Bankruptcy is never a comfortable topic, particularly if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy. When the debts are piling up, and you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, bankruptcy can be a viable option.
The key is to thoroughly understand the bankruptcy process, which debts you can and cannot take care of through bankruptcy, and what your life after bankruptcy will look like. These 23 resources from around the Web will help you learn more about bankruptcy, explore your options, and ultimately make the best choice for your financial circumstances.
1. Should You Declare Bankruptcy? – This Forbes.com article gives helpful scenarios of people who should, should not, and could file for bankruptcy. The story format may make it easier to figure out where your situation fits.
2. Bankruptcy Basics – This Bankrate.com article outlines the different types of bankruptcy.
3. Bankruptcy Basics (From USCourts.gov) – This section of the U.S. Courts website offers more detailed descriptions of the different types of bankruptcy.
4. How 5 Financial Blunders Will Affect Your Credit Score – This Dough Roller article outlines how bankruptcy might affect your credit score.
5. Bankruptcy Filing Fees – A list of bankruptcy filing fees for Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15 bankruptcy.
6. Misc. Bankruptcy Court Fees – A list of miscellaneous bankruptcy fees that may or may not apply to your situation.
7. Bankruptcy Forms – Use these forms to see the content and format of bankruptcy forms, if you want to know what’s involved in the paperwork.
8. Things to Know About Bankruptcy – This article from Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc. gives in-depth answers to many bankruptcy questions, including what filing for bankruptcy can and cannot do for you, what property is exempt, and what type of bankruptcy might work for you.
9. Bankruptcy Facts for Older Consumers – Bankruptcy can be a little different for older consumers who may be nearing retirement age. This fact sheet from the National Consumer Law Center lays out your options.
10. 12 Myths About Bankruptcy – Think your bankruptcy will mean losing everything you have, or that both spouses in a marriage will have to file? Think again. This article busts 12 common bankruptcy myths.
11. Bankruptcy: Seven Things You Need to Know Before Filing – This Dave Ramsey article talks about the emotional impact of bankruptcy and outlines the steps you’ll need to take to file.
12. Keeping your auto: car loans in bankruptcy – Worried about what will happen to your car during bankruptcy? Find out what might happen here.
Other Options for Getting Out of Debt
13. National Foundation for Credit Counseling – This credit counseling organization has community offices in every state. Start here if your goal is to avoid bankruptcy.
14. Dealing with Debt – This page from the Federal Trade Commission helps you find approved credit counselors and debtor educators who could help you look at your options to determine if bankruptcy is best for you.
15. 6 Reasons We Chose NOT to Use Debt Settlement, Debt Consolidation or Bankruptcy to Pay Off Our Debt – This Man vs. Debt post outlines one family’s choice to pay down debt directly, rather than filing bankruptcy (or using debt settlement or consolidation).
16. When Debt Settlement Makes Sense – This MSN article gives the skinny on debt settlement and helps you figure out if this is the better option for you.
17. How to Refinance Any Debt – Refinancing, or consolidating, your debts can make sense if you’re struggling with high payments. Refinancing also won’t harm your credit as much as debt settlement or filing for bankruptcy. This Dough Roller article helps you learn to refinance any type of debt.
Qualifying for Bankruptcy
18. Qualifying for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – This about.com article explains how individuals and businesses can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
19. Means Test Information – This page from the U.S. Justice Department lets you look up the latest means testing information for bankruptcy filings.
20. Free Means Test Calculator – This bankruptcy means test calculator isn’t an official form, but it can help you find out if you’d qualify for bankruptcy based on your current financial situation.
Life After Bankruptcy
21. Ask Experian: Bankruptcy – This page lists several “Ask Experian” questions related to bankruptcy. The focus here is on how bankruptcy affects your credit.
22. Declaring Bankruptcy Can Improve Your Credit Score – If you’re struggling with huge debt loads and constantly late payments, filing for bankruptcy may raise your credit score in the long run.
23. How to Establish Credit After Bankruptcy – This Dough Roller article outlines how to rebuilt your credit after you’ve filed for bankruptcy.