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Submit your personal bankruptcy statement: What you need to know


 If you have plans to apply for protection granted by bankruptcy, you must receive credit counseling from an organization approved by the government during the 180 days prior to the date of filing. In addition, in order to receive a discharge of your debts, you also have to complete an education course for the debtor.
 
Approved credit education and debtor education organizations
 
The United States Department of Justice Board of Trustees Program approves organizations authorized to conduct mandatory credit counseling sessions and debtor education courses for all persons filing a personal bankruptcy petition. Only those advisors and educators on the lists approved by the U.S. Board of Trustees Program may publicize their services by saying that they are authorized to offer mandatory consultancy and education for debtors. By law, the US Receivership Program it does not operate in Alabama or North Carolina; In these states, pre-bankruptcy credit counseling organizations and providers of debtor education courses prior to the discharge of debts are approved by judicial officials called Bankruptcy Case Managers.
 
Requirements applicable to counseling and education
 
The pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and the education course for the debtor pre-discharge of debts can not be superimposed. The credit counseling session must be held before the filing date of the bankruptcy application and the education session for the debtor must be completed after submitting the application.
 
At the time of filing your bankruptcy application, you must submit a certificate stating that you have completed the credit counseling session; and after submitting your bankruptcy filing application, but before you are granted discharge of your debts, you must submit proof that you have completed the education course for the debtor. These certificates can only be issued by credit counseling organizations and providers of education courses for the debtor that are approved by the U.S. Board of Trustees Program. To guarantee protection against fraud, these certificates are issued through an automated central system and are numbered.
 
Advice before bankruptcy
 
A pre-bankruptcy counseling session given by a credit counseling organization duly approved should include an assessment of your personal financial situation, a discussion of possible alternatives to bankruptcy and a personal budget plan. In general, a counseling session of this type should last between 60 and 90 minutes and can be done in person, by phone or online. The advisory organization must provide free services to those consumers who can not afford the charge. If you are not in a position to pay the charge for the credit counseling service, you must request to be exempted from the payment before the beginning of the session. Otherwise, you may be charged a fee for the counseling service that, depending on your place of residence, the types of service provided and other factors, is usually around $ 50. The credit counseling or counseling organization must agree with you to collect any type of charge before starting the counseling session.
 
At the end of the required counseling session you have to submit a certificate as proof. To verify that you are issued a certificate issued by an advisory organization approved by the judicial district corresponding to the address of the filing of your bankruptcy filing, see the US Receivership website. Credit counseling organizations can not charge you an extra amount for issuing the certificate.
 
Education of the debtor after bankruptcy
 
A debtor education course taught by an approved provider must include information about budget development, money management, and prudent credit use. Just like the advice prior to filing the bankruptcy filing, the debtor's education course can be done personally, by phone or online. The debtor's education session may be a little more extensive than the pre-bankruptcy counseling session - with an approximate duration of two hours - and generally the charge for this course is between $ 50 and $ 100. As with the advice prior to filing the bankruptcy application, if you are unable to pay the fee for the educational session, you should ensure that the course provider exempts you from paying the fee before you begin. Check the list of approved debtor education providers or request information at the bankruptcy office for your district.
 
After completing the compulsory education course of the debtor, the organization must deliver a certificate as proof. This certificate is a separate document and separate from the certificate given to you after the end of the counseling session prior to the filing of the bankruptcy filing application. To verify that you are issued a certificate issued by a debtor education provider approved by the judicial district corresponding to the filing location for your bankruptcy filing, see the US Receivership website. Unless prior to the session you are informed that you will be charged a fee, the debtor's education providers can not charge you an extra amount for issuing the certificate.
 

How to choose a credit counselor

 
If you are seeking credit counseling to complete the legal requirements applicable to bankruptcy, be sure to turn exclusively to organizations approved by your judicial district. Consult the approved list or request information at the bankruptcy office corresponding to the district in which you submit your application. When you get the list of approved organizations in your judicial district, call several organizations to gather the necessary information to determine which one is most convenient. These are some of the important questions:
 
What services does it offer?
 
Will it help me develop a plan to avoid problems in the future?
 
What are the fees or fees to be paid?
 
What will happen if you are unable to pay your charges?
 
What are the qualifications of your advisors? Do they have accreditation or certification granted by an external organization? What type of training did your advisors receive?
 
What security measures do you take to protect my information (including my address, telephone number and financial information) and to preserve the confidentiality of my information?
 
How is the compensation received by your employees calculated? Will they charge more if I agree to receive certain services, if I pay a fee, or if I make a contribution to your organization?
 
Help and information
 
The US Syndicate Program promotes the integrity and efficiency of the nation's bankruptcy system by enforcing bankruptcy laws and supervising private syndics. The Program operates in 21 regions, has 95 offices and oversees the administration of bankruptcy filings in all states except Alabama and North Carolina. 
 
If you have any concerns about credit counseling organizations or about approved debtor education course providers, contact the U.S. Board of Trustees Program, or send a letter to: Executive Office for U.S. Trustees, Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Unit. Include as many details as possible, including the name of the credit counseling organization or provider of the education course. debtor, the date of contact and the name of the person who attended it.