How to Benefit From Bankruptcy Legal Aid Programs
When you're considering filing for bankruptcy, you're almost certainly in a difficult financial situation, which means you probably can't afford to hire an attorney. In this case, bankruptcy legal aid programs may be available to you. Legal aid organizations allow you to access free legal representation for your bankruptcy filing if you qualify.
Bankruptcy can provide relief from overwhelming debt, but the filing process can be stressful and complicated. Here's what you should know about getting legal aid for bankruptcy and how DoNotPay can make it easier.
Accessing Legal Aid for Bankruptcy
People who are filing for bankruptcy are inherently in a difficult financial situation. Not being able to afford a bankruptcy attorney is common. Fortunately, there are non-profit legal aid organizations that provide free legal services, including bankruptcy assistance.
Who Qualifies for Bankruptcy Legal Aid?
Legal aid organizations usually have income cutoffs for you to qualify for their bankruptcy services. Each organization will have its own requirements, so you'll need to check with your local legal aid program. The most common income requirements are either 200% or 125% of the federal poverty line.
|200% of the federal poverty line||$53,000 for a family of four||$25,760 for an individual|
|125% of the federal poverty line||$33,125 for a family of four||$16,100 for an individual|
Other Requirements for Legal Aid
In addition to the income limits, legal aid organizations may also have other requirements. Some common requirements include:
- Being a U.S. citizen
- Limits to the total assets you own
- Living in the city or area of the organization
The organization's intake staff will also ask you questions about your overall financial situation to determine whether they believe bankruptcy is the right move for you. You won't be able to get legal aid if the organization doesn't think you should pursue bankruptcy.
What Are Your Options if You Don't Qualify for Legal Aid?
If you make too much to qualify for legal aid, but still can't comfortably afford to hire an attorney, there are several options available to decrease your costs.
- Payment plans and waivers for filing fees. If you're unable to afford the bankruptcy filing fees, you can talk to the court clerk about whether you qualify to have it waived. You can usually have filing fees waived if these two factors apply:
- You're filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
- You earn 150% of the federal poverty line or less
You may also be able to pay the fee in installments over a few months instead of all at once.
- Include attorney's fees in Chapter 13 payment plan. If you plan to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may be able to include your attorney's fees in your payment plan. Spreading out the cost like this can make legal expenses more manageable.
- File on your own. You can choose to file for bankruptcy on your own, but the process is complicated and you may be less likely to successfully have your debt discharged. Filing on your own is easier if you'll be filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as Chapter 13 is more complicated.
Easily File for Bankruptcy With DoNotPay
Whether you qualify for bankruptcy legal aid or not, you can save time and stress by filing with DoNotPay. Declaring bankruptcy on your own can be extremely complicated and overwhelming, on top of the financial difficulty that led you to consider bankruptcy in the first place.
DoNotPay's fast, easy and successful system helps you file for bankruptcy without hiring
How to File for Bankruptcy Using DoNotPay
If you want to file for bankruptcy but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 5 easy steps:
- Search for File for Bankruptcy on DoNotPay.
- Put together a list of your debts, expenses, and assets. If you need help accessing information like your credit report, DoNotPay can help you get your report.
- Let DoNotPay walk you through your bankruptcy options and help you determine whether a Chapter 7, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you.
- DoNotPay will then help find the best credit counseling course near you, which you need to complete before filing your bankruptcy forms.
- Lastly, DoNotPay will gather all of the forms you need (including available fee waivers) and help you locate your nearest bankruptcy court. All you have to do is complete the required forms, prepare your filing fee, and file the application with your local court.
And that's it! Once done, the court will give you:
- Your bankruptcy case number
- The name of your bankruptcy trustee
- The date, time, and location of your meeting with your trustee
At this point, your case has been filed. Congratulations! The automatic stay now protects you from all debt collectors. Your trustee will then contact you for further financial documents you will need to provide. Make sure to attend your meeting as well as complete the post-filing bankruptcy debtors course.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
DoNotPay can help with any aspect of debt management and bankruptcy, so you can easily:
- Learn what happens when you file bankruptcy
- Get a debt verification letter
- Get a 609 letter
- Learn how long bankruptcy stays on your credit report
- Understand the downsides of bankruptcy
- Learn about the costs of bankruptcy
- Compare the types of bankruptcy
If you're thinking about filing for bankruptcy, contact DoNotPay now.