Pre-Bankruptcy Planning in Massachusetts
Deciding whether or not to file bankruptcy is a big decision, and not to be taken lightly. Once you have weighed out your options, and decided bankruptcy is the best option, there are requirements that must be met before filing.
Majority of bankruptcy procedures (including the filing process) are governed by federal law, and require that you complete a pre-filing credit counseling course and a post-filing debtor education course. Massachusetts has particular information that you should know before filing for bankruptcy.
Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling and Pre-Discharge Debtor Education in Massachusetts
It is required that within the 180 days before you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a credit counseling course from an organization approved by the U.S. Trustee in Massachusetts. If more than 180 days pass after you receive your credit counseling certificate, you must retake the course. It is also required that you complete a debtor education course before you get your discharge in bankruptcy.
Massachusetts Bankruptcy Exemptions
Each state has its own set of exemptions that you may use when filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The Massachusetts bankruptcy exemptions help determine what property you are allowed to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
In Massachusetts, you are able to choose from either the Massachusetts exemptions or the federal exemptions when you file a bankruptcy in Massachusetts, but you may not mix and match exemptions from the list. You must choose either state or federal exemption.
If a couple is married and filing jointly in Massachusetts, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption, also known as “doubling”.
What to Bring to Our First Meeting
During our first meeting, we will be discussing your financial situation, so we have a better understanding of which option is best suited for you.
When you come to Daigle Law Office to discuss your case, please bring with you:
- Tax Returns for the last two years
- Your last paycheck stub showing year to date gross income
- A list of your bills
- Recent mortgage statement stating what you owe
- If self employed, income and expenses for the last 6 months