attachments. If any of your property was taken from you pursuant to a court order within the past year, enter the relevant information here.
  5. Repossessions, foreclosures and returns within the past year. This includes car repos and home mortgage foreclosures.
  6. Assignments and Receiverships. If you have assigned any future money to someone else (for example, a portion of a personal injury award to an attorney) in the last 120 days, list it here. For receiverships, list all of your property that has been in the hands of a court appointed official during the year before filing the Petition.
  7. List all charitable donation of more than $100 and gifts to family of more than $200.
  8. List losses from fire, theft and gambling.
  9. Payments related to debt counseling or bankruptcy. This includes bankruptcy attorney fees paid.
  10. Other transfers. List all property you have sold or given to someone within the past two years.
  11. Closed financial accounts. Accounts you closed in the past year.
  12. Safe deposit boxes
  13. This is when a creditor like a bank takes money from your checking account by “freezing” it to pay off a separate loan.
  14. Property held for another person. This includes property you are keeping for another person (e.g. letting someone keep his car in your garage) or money you are handling as a trustee in a trust for the benefit of someone else.
  15. Prior addresses
  16. Spouses and former spouses
  17. If you own a business or ran a business within the past 6 years, list the type of business, location and name of the businesses here.
  18. If you have owned a business within the past 6 years, list the bookkeepers and accountants who have done or audited your books or who currently have possession of your books. Also provide a list of any Financial Statements you made in the past two years to any bank or financial institution.
  19. If you have a business that deals in products and any inventories were done, provide information about the last two inventories.
 
  1. Complete the Individual Debtor’s Statement of Intention on Form B-8
This form ask you what you want to do about your property that is security for a debt, such as your car you are paying on, what to do about any executor contracts such as timeshares or active leases. What do you want to do about the collateral? You indicate if you will surrender the property or retain it. If you retain it you indicate if you will redeem the property or reaffirm the debt.
Basically, you have the option to reaffirm the debt; redeem the debt; or voluntarily surrender the collateral. If you reaffirm the debt you agree to be liable for the full debt even after filing bankruptcy. If you redeem the debt you agree to buy the collateral at its replacement value. If you voluntarily surrender the collateral you give it up to the bankruptcy Trustee.
For car leases you can indicate if you want to assume the lease or walk away from it.
 
  1. SUMMARY OF SCHEDULES
This form is a summary of all of the Schedules you have completed. This form will auto-fill from all of the information you have provided us in answering the questions so far.
 
  1. FORM B-6: DECLARATION CONCERNING DEBTOR’S SCHEDULES
 
This form is simply a declaration signed by you, the debtor, affirming that the information you have provided is true.
 
  1. FORM B-23: DEBTOR’S CERTIFICATION OF COMPLETION OF PERSONAL FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT COURSE
 
This confirms that you have taken a two-hour course in financial management. You take this course after you have filed the Petition but before the discharge, and no later than 60 days after the first setting of the 341 Hearing.. The same types of companies that offer credit counseling usually provide this course as well.
 
You file this form with the court, along with a Certificate of completion from the counseling agency.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
F.A.Q.
Should I file for bankruptcy?
First, what kind of debts do you have? Are they mostly dischargeable or non-dischargeable? If mostly dischargeable debts and you want creditor activity (garnishment; repossession; lawsuits, etc.) to stop, and/or you want to re-establish credit, then probably yes.
If most of your debts are non-dischargeable (back child support and alimony; divorce decree related debts; student loans; tax arrearages; DUI judgments) or can be objected to by creditors (debt from fraudulent or criminal transactions; recent luxury items; intentional torts) then maybe not.
If you are judgment proof and don’t want to rebuild your credit, then maybe not. If you live simply, have no non-exempt property and can live off of 75% of your wages, then maybe not. (But, interest on the debts continue to accrue exponentially.) If you have forgiven debts, of $600 or more the creditor sends you a 1099 and you pay tax on them.
What is the Automatic Stay?
Filing bankruptcy triggers the Automatic Stay. It stops creditor collections, including phone calls, letters, car repos, lawsuits, home foreclosure and wage garnsihments. Creditors cannot file a lawsuit, record a lien against your property, report a debt to a credit bureau or seize a bank account. Utilities (gas, electric, water, phone) cannot be cut off for 20 days after you file. You have to make a deposit, though, to prevent a cutoff after that.
The A.S. will NOT stop: family law related proceedings (divorce, child support, custody, etc) or IRS conducting a tax audit, issuaing a tax deficiency notice or demanding payment of a tax assessment.
Evictions (p 43)
 
 
 
 
 
Petition:
  1. Form 1: Voluntary Petition. P.1
  • Court name: Northern District of Georgia
  • Name(s) of debtor and joint debtor: Last, first, middle.
Should you file jointly?
  • All other names used by debtors (in past 8 years): Includes sole proprietorships trade names d/b/a. Any names you may have used with any creditor.
  • Last 4 digits of SS#:
  • Street address (Not P.O. Box)
  • County of Residence
  • Mailing address if different from street address
  • Location of Principal Assets of Business Debtor: Leave blank
  • Type of Debtor: Individual
  • Nature of Business:
Healthcare (Assisted Living) Single Asset Real Estate (If you make all your money from one property with over 4 units); Railroad; stockbroker; commodity broker; clearing bank; other)
  • Chapter of BK Code: Chapter 7
  • Chapter 15 Debtors: Leave blank
  • Tax Exempt Entity: Leave blank
  • Nature of Debts: Are most Consumer or Business? (When in doubt, check business)
  • Filing Fee: Full Fee attached; Filing Fee To Be Paid In Installments; or Waiver Requested
  • Chapter 11 Debtors: Leave blank
  • Statistical/Administrative Information: Debtor estimates that after exempt property is excluded and administrative expenses paid, that extra funds WILL or WILL NOT be available to pay unsecured creditors. Check boxes indicating estimated number of creditors, estimated assets, estimated liabilities. If unsure, complete Schedules A, B and C first.
  • P2: Debtor names (Last, first, middle)
  • All prior BK filings in past 8 years. (A BK in past bars new filing for 8 years. If previous BK was dismissed for cause in past 180 days, may have to wait or accept that some debts will not be discharged.)
  • Pending BK case filed by any spouse, partner or affiliate. Affiliate refers to related business; partner to business partner
 
 
EXHIBITS:
 
  • EXHIBIT A (leave blank)
 
  • EXHIBIT B. Attorney certifies he has explained chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13 and has delivered debtor Notice required by 11 USC 342 (b)
 
  • EXHIBIT C: List potentially dangerous property (explosives)
 
  • EXHIBIT D: This is a Debtor’s Statement of Compliance with Credit Counseling requirement. Sign and date the Exhibit and submit with Petition. (If joint, each spouse must submit one). Check the box that applies:
 
*Within 180 days before filing you did the CC and got a Certificate;
*You went to CC but didn’t get a Certificate (must get one and file it within 14 days after Petition is filed);
*You tried but 7 days have gone by and you cant get an appt.
*You don’t have to go because you are incapacitated, disabled or active military; or
*The Trustee said you didn’t have to go (rare).
  • Information Regarding the Debtor—Venue. Check box that you have lived in the District for 180 days immediately preceding filing or lived here for a longer part of the last 180 days than any other district.
  • Certification by a Debtor Who Resides as a Tenant of Residential Property. Asks if Landlord has judgment against debtor. (Has been evicted). If so, put name of landlord, and say if you have the money to catch up on rent. Include the deposit and certify you have given landlord notice.
  • Signatures of debtors and Attorney.
 
FORM 6 (SCHEDULES):
  • SCHEDULE A: Real Property
 
–Name(s) of debtors
–Case number (If you filed an emergency filing, put case #)
–Description and location of property: (House, farm, lot, 123 Main Street, Atl 30303) (If in foreclosure, enter info about circumstances)
–Nature of Debtor’s Interest in property:
 
  1. Fee Simple (outright ownership)
  2. Life Estate (Interest terminates at death)
  3. Future Interest (Will own property in future pursuant to terms of a deed or irrevocable trust, not a will or living trust)
  4. Contingent Interest (Will own property upon certain conditions. Can be in a will)
  5. Lienholder (You have a lien on someone else’s property)
  6. Easement Holder (You have a right to travel or use someone elses property)
  7. Power of Appointment (You can appoint property to someone else, given to you in a will or transfer of property.)
  8. Beneficial Ownership under a real estate contract. (You have a house or property under contract)
–Husband, Wife, Joint or Community (Owned by whom? Husband alone, wife alone, jointly by both as joint tenants; tenants in common, or tenants by the entirety; or by H and W as community property)
–Current Value. Fair market value
–Amount of Secured Claim: Each mortgage amount; deed of trust, home equity loan; liens (judgment/mechanics/materialmens/tax, etc) that is claimed against the property.
–Enter Totals
 
  • SCHEDULE B: Personal Property
 
1 through 35 itemizing all of your cash and stuff
 
  • SCHEDULE C: Property Claimed as Exempt
 
 
  • SCHEDULE D: Creditors Holding Secured Claims
 
  • SCHEDULE E: Creditors Holding Unsecured Priority Claims
 
 
*Domestic Support Obligations
*Extension of credit (leave blank)
*Wages, salary and Commissions: You owe employees or Independent Contractors with certain conditions
*Contribution to employee benefits plans for your employees
*Certain farmers or fisherman (blank if n/a)
*Deposits by Individuals, who paid you for personal, family or household goods or services that you haven’t delivered on. The fist $2,425 is a priority debt.
*Taxes and other govt debt. (Unpaid back taxes or fines, but if IRS recorded a lien then it is secured debt on Schedule D)
*Commitments to maintain capital…(Blank)
*Claims for death or p.i. while debtor intoxicated (DUI claims)
 
  • SCHEDULE F: Creditors Holding Unsecured Nonpriority Claims
*ALL other creditors, even if nondischargeable. (Student loans, credit cards
 
  • SCHEDULE G: Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
*List contracts still current (executor) where you owe something under the K
*Unexpired leases, e.g. car leases; house or office leases; contracts for sale of property; HOA fee requirements
  • SCHEDULE H: Co-debtors
*List co-debtors, even if listed before
*List spouses who lived with you in community property states (Alaska; Arizona; Cal.; Idaho; LA.; Nev, NM, Tx, Washngtn; Wisconsin) within 8 years of filing.
 
  • SCHEDULE I: Current Income of Individual Debtors
*Use stubs for current income
 
  • SCHEDULE J: Current Expenditures of Individual Debtors
 
  • SUMMARY OF SCHEDULES A THROUGH J
 
 
  • STATISTICAL SUMMARIES OF CERTAIN LIABILITIES
 
  • DECLARATION CONCERNING DEBTOR’S SCHEDULES
 
  • FORM 7: STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
Itemizes what you have earned and paid out to tothers in past calendar year plus previous 2 years.
  • FORM 8: CHAPTER 7 INDIVIDUAL DEBTOR’S STATEMENT OF INTENTION
If you will Surrender or Retain the property, and if you  redeem or reaffirm the retained property.
  • FORM 21: STATEMENT OF SS NUMBER
  • FORM 22A: STATEMENT OF CURRENT MONTHLY INCOME AND MEANS-TEST CALCULATION
  • FORM 23: CERTIFICATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL COURSE ON FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
  • FORM 201: NOTICE TO CONSUMER DEBTORS UNDER 342 (b) OF THE BANKRUPTCY CODE
  • MAILING MATRIX
  • LOCAL FORMS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BANKRUPTCY CHAPTER 7 INTAKE
 
Name _______________________________________________________________________
Phone Numbers ______________________________________________________________
  1. Have you ever filed bankruptcy before? Yes _____ No ______
  2. If Yes, when did you file and was it a 7 or 13? ______________________________
 
  1. Are you: married _______ single ________
If married, is your spouse going to file with you? Yes ____ No ____ Don’t Know ___
 
  1. Do you own your home? Yes _____ No _____
 
If Yes,
 
Monthly mortgage payment $____________
Behind on mortgage? Yes ____ No ______
If yes, how far behind are you? $_________________
Is the home in foreclosure? Yes ___ No _________
 
How much is owed on your 1st mortgage? $___________________
If 2nd mortgage, how much is owed on that? $_____________________
 
Approximate Home Value: $______________
 
If No,
 
How much is your rent? __________________
Are you behind on rent? ______________________
Are you being evicted?________________________
 
  1. Do you own a car, truck or boat? _______________
 
If yes,
 
Vehicle #1: Year ________ Make/Model ____________________
Monthly payment $_______________________
Behind on payments? Yes ___ No ___ If yes, how far behind? ________________
Vehicle being repossessed? Yes _____ No ________
 
Vehicle #2 Year ________ Make/Model ____________________
Monthly Car Payment $ ___________________
Behind on car payments? Yes ___ No ___ If yes, how far behind? ____________
Vehicle being repossessed? Yes _____ No ______
 
  1. Total credit card debt $__________________________________
  2. Total past due medical bills $______________________________
  3. Tax debts owed to IRS: $__________________________________
  4. Tax debts owed to Ga. Dept. of Revenue $____________________
  5. Other debts: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
  1. How many people live in your household? _______
 
  1. Are you employed? Yes _____ No _____ If no, how long unemployed? ____________
  2. Spouse employed? Yes ______ No _____ If no, how long unemployed? ___________
 
  1. What is your annual income (from all sources, including unemployment, business income, etc.) ? ____________________
Spouse’s annual income: $__________________________
 
———————————————————————————————————-