Bankruptcy Law Forms and Templates

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Bankruptcy Law Forms and Templates

 

Get detailed information on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy laws, forms and bankruptcy court filing procedure.

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This site covers the following areas of bankruptcy law.

 Bankruptcy Court Structure  Property Exemptions
 Forms for filing bankruptcy  Eligibility to file
 Essentials of Chapter 7 law  The complete bankruptcy  process
 Essentials of Chapter 13 law  Bankruptcy law and your credit

 

Personal Bankruptcy

Covers United States personal bankruptcy laws and provides legal help on filing court forms without attorney assistance.

THE STRUCTURE OF BANKRUPTCY LAW

This section explores the structure of the bankruptcy code and its applicability to personal bankruptcies for law people. When you are done with this section you would have learned the following.

The source of bankruptcy law Where to find Chapter 13 laws
How to lookup bankruptcy definitions General layout of the code
Where to find Chapter 7 laws The types of bankruptcy filings

The Code

Bankruptcy laws are part of the Federal body of laws collectively referred to as the United States Code and are contained in Title 11 of the code. Title 11 is broken down into chapters with each chapter dealing with a specific area or bankruptcy law. Most of the Chapters are general and define the overall operation of the system and others define specific types of bankruptcies. Chapters 7, 11 and 13 define types of bankruptcies and are therefore more familiar to the public.

Federal Bankruptcy Courts

Under the United States constitution, the Federal government is composed of three branches, the executive, headed by the president, the legislative, composed of the House and the Senate and the judiciary, composed of various Federal courts. In the bankruptcy process, all three branches of government are involved to some extent. The Congress of the United States enacts bankruptcy laws, the Department of Justice, an arm of the executive, administers it and the bankruptcy courts supervise the process and interpret the law. The United States is divided into Federal Districts. These districts represent Federal court regions and it is in these districts that bankruptcy is administered. In some districts, there are bankruptcy courts and in others, bankruptcy is handled by the district court themselves.

Chapter 1

Chapter 1 of the code deals with the general provisions of the bankruptcy code. Section 101 defines the terms used in the code. What is an attorney? What is a claim? What is a consumer debt? What is a creditor? These terms all seem self-evident but the law does not leave them undefined. Conceivably, the definition of a common term could come into dispute and to avoid this bankruptcy law starts out with a definition of terms. What is an individual with regular income? Section 101 defines it by saying, “individual with regular income” means individual whose income is sufficiently stable and regular to enable such individual to make payments under a plan under Chapter 13 of this title, other than a stockbroker or a commodity broker.

If you were filing under Chapter 13, you would have encountered the term, “individual with regular income” and chances are that you would be hard pressed to find this definition anywhere on the Internet. Now you know where to find a definition of this term and the definitions of any other terms that you will encounter in a personal bankruptcy.

Chapter 1 also deals with many other issues of general applicability to bankruptcy law. For example, Section 103 lays out chapters of the code apply to which types of bankruptcies; Section 105 defines the power of the court; Section 107 specifies that with few exceptions, any documents that you file in a bankruptcy case are public records and open to examination of any party without a charge. So how much does it cost to view the bankruptcy court file of that big corporation that filed bankruptcy last month? The answer is nothing.

Other important areas of Chapter 1 are Section 109 which defines who may file bankruptcy and Section 110 which regulates the conduct of paralegals and non-attorney bankruptcy preparers.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 of the code is of importance to everyone filing bankruptcy because it applies to every bankruptcy case and it defines the roles of all the parties involved from the judges to the trustees and and creditors. Most importantly, it defines the bankruptcy process and the efficacy of filing bankruptcy. Chapter 3 is perhaps the most important chapter in all of the code.

Section 301 through 307 define voluntary and involuntary filings, joint bankruptcies, and the procedure for starting a bankruptcy case.

Sections 321 through 331 creates trustees and defines their powers. It also defines the role of attorneys and other professionals in the bankruptcy process. Who much can your attorney charge you? Who pays the trustee and how can one become a trustee? These are some of the areas covered in this section.

Sections 341 through 350 deal with such issues as the meeting of creditors, sending of court notices, the fifth amendment to the constitution barring self-incrimination, conversion from one type of bankruptcy to another, dismissing and closing cases.

Sections 361 to 366 deal with the automatic stay, using selling or leasing property while in bankruptcy, borrowing money while in bankruptcy and the rights of your utility company.

From a consumer perspective, the bankruptcy code is one of the most powerful set of laws in the United States and Section 362 can be credited for this. This section covers the Automatic Stay which essentially says that form the moment you file bankruptcy, every hostile action by your creditors against you must stop.

Chapter 5

Chapter 5 of the code is another important part of the code. You can consider it as the plumbing of the bankruptcy code because it deals with the detail laws that tie everything together. It covers such areas as what is a secured or unsecured debt, the debtor’s duties, exemption or property laws, the effect of a discharge, what types of debts cannot be discharged, discrimination, what is property of a bankruptcy estate, the trustee’s powers to seize property and much more.

Chapter 7

Unlike the preceding chapters, Chapter 7 of the code defines a type of bankruptcy known as Liquidation. This is the popular Chapter 7 under which most bankruptcies are filed. This chapter is divided into four subchapters. Subchapter 1 deals with the duties of the trustee as applied to a filing under Chapter 7, subsection II deals with collection, liquidation and distribution of the bankrupt estate, subchapter III deals with stockbroker liquidation and subchapter IV deals with commodity broker liquidation.

Subchapter II (Section 721 through 728) is of particular importance to debtors because it deals with your right to operate a business while in bankruptcy, redemption of property, rights of partnerships, treatment of certain liens, disposition of property, the discharge of debts and certain tax provisions.

Get Details – Chapter 7 laws

Chapter 9

Chapter 9 of the code deals with the bankruptcy of a municipality. This is not of much interest to debtors and so will not be discussed in detail. If you are a contractor owed money by a bankrupt city or county government, you will want to read Chapter 9 of the code.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 of the code like Chapter 7, defines a type of bankruptcy filing. It is known in the code as Reorganization. This is the type of bankruptcy that corporations and large business file when they want to continue operating their business while getting debt relief. Theoretically, individuals can file Chapter 11 but hardly any of them do.

Chapter 11 is a very complicated type of bankruptcy and it usually requires the assistance of a team of attorneys and accountants. The initial documents required to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy care pretty much the same as for a Chapter 7. It is the post-petition process and documentary requirements that are overwhelming.

Chapter 12

Chapter 12 of the code can be thought of a the Chapter 13 bankruptcy of the family farmer and since so few people file under Chapter 12, we shall skip a detailed discussion of it.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 of the code defines a type of bankruptcy referred to in the code as Adjustment of Debts of an Individual With regular Income. This is the second most popular type of bankruptcy filing and is used by individuals and married couples who what to repay their debts in an orderly court supervised fashion. Since Chapter 13 bankruptcy is characterized by a repayment plan, this chapter deals mostly with the Plan.

Sections 1301 to 1307 deals with such issues as rights of co-debtors, the trustee, the debtor’s right to engage in business and the conversion and dismissal of cases.

Sections 1321 to 130 deal with the repayment plan and covers filing the plan, contents of the plan, modifications, the confirmation hearing, plan payments, and a discharge of unpaid debts.

Sample Forms:

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