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7 Online Resources When Considering Bankruptcy

Tristan Brown
7 Online Resources When Considering Bankruptcy

With the world on lockdown due to the current covid-19 pandemic, everything is very inaccessible. In the United States alone, the economy is in a recession, numerous suppliers are having to shut down factories, and millions of Americans have lost their jobs and for some their only source of income. The loss of income wages has left many Americans unable to not only pay their rent and bills, but has left many in overwhelming debt which only gets worse as the country’s economy continues to plummet. Amidst all this, some people may be considering filing for bankruptcy to reduce the amount of debt they are accountable for and therefore have to pay off. Even business owners during this time may be considering the same options for bankruptcy. Though some states are currently beginning to slowly lift restrictions and allow certain businesses to resume with limitations, some businesses may truly never recover from the 3 month nearly 4 month closure that occurred. So filing for bankruptcy may be a better option than relying on customers who may never appear, or may appear but will be significantly reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you happen to be an individual or a business owner who is considering filing for bankruptcy it is best to research what your options are and exhaust the alternatives to ensure that you are making a very informed decision for yourself and/or your business. This article will point you to different resources that will be able to assist you while you look at the different options available to you.

The first option when considering filing for bankruptcy should be to consult with a bankruptcy attorney, however given the coronavirus pandemic, some bankruptcy attorneys near you may still be closed, or you may simply not want to put yourself or your loved ones at risk by going into places if you do not absolutely have to, so I have provided you with some great online resources that will help you make an informed decision about bankruptcy filing from the comfort of your home. These resources are not just tailored to one aspect of bankruptcy but can be used for different steps that you may need to take throughout your bankruptcy journey.

  1. Annual Credit Report (www.annualcreditreport.com)

“Before you file for bankruptcy, it is very important that you access your credit report history and gain a better understanding of your credit history and what is listed,” states San Diego bankruptcy attorney Tristan Brown.  “Every year, you are entitled to one free credit report, so assuming you have not used up your free pass, it is best to use it now and obtain one.”

 Understanding your credit report will allow you to not only verify your debts, but to also analyze them closely by double checking interest rates and such. A copy of your credit report history will be able to help you decide whether or not you can handle your debts and make payments comfortably during the covid-19 pandemic and after while the economy recovers, or if you would gain more from making a bankruptcy claim.

  1.  United States Courts Online Website (https://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics)

You may decide after going through your credit report history that you want to pursue the bankruptcy route and look into it. The best place to conduct your preliminary research about bankruptcy and to learn more about what it is and what it entails is to go directly to the government website which has been listed above for you. On the website linked above, you will be able to learn more about what exactly filing for bankruptcy means, the different types of bankruptcy claims you can file for and which one is the best fit for you. You will also be able to examine the requirements needed for the different bankruptcies listed and determine if you are eligible to pursue the claim. The website will give you everything you need to know about bankruptcy and is the best source to verify any additional information you may receive about how to file. So, no matter what other resources are listed down below, although they are very helpful and will make the process easier, you should still always double back to this site, to verify the information you’re given so you can make the best choice for yourself and/or your business.

  1. Debt.org (https://www.debt.org/bankruptcy/)

This website is similar to the one listed previously in that the information on this website is derived from the US Courts website. However, debt.org makes all the information more palatable and easier to digest. While the us courts website gives you everything you may need to know about bankruptcy there is also a lot of law jargon that you may not understand and may skew your understanding of certain things when it comes to bankruptcy. So debt.org is a good website to go to in order to fully understand what it is that you need to know or understand to make an informed decision. There are also additional tools on the website to help with understanding the debt you have, so if you had any questions about some things on your credit report history, then you could potentially find your answers on the website. There are also additional tips and tools that you may find beneficial to check out while you’re there.

  1. Debt or CC online credit counselling course (https://www.debtorcc.org/first-bankruptcy-course.aspx)

Debtorcc is an online credit counselling course meant to educate you on what you need to know about bankruptcy before filing. This course goes through what to expect and the implications of actually filing for bankruptcy. This education course is a requirement prior to filing for bankruptcy. You take the online course for a fee of $14.95, and upon completion, you receive a certificate that you use as proof of course completion. While this may seem tedious to some, taking the required course is actually beneficial to individuals or business owners filing for bankruptcy because it ensures that you have taken the time to think about what you are doing prior to doing it. It is also a way to force people to hold themselves accountable. After filing for bankruptcy, you are also expected to complete a second course called “Post filing debtor education” which costs $9.95 and also gives you a certificate upon completion.

  1. The United States Department of Justice’s list of approved agencies (https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111)

The United States department of justice has a list of approved credit counselling agencies that are sorted by state. Now you may be wondering why would I need or want to know about a credit counselling agency? Well, a credit counselling agency can provide you with a credit counselor who will be able to discuss with you how to manage your debt. You may think it is too late for that if you plan on filing for bankruptcy, however as mentioned before it is always best to consider all your options. A credit counselor may be able to see ways in which you can better handle your debt without having to file for bankruptcy, and can assist you with that. Credit counselors are also still good to have AFTER you have filed. You will want to learn how to avoid needing to file for bankruptcy again and that is where they come in. They will be able to show you things to avoid as well as things to do that will help you and your credit recover from the bankruptcy claim. If you’re still unsure as to whether or not you want to get a credit counselor, you can always get a free consultation with one through one of the approved agencies on the website and gauge whether you would like to or not. There is no harm in getting a free consultation and then deciding that having a credit counselor is not right for you, as opposed to going without one and realizing later down the road that you might have benefited from one.

  1. Investopedia’s List of Best Budgeting Apps (https://www.investopedia.com/personal-finance/personal-finance-apps/)

If you find that having a credit counselor is not the right choice for you, there are tons of apps, websites and spreadsheets that you can use to help you budget and keep track of your spending habits in order to hold yourself accountable to your finance goals and ensure that you are meeting them whether they be monthly or yearly. Investopedia has compiled a list of the 5 best apps for budgeting and has broken them down by what they are great at when it comes to budgeting whether it be tracking your spending, or tracking your debt. Keep in mind that all finance apps are not meant to do the exact same thing so you may need to try out a few to see which one(s) you like best and will help you achieve your finance goals. While some people may not feel comfortable with using apps to keep track of their money, there are also spreadsheets that can be downloaded from some of these apps, or spreadsheets can be created using the apps as a template; using a spreadsheet stored on a computer may feel a little more secure for some. Keeping track of your finances is something everyone should do regardless of if they are in debt or not because it allows you to analyze your spending methods and identify places where you can improve to prevent going into debt and having to file for bankruptcy. 

  1. A Bankruptcy Attorney

After you have finished researching all your options and deciding what the right choice for you or your business is, you may or may not feel confident in your decision, which is where a bankruptcy attorney comes in. Contrary to popular belief, a bankruptcy attorney isn’t only meant for helping you file for bankruptcy. They can be great resources for helping you decide if bankruptcy is even the right choice for you and if it happens to be which bankruptcy claim you are eligible for and can actually file for. They also provide you with other great tools outside of just filing such as a financial advisor. Though some people tend not to completely trust attorneys, this is one of the instances in which consulting with one can be very beneficial to you and your finances. Given that we are still in a pandemic, it may not be completely possible for you to access a bankruptcy attorney in person, however some bankruptcy attorneys are still available for consultations via video chat and they do not have to be near you. So if you find a reputable bankruptcy attorney in San Diego and you’re not from there, you can check to see if you can have an online consultation. After your consultation with the bankruptcy attorney, if you are still distrustful, you can also verify the information they tell you on the US courts website to put yourself at ease.

Ultimately when it comes to deciding whether or not to file for bankruptcy, the decision is completely up to you and no one should pressure you to choose one path or another. However, it is important that you make a well informed decision using the resources provided above to ensure that you know what to expect before filing, during the filing process and after as well. While doing all this work and researching might not be as fun as some things, it does allow you to educate yourself about bankruptcy and all its aspects. If you decide not to file for bankruptcy all the research you will have done will not have been a waste because you will now know how to prevent needing to file, and you will also be a great resource if people around are going through the financial problems and are considering filing for bankruptcy. Overall, you want to ensure that you have the best resources and team at your disposal especially if you do decide to file, so that after filing you can work to build your credit back up and enjoy a better financial life.

Tristan Brown
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