Friday, October 16, 2015

Bankruptcy - major changes to the forms being use to file starting December 1, 2015

Starting December 1, people filing bankruptcy will be required to use new forms approved by the federal court. The Court's website states, "Among other things, the new forms introduce different versions of case opening forms for individual debtors and non-individual debtors. The new forms are easier for debtors to understand and complete and are designed to work with scheduled enhancements to the federal courts’ case opening and electronic case management system."

While it would be a benefit for the forms to become simpler, some of the attorneys I spoke with do not believe they are. Also, many questions I get do not concern the format of the forms but the substance of the information being requested. I'm not sure how new forms will answer questions like, "My name is on the car title too but my dad really owns it, do I need to report it?" So, I'm not sure how much easier these forms will be. The instruction booklet for individuals is 47 pages.

Another short-term problem I see is the gear up time. Software is going to need to be upgraded and there will be a learning curve. I could see a back up occurring after the Dec 1 start date. As intuitive as the new forms are hoped to be, it will still take time to learn the new format.

Finally, as I understand it, the forms will require more detail or forces a debtor to include more detail than the current forms. If that proves to be true, that will require attorneys to do more work to file a case. The result could be higher attorneys fees. Only time will tell.

I guess the moral to this story is, if you are planning or absolutely need to file bankruptcy and want it to happen quickly, it might be best to act now before the new forms go into effect. Also, if you wait, you may see some prices creep up.

If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark Medvesky or our firm of Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at

Form Number Conversion Charts below

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