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Disclosures required under section 527 and 342 of the bankruptcy abuse prevention and consumer protection act of 2005.
We are a debt relief agency and the notices and disclosures set forth in these documents are being provided to you pursuant to section 527 of the Bankruptcy Code. The purposes of these notices and disclosures are:
- to make you aware of the various debt relief options that may be available to you;
- to make you aware of the duties and obligations that are required of persons who file bankruptcy cases;
- to make you aware of the various types of bankruptcy cases that may be available to you;
- to make you aware of the costs and fees (including attorneys’ fees) that will be incurred should you decide to file a bankruptcy case.
In accordance with Section 342(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, this notice:
- Describes briefly the services available from credit counseling services;
- Describes briefly the purposes, benefits and costs of the four types of bankruptcy proceedings that may be available to you;
- Informs you about bankruptcy crimes and notifies you that the United States Attorney General may examine all information you supply in connection with a bankruptcy case. You are cautioned that bankruptcy law is complicated and not easily described. Thus, you may wish to seek the advice of an attorney to learn of your rights and responsibilities should you decide to file a bankruptcy case. Court employees are not permitted to give you legal advice.
Services Available from Credit Counseling Agencies
With only limited exceptions, Section 109(h) of the Bankruptcy Code requires that all individual debtors who file for bankruptcy relief receive a briefing that outlines the available opportunities for credit counseling and provides assistance in performing a budget analysis. The briefing must be given within 180 days before the bankruptcy case is filed. The briefing may be provided individually or in a group (including briefings conducted by telephone or on the Internet) and must be provided by a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency approved by the United States trustee or bankruptcy administrator. The clerk of the bankruptcy court has a list of the approved budget and credit counseling agencies and this list is available to you.
In addition, after filing a bankruptcy case, most individual debtors must complete a financial management instructional course before he or she can receive a bankruptcy discharge. The clerk has a list of approved financial management instructional courses and this list is available to you.
- Chapter 7 is designed for debtors in financial difficulty who do not have the ability to pay their existing debts. Debtors whose debts are primarily consumer debts are subject to a “means test” designed to determine whether the case should be permitted to proceed under chapter 7. If your income is greater than the median income for your state of residence and family size, creditors may have the right to file a motion requesting that your case be dismissed as an abuse of chapter 7. It is up to the court to decide whether the case should be dismissed.
- Under chapter 7, you may claim certain of your property as exempt under governing law. A trustee may have the right to take possession of and sell the remaining property that is not exempt and use the sale proceeds to pay your creditors and other expenses.
- The purpose of filing a chapter 7 case is to obtain a discharge of your existing debts. If, however, you are found to have committed certain kinds of improper conduct described in the Bankruptcy Code, the court may deny your discharge and, if it does, the purpose for which you filed the bankruptcy case will be defeated.
- Even if you receive a chapter 7 discharge, certain type of debts are by law not dischargeable. Therefore, after the case you will still be liable for most tax debts and student loan debts; debts incurred to pay nondischargeable taxes; domestic support and property settlement obligations; most fines, penalties, forfeitures, and criminal restitution obligations; debts which are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers; and debts for death or personal injury caused by operating a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. Also, if a creditor can prove that a debt arose from fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, or theft, or from a willful and malicious injury, the bankruptcy court may determine that the debt is not discharged by your chapter 7 discharge.
- Chapter 13 is designed for individuals with regular income who would like to pay all or part of their debts in installments over a 3 to 5 year period. To be eligible for chapter 13 your debts must not exceed the dollar amounts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code.
- Under chapter 13, you must file with the court a plan to repay your creditors all or part of the money that you owe them, using your future earnings. The period allowed by the court to repay your debts may be three years or as long as five years, depending upon your income and other factors. The court must approve your plan before it can take effect.
- After completing the payments under your plan, all of your debts will be discharged except debts for domestic support obligations; most student loans; certain taxes; most criminal fines and restitution obligations; debts which are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers; debts for acts that caused death or personal injury; and long term debts that are secured by valid mortgages or liens.
Chapter 11 is designed for the reorganization of a business but is also available to consumer debtors. Its provisions are quite complicated, and any decision by an individual to file a chapter 11 petition should be reviewed with an attorney.
Chapter 12 is designed to permit family farmers and fishermen to repay their debts over a period of time from future earnings and is similar to chapter 13. The eligibility requirements are restrictive, limiting its use to those whose income arises primarily from a family-owned farm or commercial fishing operation.
Bankruptcy Crimes and Availability of Bankruptcy Papers to Law Enforcement Officials
A person who knowingly and fraudulently conceals assets or makes a false oath or statement under penalty of perjury, either orally or in writing, in connection with a bankruptcy case is subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both. All information supplied by a debtor in connection with a bankruptcy case is subject to examination by the United States Attorney General acting through the Office of the United States Trustee, the Office of the United States Attorney, and other components and employees of the Department of Justice.
WARNING: Section 521(a)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code requires that you promptly file detailed information regarding your creditors, assets, liabilities, income, expenses and general financial condition. Your bankruptcy case may be dismissed if this information is not filed with the court within the time deadlines set by the Bankruptcy Code, the Bankruptcy Rules, and the local rules of the court.
- All of the information that you provide for the purpose of preparing your bankruptcy petition and other documents must be complete, accurate and truthful.
- All of the information that you may later provide after the filing of the bankruptcy case must also
be complete, accurate and truthful.
- All of your assets and all of your liabilities must be completely and accurately listed in the documents that are filed in your case. The replacement value of each asset must also be listed in the documents and you must make a reasonable effort and inquiry to establish the replacement value of each asset.
- Your current monthly income and your allowed monthly expenses must be accurately stated in your bankruptcy documents and you must make a reasonable effort and inquiry to ascertain their correctness. In a chapter 13 case your disposable monthly income must also be accurately stated after reasonable inquiry.
- Any information that you provide during the bankruptcy case may be audited and a failure to provide the required information may result in the dismissal of your bankruptcy case or other sanctions, including the filing of criminal charges against you.
BANKRUPTCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES FROM AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER.
If you decide to seek bankruptcy relief, you may represent yourself, you may hire an attorney to represent you, or you can get help in some localities from a bankruptcy petition preparer who is not an attorney. THE LAW REQUIRES AN ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER TO GIVE YOU A WRITTEN CONTRACT SPECIFYING WHAT THE ATTORNEY OR BANKRUPTCY PREPARER WILL DO FOR YOU AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST. Ask to see the contract before you hire anyone.
The following information is intended to help you understand what must be done in a routine bankruptcy case and to help you evaluate how much legal service you need. Although a bankruptcy case can be complex and difficult to understand, many cases are routine and relatively simple.
Before filing a bankruptcy case, either you or your attorney should analyze your eligibility for the different forms of debt relief that are available under the Bankruptcy Code and which form of relief is likely to be most beneficial for you. Be sure you understand the type of relief that you can obtain and its limitations. To file a bankruptcy case, documents called a Petition, Schedules, a Statement of Financial Affairs, a Statement of Current Monthly Income, and in most chapter 7 cases a Statement of Intention must to be prepared correctly and filed with the bankruptcy court. Unless you qualify for a waiver of the filing fee, you will have to pay a filing fee to the bankruptcy court. Once your case starts, you will have to attend the required first meeting of creditors where you may be questioned by a court official called a “trustee” and by creditors.
If you choose to file a chapter 7 case, you may be asked by a creditor to reaffirm a debt. You may want help deciding whether to reaffirm a debt. A creditor is not permitted to coerce you into reaffirming a debt.
If you choose to file a chapter 13 case in which you repay your creditors what you can afford over a 3-to-5 year period, you may also want help with preparing your chapter 13 plan and with the confirmation hearing on your plan which will be held before a bankruptcy judge.
If you select a type of relief under the Bankruptcy Code other than chapter 7 or chapter 13, you will
want to find out what should be done from someone familiar with that type of relief.
Your bankruptcy case may also involve litigation. You are generally permitted to represent yourself in litigation in bankruptcy court, but only attorneys, not bankruptcy petition preparers, can give you legal advice.
HOW TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION NEEDED TO FULFILL YOUR DUTIES IN A BANKRUPTCY CASE
- INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DETERMINE THE REPLACEMENT VALUE OF YOUR PERSONAL PROPERTY. You will need to know the replacement value of any personal property that you own when your bankruptcy case is filed, even if the property is mortgaged, pledged, or otherwise subject to a lien. The replacement value of property that you acquired for a personal, family or household purpose is the price that a retail merchant would charge for property of that kind, considering the age and condition of the property at the time the bankruptcy case is filed. The value of personal property that is subject to a valid lien or mortgage is the replacement value of the property as of the date the bankruptcy case is filed without deducting anything for the cost of selling or marketing the property.
- INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR CURRENT MONTHLY INCOME. Your current monthly income must be determined in order to file a bankruptcy case. In a chapter 7 case, your current monthly income is needed for means testing purposes; that is to determine your eligibility to proceed under chapter 7. In a chapter 13 case your current monthly income is needed to determine the monthly amount that you must pay to your creditors under a chapter 13 plan. Your current monthly income is the average monthly income from all sources for both you and your spouse (even if your spouse is not filing) for the six calendar months immediately preceding the filing of your bankruptcy case. If you are unmarried or if you and your spouse are legally separated or living in separate households, then only your income is counted. Income from all sources, regardless of whether the income is taxable, must be counted except that social security benefits and payments received as a victim of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or as a victim of international or domestic terrorism is not counted. Unemployment compensation is not counted to the extent that it is funded by the Federal Government under the Social Security Act. Income from the following sources must be counted:
- Gross income from wages, salary, tips, bonuses, overtime, and commissions. Net income from the operation of a business, profession or farm.
- Rent and other income from real property, less ordinary and necessary operating expenses. Interest, dividends and royalties.
- Pension and retirement income (other than Social Security income).Child or spousal support from a former spouse if received regularly.
- INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR ALLOWED MONTHLY EXPENSES AND YOUR MONTHLY DISPOSABLE INCOME. If the amount of your current monthly income multiplied by 12 does not exceed the median annual family income for your state and household size, as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau, then you will not be subject to means testing and you will not be required to calculate your monthly disposable income, which means that you will not be required to determine the amounts of any deductions from your current monthly income. However, if the amount of your current monthly income multiplied by 12 exceeds the median annual family income for your state and household size, then the deductions from your current monthly income must be determined in order to calculate your disposable monthly income, which will be used to determine your eligibility to file a chapter 7 case or the amount of your monthly payment in a chapter 13 case. Many of these deductions are not the amounts that you actually spend each month, but the amounts calculated by the Internal Revenue Service (the IRS) as being the standard allowable monthly living expenses for a household of your size and income level. These standard expenses include expenses for food, clothing, household supplies, personal care and similar expenses, housing and utility expenses, mortgage or rent expenses, transportation expenses, and other necessary expenses including taxes, payroll deductions, life insurance, child or spousal support payments, education, childcare, healthcare, and telecommunications. These standard expenses are listed on a Government website.In addition to the IRS standard expenses described in the paragraph above, you are allowed to deduct from your current monthly income, the average monthly amounts that you actually spend each month for (1) health insurance, disability insurance, and a health savings account, (2) the reasonable and necessary care and support of an elderly, chronically ill, or disabled member of your household or of your immediate family who is unable to pay for such services, (3) protection against family violence, and (4) for regular charitable contributions that your will continue to make after the bankruptcy case is filed.In addition, if you can prove that your average monthly home energy costs exceed the amount specified in the IRS standards, then you may deduct the amount by which your monthly average exceeds the IRS standard. If you can prove that your average monthly expenses for food and clothing exceed the combined allowances for food and apparel set forth in the IRS standards, then you may deduct the amount by which your monthly expenses exceed the combined IRS standards for food and apparel, except that your deduction may not exceed 5% of the combined IRS standards. If you can prove that the expenses are reasonable and necessary and not already accounted for in the IRS standard expenses, you may deduct the average monthly amount, not to exceed $147.92 per child, that you spend for the educational expenses of your dependent children who are less than 18 years of age. In order to be able to deduct the actual expenses described in this paragraph you must provide the bankruptcy trustee with documents proving that you actually incur these expenses and spend these amounts. Statements, bills or receipts from utility companies, food and clothing providers, and educational providers should be obtained so that they can be given to the bankruptcy trustee. As indicated above, the total of all of your standard and permitted actual monthly expenses will be subtracted from your current monthly income to determine your monthly disposable income.
- INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE A LIST OF YOUR CREDITORS AND HOW TO DETERMINE THE AMOUNT THAT IS OWED TO EACH CREDITOR. When a bankruptcy petition is filed, complete lists of the names and addresses of all of your secured creditors and unsecured creditors must also be filed. You will need to be provided the name, address and account number (if one exists) of each of your secured and unsecured creditors. The names, addresses and account numbers of your commercial creditors may be obtained from the bills or statements that they send to you. Commercial creditors include banks, credit card companies, loan companies, stores, and other persons or companies that have extended commercial credit to you and have not been paid in full. The address that should be listed for each creditor is the address to which payments to the creditor are sent. If the account has been assigned to a collection agent, the name and address of the collection agent should also be listed. The names and addresses of any creditors who are not commercial creditors must also be provided.Included here are creditors who are relatives or business associates, child or spousal support creditors, and persons who may have claims against you for any reason, including automobile accidents, contract or rent disputes, and business disputes. We must also be informed as to whether each debt is secured or unsecured. If a joint case is being filed you must state your intention as to whether each debt was incurred by the husband, the wife, or jointly by both husband and wife. We must also be informed of the current amount owed to each creditor. For commercial creditors this amount can usually be obtained from the most recent bill or statement.
- INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DETERMINE WHAT PROPERTY IS EXEMPT AND HOW TO VALUE YOUR EXEMPT PROPERTY. When a bankruptcy petition is filed, complete lists of your personal property and real property must be filed. A complete list of your exempt property must also be filed. You must provided a description of each item of personal and real property that you own and the value of each item of property. This will be accomplished by comparing your property with the property that is exempt under the State and Federal laws that are applicable to you. Your exempt personal property should be valued in the manner described in paragraph number 1 above in these instructions.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) Notice
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