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Learn About the Bankruptcy Hotlines

Learn About the Bankruptcy Hotlines

Many legal organizations, such as bankruptcy law firms, will run a bankruptcy hotline as part of their contribution (and advertisement) to the community. Ideally, to the benefit of the prospective bankruptcy applicant, such a phone service will be toll-free for callers and will be open 24 hours a day with live operators as opposed to an impersonal prerecorded message.
Ideally, a bankruptcy hotline might put the solicitor in contact with a licensed bankruptcy attorney who has experience with the type of concerns he or she possesses. Just as well, however, these systems may be staffed by paralegals and clerks dispensing bankruptcy advice and imaginably possessing an inferior knowledge to that of an experienced lawyer. Accordingly, as must often be stressed, hotlines are never to be recommended as substitutes to competent legal representation.
As noted, some bankruptcy hotlines exist to educate and act as a reference to specific subsets of the population. Certainly, the feature of a free service would appeal to those who come from low-income neighborhoods or individuals who have recently come upon hard times and are contemplating bankruptcy.
Then again, sometimes information is supplied the other way around. A federal court, rather than putting forth bankruptcy advice, might instead host a bankruptcy hotline that callers can use to inform the court of supposed instances of fraud or abuse.
Usually, specific data will be asked of the individual who registers a formal complaint, namely where, when and for whom a case was filed, any debts that went unrecorded and their approximate dollar amounts, and how one became aware of the malfeasance. More likely than not, a caller will be permitted to remain anonymous in offering his or help to authorities.

Essential Bankruptcy Resources

Essential Bankruptcy Resources

Bankruptcy books and the Bankruptcy Code are helpful tools, but generally, those considering filing for bankruptcy are advised not to forsake legal representation in favor of these print resources.

Bankruptcy Software
In both the spirit of self-sufficiency and the interest of saving on preparation fees, a number of companies offer software designed to provide the user with authentic versions of necessary bankruptcy petition forms. That said, products from West Publishing, Microsoft and others used to file bankruptcy applications have their shortfalls. Most notably, though the computations performed by these computer programs in calculating disposable income and the like are perhaps more likely to be accurate than the individual work of a professional, proper use of filing software is contingent on a basic understanding of bankruptcy law.
Unfortunately, there may be no real way for filing software to assess the breadth of a user’s comprehension of the Bankruptcy Code and the associated Federal Rules. Given this notion, it may be more advantageous for preparers and lawyers to operate such a program than a debtor acting on his or her own behalf.

Means Test Calculators
One of the most spiritedly contested additions of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 to bankruptcy law in the United States is the inclusion of a means test designed to keep people above a certain income level from taking advantage of Chapter 7 liquidation proceedings. Whatever one’s opinion on this new provision, for the time being the means test is here to stay. Consequently, prospective Chapter 7 filers who are on the proverbial bubble of qualifying to apply must make sure their figures are correct, especially if they are adhering to a more “do-it-yourself”-oriented methodology. 
One common solution to this dilemma is to access a means test calculator, whether this be built into a piece of bankruptcy filing software or a free online resource affiliated with a particular website. A means test calculator is little more than an Internet-based version of a section within Chapter 7.

Bankruptcy Notice Providers
Under “normal” circumstances, the issuance of notice to creditors and other interested parties may not be a big production, as debtors will owe money to only a handful of creditors. With large-scale enterprises, such as corporate or municipal reorganization, however, the call to notify claimants, shareholders and residents will be much more demanding considering the wealth of people who may have a stake in liquidation or restructuring. As a result, businesses and towns will frequently designate a third-party bankruptcy notice provider (who must directly petition the courts to be recognized as such) as the party responsible for this task. 
Bankruptcy notice providers, who will undoubtedly request material compensation for their services, have experience in compiling lists of known and potential claimants and keeping up with changes in these records over the months, and potentially years, that the case takes. This is only the first step, though. An actual connection must be made with any and all people/organizations that possess a vested interest in the future of this company. In most instances, this will not have to be a physical face-to-face interaction.
However, in the event of litigation where creditors and shareholders may be located throughout the country, bankruptcy notice providers should be capable of initiating and managing print, mail, television, radio, and Internet advertisement campaigns that will publicize the corporation’s declaration of bankruptcy. At the same time, paid bankruptcy notice providers should be able to facilitate one-to-one contact between debtors and creditors as requested, and in a way that respect’s both parties’ privacy. 

Bankruptcy Hotlines
Ideally, a prospective bankruptcy declarer will be able consult with and be represented by a qualified, experienced bankruptcy attorney. As much as bankruptcy hotlines have the propensity to differ, though, their potential for the flow of information is a uniting principle among them.
Chiefly, bankruptcy hotlines open to the public will be of primary benefit to those that call in, as these services will connect people with lawyers and paralegals that have a good to adequate understanding of the law for general purposes. That said, a number of official court websites and other court contacts can direct individuals with pertinent information in suspected instances of fraudulent practices to a fraud hotline upon which the Department of Justice may act if the lead is credible.
Online Resources


At least in the acquisition of basic information about bankruptcy and deciding whether or not this course is the right one, Internet resources (along with genuine legal representation) are potentially very helpful to the computer user. Some of the most accurate bankruptcy-related information
can be gathered from government websites that have a certain degree of application to bankruptcy matters.
Certainly, the official page for the U.S. Court system is quite informative, offering, among other things, a Bankruptcy Basics section replete with easy-to-understand videos that explain bankruptcy to the viewer. SEC.gov, the Securities and Exchange Commission website, has its own synopsis of bankruptcy, imaginably from a corporate/investment slant. Plus, the service known as PACER serves as a database for the affairs of bankruptcy court. 
Of course, government-sponsored resources on the World Wide Web make up only a sliver of what is out there. Some sites, while not affiliated with a federal bureau, still bring a professional attitude to serving the public with bankruptcy information. For instance, many university programs have forged compendiums of bankruptcy law as the legislation reads, most notably the Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute. Meanwhile, other resources are more informal, offering more community-based methods of information sharing, but may yet be fruitful pursuits for the Web surfer and debtor.
Blogs and support groups, for example, have an advantage in that they are not as coldly clinical as more official beacons of bankruptcy information. However, because they are not as vigorously fact-checked as their government counterparts, they are a riskier course of study.

Good Bankruptcy Books

Good Bankruptcy Books

In an effort to capitalize on the rash of bankruptcies in modern times given the uncertain economic direction of our nation, a plethora of sources have sprung up in recent years beckoning consumers to make use of their personal bankruptcy information services.
Many of these unofficial sources that profess to offer professional-caliber advice are websites that yield this information for free, and while this does not imply that their information is patently false, it also does not necessarily mean that these outlets are all that trustworthy. Even if these personal bankruptcy information resources are more accurate, individual debtors may have other issues with these Internet-based guides.
Some bankruptcy petitioners may generally not be comfortable using computers, or otherwise may find it difficult to read for long periods of time on computer screens. Bankruptcy books, on the other hand, do not need to be plugged into the wall to be of use to the prospective bankruptcy filer. They may also be more easily digested and understood in their printed form.
Here are some kinds of bankruptcy books and what to look for in a print publication containing personal bankruptcy information:
Noting how dense the language of the law may be with regard to bankruptcy proceedings, the best bankruptcy books for consumers are going to be those that are understood and well used by their owners. As such, even if a particular text is not wholly comprehensive when it comes to filing for bankruptcy and the statutes behind it, the basic personal bankruptcy information found within may be more valuable to the average reader because it speaks in a language he or she can understand.
One element of good bankruptcy books that is essential for first-time filers and other novices is the inclusion of a glossary of important bankruptcy terms that defines them specifically in terms of bankruptcy law. For example, such a lexicon would be apt to explain the role of the “trustee”. 
The types of texts as described above are indeed largely informative. After all, some may make the case that there is little “razzle and dazzle” when it comes to bankruptcy law. Nevertheless, some bankruptcy books do not serve a general audience, and must be written in a more professional manner. As such, these works will generally feature legal language as it reads (or will be transliterations of bankruptcy codes themselves), and thus, will be geared more towards attorneys.
Certainly, the most confidence-inspiring bankruptcy books will be those advertised by reputable, familiar bankruptcy agencies and services. The American Bar Association, for one, regularly publishes new editions of its guide to credit and bankruptcy information, considering itself a “one-stop shop” of sorts for the customer. Pamphlet-style versions of the Bankruptcy Code and Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure are also updated annually and are available used from bookstores at low prices.
Those who purchase these publications should keep in mind, though, that they are not to be considered a reliable replacement for true legal representation. In other words, these bankruptcy books are a means of finding out some basic personal bankruptcy information, not a be-all-end-all.

All You Need To Know About Bankruptcy Software

All You Need To Know About Bankruptcy Software

For some people, the “do-it-yourself” spirit is strong within them, even when it comes to matters like bankruptcy. Bankruptcy court pro se filings occur by the thousands and the tens of thousands in the United States each year.
Even in the declaration of bankruptcy leading up to appearance of debtors and creditors before the court, the former may insist on completing their documentation without the aid of a paid bankruptcy petition preparer or an attorney, assuming they even wish to have a legal representative when the hearing begins. Of course, this may not exactly mean debtors are taking care of the application submission process totally unassisted.
Quite a few companies sell bankruptcy software directly to the consumer, which almost certainly is bankruptcy filing software in the style of tax filing software. Bankruptcy software such as this has both its good and bad points. Some notes on using bankruptcy filing software:
In truth, bankruptcy software has its clear advantages. Certainly, bankruptcy filing software, manipulated by computer technology rather than ink and paper, has the potential to be much faster than more traditional methods in the right hands, and is likely more explanatory in nature than the forms themselves.
At the very least, a particular bankruptcy software “program” leads the user in a specific step-by-step process to data entry, and therefore, theoretically, the person at the controls should not get lost as easily as when trying to complete forms with no help whatsoever. Additionally, whereas the preparation fee for employing the services of a licensed preparer may cost between $100 and $200, depending on the product, bankruptcy filing software may only set applicants back by half as much money, if that.
For all the good some may see in bankruptcy filing software, this strategy has its limitations. While any calculations performed by a particular piece of bankruptcy software are, barring some catastrophic circumstances with one’s computer, less likely to suffer from error in tabulation than a human’s performance in this same area, if the man or woman at the proverbial helm does not understand the basic underlying concepts behind these operations, all the mathematical exactitude in the world may go for naught.
As with electronic tax programs, these kinds of things are best suited as a check for the work of professionals, and thus, are arguably better served for petition preparers and the like rather than everyday people. 
 As with texts on bankruptcy, the most trustworthy bankruptcy filing software is apt to be the most easily recognizable based on the brand’s reputation and their success in other media. West Publishing, known for its maintenance and publication of versions of the United States Code, also offers CD-ROM software devoted to personal bankruptcy filings containing the requisite petition forms as well as lists of exempt assets and related discussion of real estate law and tax law.
The makers of the Quicken software line and even the mighty Microsoft Corporation have made their own bankruptcy software for the benefit of all audiences.