First off, thanks for purchasing our software from! Getting a discharge for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a very difficult process, and we hope to get you familiar with what to expect so you can make an educated choice on whether to proceed. It is strongly suggested that you read the following pages BEFORE you begin filling out the forms. It will take about 15 minutes, and you will be prepared for the many upcoming questions you may have.


TITLE What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Quick References Filling Out the Forms The “Players” and Where to File Bankruptcy Timelines The Forms Organizing Your Completed File

PAGE NUMBER 2 2 3 4 5-6 7 - 10 11

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Bankruptcy is Federal Law, and takes precedent over any state and local court cases you may have. One of the primary purposes of bankruptcy is to discharge certain debts to give an honest individual debtor a "fresh start." The debtor has no liability for discharged debts. In a chapter 7 case, however, a discharge is only available to individual debtors, not to partnerships or corporations. Although an individual chapter 7 case usually results in a discharge of debts, the right to a discharge is not absolute, and some types of debts are not discharged. Moreover, a bankruptcy discharge does not extinguish a lien on property. There is much more information to the specifics of Chapter 7 bankruptcy provided by the US Courts website here: We have described a lot the information from that website in our own words below, but that link is good to have for further reference later.


The US Courts website provides a “Bankruptcy Basics” video tutorial to familiarize you with the process. You are encouraged to watch the videos, here: In rare cases, the court asks for additional forms not included by our product. If they do, you can download them from their website here: We are not allowed to give legal advice. We understand that money is probably VERY TIGHT for you right now, and consulting a lawyer may not be an option for you. If you need to find an answer to a legal question and you don’t know where to go, try your City or County Legal Law Library (it will more than likely be somewhere near the courthouse) and consult the book, “How To File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” by NOLO. That is the book that nearly every lawyer that would file your case refers to. If you’d rather not visit the Law Library, NOLO sells the book in a downloadable e-format for $25.99. If you wanted to buy the book for your reference, the link is here:

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We have included a 79-page .pdf document, which includes 18 forms that you will need to fill out. There are a lot of “like fields” that our software is designed to transfer over, so once you get about halfway done, the rest of the forms are close to filling themselves out. 79 pages seems like a lot, and, in fact, you will more than likely not use them all. For example, there is a form called “Schedule F”, where you fill in all the information for your unsecured debt (most people would use this form for medical bills and credit card debt). That form is 7 pages long, and has space for 34 different creditors. Chances are you don’t have 34 different credit cards, so you won’t need all the pages. So, you can see, when you’re done, you’ll probably be submitting less than 79 pages. So, how long will this take to fill out? Well, if you already have all your bills in order and ready to enter on the forms, and if you already have all your assets/property itemized and ready to enter on the forms, and if you already have taken the required Credit Counseling course (if not, we’ll show you how) this should take you between four and five hours (it takes us about 90 minutes, but we are very familiar with all the questions). You don’t have to do this all in one day (in fact, you probably shouldn’t); you can finish part of this and just save on your computer and finish the next part(s) at another time. These forms will not be accepted, unless you have already completed a mandatory Credit Counseling course, and submit a certificate from an accredited provider with the forms. THAT sounds intimidating! It’s not. These approved providers can be found at the following link: If you pick one, you should be able to take a “no-fail” 60 minute course online. Then you can schedule a counselor to call you for any further questions that you may have. If you have no questions, the counselor should then email you your certificate. It is very no-pressure, and these companies generally charge about $30 for their services. There is a fee waiver available, which is explained on their website and in our forms. Your goal is to get as much (or all) of your debt wiped out. The legal term for that is “discharged”. That is not to be confused with “dismissed”. Dismissed would mean that the judge IS NOT wiping out any of your debt, probably because of incomplete paperwork, fraud, or failure to complete all the necessary steps in the process. So, “discharged” = good, “dismissed” = bad. Before you start the forms, we’d like to get you familiar with the actual bankruptcy process. There are many steps from start to finish, and you need to follow them in order. Although filling these forms out properly is about 75% of the work that needs to be done, there are other things that can hinder you getting a discharge.

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Once you have received your Credit Counseling Certificate finished filling out the forms, you’ll be dealing with THREE different entities from the bankruptcy court. None can give you legal advice (that’s why most people end up hiring a lawyer). They are: Court Clerk: This is the person that you will give all your paperwork to. He/she will file for you, and return any copies to you (you want to make at least one copy of every page for yourself, in case you get questioned about it at your “Meeting of Creditors” described below). If you have omitted some paperwork when you initially file, the clerk will let you know by mail. Bankruptcy Trustee: This person reviews all your paperwork, and, once you have filed for bankruptcy, he/she is in charge of all your assets and debts. He/she can have the ability to look at your bank accounts/auto registration records/home ownership records. If you file something on your forms that doesn’t “look right” or you leave something out he/she has the ability to freeze your bank accounts until you give him/her an explanation. While a minor error can be forgiven, don’t try and “pull a fast one”, (including cleaning out all your bank accounts right before you file for bankruptcy) because the Trustee will know. After you file, the Trustee will probably ask you for a copy of some pertinent information, such as bank statements for the last couple of months, paycheck stubs, and last year’s tax form. About 40 days after you file for bankruptcy, you will have a “Meeting of Creditors” with this person, and you will have to answer to any inconsistencies. If you make things simple for the Trustee, your case will run smoothly. Bankruptcy Judge: This is the person that will give all the orders in your case, but you will rarely, if ever, have any contact with him/her. He/she usually signs off on what is requested by the Bankruptcy Trustee. To find out the location of your Bankruptcy Court, go to this site : click on the “Bankruptcy Court” button and enter your zip code. In addition, there are: Creditors: Everyone you owe money to, including corporations (credit cards, medical bills, mortgages, car loans) and individuals (Uncle Joe, who you borrowed $5000 from). Debtor: YOU. One thing that you must be aware of in this process is that everyone you deal with will assume that you don’t know what you are doing until you prove otherwise. There will initially be a bias against you because you are not a lawyer. However, if you submit complete, easy-to-understand forms (which we have set up for you), meet all your deadlines for counseling, and show up for all your court dates, you will quickly gain their respect. If you can gain that respect, one or two small errors in your forms will be forgiven. In short, common sense will get you pretty far.

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DAY ZERO. Today. You have completed your Credit Counseling online yesterday (or before), and you have just completed the forms. You are all set to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. DAY 1: Tomorrow, you go to the Bankruptcy Court in your area, and file the necessary paperwork with the Court Clerk. If you are not filing for a “fee waiver” you will need to bring $306 cash or money order with you. Bring your forms, AND BRING ONE COPY OF EACH FORM FOR THE CLERK TO STAMP FOR YOUR RECORDS! You will receive a receipt with your case number, Trustee, “Meeting of Creditors” date, and assigned Judge on it. It is important to remember that information. You have essentially turned all your assets and bills over to the Bankruptcy Trustee. You are starting a clock on a whole bunch of things, described below. DAY 2: The “Bankruptcy Stay” begins. One of the forms you filled out is the “Creditor Matrix”, which just creates a bunch of mailing labels that the Court Clerk will mail to all your creditors. The creditors will be notified by mail of the “stay”, and are required, by law, to leave you alone (unless the judge orders otherwise) until the end of your case. If you have any pending judgements hearings against you, they should be postponed or cancelled pending your bankruptcy case. If for some reason you still get calls from certain creditors, just KINDLY let them know your bankruptcy case number and they should leave you alone (although they may ask you to fill out a page or so of paperwork for their records). Note: Your creditors can apply for a “Removal of Automatic Stay”, and if granted, can begin collections on you. It is common for a lender on your home to apply for this. If they apply for that removal, it does not happen automatically--there will be a court date (usually about 30 days out) to decide on the removal with the bankruptcy judge, and you will be notified of the date by mail. DAY 3: You MAY get something in the mail called an “Order To File Required Documents – Notice Re: Automatic Dismissal”. If you forgot to file a document, this is how you’ll be notified. You will normally be given 14 days from the time this was mailed to submit the required form, or your case will be dismissed (remember, “dismissed” = bad). If you cannot file the document within the 14 day timeframe, you CAN type up a request for more time (just a standard letter in Microsoft Word), and file that with the court clerk. Note: It is YOUR responsibility to fill the forms out correctly. The “Order To File Required Documents” only lets you know if required documents are missing, NOT if they are accurate. If you have filed something inaccurately (for example, leaving out certain creditors on your “Schedule F”), it is to your advantage to go back at some point with the corrected form as soon as you can. DAY 4 – 40: If you have done everything correctly on Day 1, there is a lot of waiting around while the Trustee reviews your paperwork and records. Since you’ve filed for bankruptcy, all these companies that you deal with financially will assume you’ve hired a lawyer, and if you want to contact them, you’re initially going to have trouble (they will refer all your questions to your lawyer). You need to let them know you’ve filed “in pro se” (meaning representing yourself), and they may require something in writing from you stating such.

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DAY 15 OR SO: You will get a letter from the Bankruptcy Trustee requesting documents such at last year’s tax forms, recent paycheck stubs, mortgage statements, and bank statements. Have them ready. DAY 40 (OR SO): This is your “Meeting of Creditors” date, which you originally saw on your receipt when you filed for bankruptcy. All the paperwork that you are going to submit should have already been submitted before this date. If your case has not been dismissed up to this point, it is a very good sign. In theory, all of your creditors will show up and make a case why they should be paid part of your assets. This meeting sounds very intimidating, but if you have done everything correctly thus far, you already know how it is going to end. First, if all your creditors are corporations, chances are none of them will show up. You and the Trustee will be in a room with about 10 other people that are also filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and, because you are filing “in pro se”, you will probably go last. You’ll notice the other cases last about 5 minutes each. If you have filed everything right, you should already know what property you will be allowed to keep (hopefully all of it), and you’ll only have to answer a few simple questions and then you’re done. If there are any inconsistencies, you will have to answer them here. THAT’S WHY YOU NEEDED TO MAKE COPIES OF YOUR ORIGINAL FILING ON DAY ONE. Note: There are a lot of people that file “in pro se” and the Trustee is used to seeing sloppy work from them. If yours is done neatly, your Trustee should find you in compliance and your meeting should only last a few minutes. DAY 41-85: You will have to pass your Financial Management online class, and file the certificate with Official form 23 with the Court Clerk. Official form 23 can be found here: Here is the link to the Court Approved Debtor Education providers that you would contact AFTER YOUR MEETING OF CREDITORS: If you have a mortgage or other secured loan, you may have a court date for the “Removal of Automatic Stay”. If you are looking to extend the Automatic Stay, you can argue your case there. We cannot provide advice on how to extend the Automatic Stay, however, you should go to this case if, for nothing else, to explain your intentions to the Judge and creditor. DAY 41-100: Even if your creditors did not attend the “Meeting of Creditors”, they still have 60 days to claim part of your remaining assets in writing. Very strong chances are, they won’t. If they do, it will be in writing, and the Trustee will make a decision. DAY 101: If your creditors have not contacted the Trustee by the 60th day after your meeting of creditors, your case is up for discharge on Day 61 (remember, “discharge” = good). Unless there are inconsistencies in your paperwork or you have missed a meeting or your education classes, expect a discharge somewhere around here. YOU WILL KNOW in advance if there is something else that you need to do, but you may want to call the Trustee and Court Clerk once just to make sure. DAY 101: Hopefully, that was easy. You should receive your discharge paperwork in the mail about 3 days after your discharge. Your discharge papers are important in case you want to establish credit with someone. If you need them sooner that those 3 days, you can go to the Court Clerk and pick them up.

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Chances are that you probably want to know what these forms actually are that you are filling out. This section will give a brief explanation of each. NOTE: Our 73-page file has 18 forms, and they are not in standard order. The reason for that is for ease in carrying over “like-fields” so you won’t have to do things like type you name and address several times or make the same mathematical calculations over and over. The final section will discuss in what order to organize the forms for submission to the Court Clerk. “THE MEANS TEST” This is the first form, and you’ll see the official name in the top left corner: B 22A (Official Form 22A) (Chapter 7) (4/10) This is the form used by the Bankruptcy Court System to officially find out if you qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. After you fill out the first 15 questions, you may be directed back up to the top of the form to check the “The presumption does not arise” box. If that is the case, you DO qualify for Chapter 7. “STATEMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY” This is a simple one page form where you are just stating the Social Security Number to the Court. “VOLUNTARY PETITION” This is the actual form where a debtor “declares bankruptcy”. There are many basic questions to this form such as your name and address, what Chapter you are filing under (in your case, Chapter 7), and there are places for an attorney or petition preparer to sign (neither of which you will be using). You will declare in this form that you have included “Exhibit “D” (which is your Credit Counseling form), and you will sign and date the fourth page. “EXHIBIT D” This is the form that goes along with your Credit Counseling certificate. Each person filing must fill out their own “Exhibit D”. We have included two of them, in case you were filing jointly – one for the husband and one for the wife. “SCHEDULE A – REAL PROPERTY” The official name is form B6A. Real property = real estate. List the information on all real estate owned, regardless of whether you owe more than it is currently worth. If you have an equity line from a former house that had been foreclosed on by a first mortgage, enter that here as well, just to be safe. If your home has already been foreclosed on, the current value is $0. Otherwise, give an accurate estimate of the value of the home today. “SCHEDULE B – PERSONAL PROPERTY” The official name is form B6B. This form has a list of possessions (cars, bank accounts, clothes, appliances, etc.) that you may own. Be very complete, itemize, and give a value for each property.

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“SCHEDULE C – EXEMPTIONS” The official name is form B6C. This is the one form that will vary widely from state to state. While bankruptcy is Federal Law, the “Exemptions” (the stuff you get to keep out of the stuff you said you owned in Schedules A and B), is determined by the laws created in your particular state. Naturally, you want to “exempt” everything. To do that, you need to state specific laws for the Trustee to justify your exemptions. You want to make sure you read the Sticky Notes on the page, and make sure that you find your state law exemptions. They are located on our website in a link with the following format: where, for example, if you lived in Oregon, would be: YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COMPLETE THIS FORM WITHOUT GOING TO THE PROPER LINK FOR YOUR STATE BANKRUPTCY EXEMPTION LAWS.

“SCHEDULE D – CREDITOR’S HOLDING SECURED CLAIMS” The official name is form B6D. On this form, you would list all your secured creditors (credit that is backed by collateral). Typically, this would be home mortgages and car loans.

“SCHEDULE E – CREDITORS HOLDING UNSECURED, PRIORITY CLAIMS” The official name is form B6E. This form is filled out to show claims that have a priority to be paid despite the bankruptcy. It is explained fully in the forms, and includes, child support, payments to employees, and taxes (among many other things). Even if you DO NOT have any of these creditors, the first two pages of this form must be filed.

“SCHEDULE F – CREDITORS HOLDING UNSECURED, NON-PRIORITY CLAIMS” The official name is form B6F. This is the form in which you are probably entering the most information. These creditors are primarily credit card debt and medical bills.

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“VERIFICATION OF CREDITOR MATRIX” The first page of this form is a cover page that just needs your signature. After that, the rest of the form should be auto-populated from the information that you provided in Schedules D, E and F. This is just a list of creditors names and addresses that the Court Clerk will scan to make mailing labels. With those mailing labels, your creditors will be notified that you have filed for bankruptcy and the “Automatic Stay” process has begun.

“SCHEDULE G – EXECUTORY CONTRACTS AND UNEXPIRED LEASES” The official name is form B6G. If you have any of these, enter them on this form. Most people do not. If you do not, don’t forget to check the box stating that.

“SCHEDULE H – CODEBTORS” The official name is form B6H. Has anyone co-signed on a loan for you? Enter their information and the creditor information for that loan on this page.

“SCHEDULE I - CURRENT INCOME OF INDIVIDUAL DEBTOR(S)” The official name is form B6I. Your current income information is entered here.

“SCHEDULE J - CURRENT EXPENDITURES OF INDIVIDUAL DEBTOR(S)” The official name is form B6J. Your current expenses information is entered here.

“SUMMARY OF SCHEDULES” The official name is form B6. This form totals all the information in Schedules A – J. Other than a short table on the 2nd page of this form, this form should be auto-populated for you.

“APPLICATION FOR WAIVER OF THE CHAPTER 7 FILING FEE” This is in a separate file (because not everyone using our software will use it) and should be filled out by hand.

“DECLARATION CONCERNING DEBTOR'S SCHEDULES” Only a signature is required on this form.

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“STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL AFFAIRS” So, you’re getting close to the end, and then this. This is a long questionnaire about your financial affairs in the time leading up to filing for bankruptcy. Answer honestly, a lot of these answers can be checked by the Bankruptcy Trustee. If the Trustee suspects you are being dishonest, he/she can request a lot more of your records (like a full year’s worth of bank statements) before your case can be “discharged”.

“CHAPTER 7 INDIVIDUAL DEBTOR'S STATEMENT OF INTENTION” If you owe a creditor on a home loan or car loan, the Trustee wants to know what you plan on doing going forward. Are you planning to let the lender foreclose on your home (or repossess your car) or do you want to pay the lender and keep that possession? If you want to keep paying on the loan, you want to “Reaffirm the Debt” here. The Trustee and Judge will look at your request and see if that is feasible. IF YOU DO NOT SUBMIT THIS FORM, THERE WILL BE AN ASSUMPTION THAT YOU WILL WANT TO “SURRENDER” THE PROPERTY BACK TO THE LENDER.

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Once you have filled out all the forms, you are ALMOST ready to go to the bankruptcy court and file with the Court Clerk. Remember though, our forms are not in the order that the clerk needs them in. You’ll need to remove all the pages that you did not use, and organize the rest of the forms in this order: 1) Application for Waiver of the Chapter 7 Filing Fee (if applicable) 2) Voluntary Petition 2a. “Exhibit D” from Voluntary Petition with Credit Counseling Certificate (two separate sheets and two separate Certificates if filing jointly) 3) Statement of Social Security 4) Creditor Matrix cover sheet, with the pages of creditor names and addresses afterwards 5) Means Test 6) Summary of Schedules 7) Schedule A 8) Schedule B 9) Schedule C 10) Schedule D 11) Schedule E 12) Schedule F 13) Schedule G 14) Schedule H 15) Schedule I 16) Schedule J 17) Statement of Financial Affairs 18) Statement of Intention (if applicable)

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