Credit Counseling Forms

Filing bankruptcy can be a complicated process with many steps. It’s very important that no steps are missed and that you accomplish everything on your “to-do” list. One of the final steps in the process is the completion of credit counseling classes. It may seem like just one more thing that you have to do, but the classes can actually be really helpful. As you complete each class, make sure you keep your documentation, as the court will need it so that you can move on to the next phase. Although there are quite a few steps, don’t worry. I will make sure you don’t miss a step.


Before You File

When we have spoken and have decided that bankruptcy is the right move for you, the first step will be to complete a 60-minute online credit counseling course. There are several options out there for taking this course, but I will give you the Executive Office for the U.S. Trustees list of approved agencies that offer these courses. You will have to make sure that you take the class within 180 days prior to filing your case. The goal of the course is to ultimately help you decide if filing bankruptcy is your best option. The course will help you create or revise your budget. It will help you take a look at ways to cut spending and manage your money. The course will also help you to fully understand the consequences of filing bankruptcy. When the course is finished, you will receive a certificate of completion. You will need to forward that certificate to me so that I can forward it to the court within 15 days of your filing.


To Discharge Debt

After you file bankruptcy, but prior to your debt being discharged, the court requires that you take a two-hour post-filing debtor education course. This course is designed to help you learn about how to recover from bankruptcy and ideas on how to improve your credit score as you plan for your future. This course must also be approved by the U.S. Trustees and can be taken online. If you have a unique situation that prevents you from taking this course, such as being on active duty in a military zone or you have a disability or are incapacitated, the requirement may be waived. 

When you are done with the classes, you will receive a “Debtor’s Certification of Completion of Instructional Course Concerning Financial Management”. I will submit the certificate to the court in addition to Form 23. If you and your spouse are both filing the bankruptcy, both of you will have to complete the course as individuals and obtain your own certificates. If you are filing a Chapter 7, these documents have to be filed within 45 days of your 341 meeting with your creditors. Don’t worry, I will make sure that you don’t miss the deadline, because if you did, the court could close your case. If that were to happen, you would have to reopen your case and that could have additional fees.

If you are filing a Chapter 13, you have a little more time to get everything done. You could wait until your last payment to submit your documentation, and that could be 3-5 years down the road. It is best to not procrastinate and to just get it done so you don’t forget. Not to mention, there is some good information in these classes that you will want to know about as you rebuild your credit reputation.


Building Your Future

No one wants to do more paperwork than needed. I will keep the paperwork to a minimum, and my hope is you walk away with information that will be helpful and a fresh start financially.