Lawyer for Bankruptcy Sends Debtors to School

July 20, 2013 10:36 am Published by

Filing personal bankruptcy in Indiana means “going back to school”. Twice, actually. That’s because, as the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website explains, “If you plan to file for bankruptcy protection, you must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within 180 days before your file.” Then, before the bankruptcy process ends with a discharge, there’s a second debtor education course.

We know.  In fact, at the Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices, where we’ve been offering Indiana bankruptcy help for over twenty-six years, we know that, despite the constant changes that have taken place in the bankruptcy system over that time, debtor education remains an important element in the process. Whatever route a client in Indiana is taking, whether bankruptcy Chapter 7 in Indiana or whether she's filing under Chapter 13 bankruptcy law in Indiana – a debtor must obtain credit counseling from a source approved by the United States Trustee.  That’s the reason that one of the ways we serve our clients is by making this accredited course easily available at our offices.

With Bloomington, Indiana being such a big education town, sometimes my colleagues the Bloomington bankruptcy lawyers need to remind clients that not every course they find is approved by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program.  Only counselors and educators who appear on the U.S. Trustee lists are allowed to advertise that they are approved to provide counseling and debtor education.

Sometimes, I need to explain to clients that there’s no such thing as a “two-fer” when it comes to debtor education.  Yes, there are two parts to the course, but even though they may want to save money and time by taking both parts at the same time, they can’t. Credit counseling must take place before filing individual bankruptcy in Indiana.  Then, the debtor education course has to take place AFTER you file.

Afraid of a big time commitment? Afraid you might need to take off work just when the financial pressure is already so high? Afraid you’ll need to find sitters for a month?.  Afraid the course is going to be in a big, embarrassing, group meeting? None of those things is real. The pre-bankruptcy counseling session, which can take place on the phone or in person, is often done from the comfort of your home.  The session lasts an hour to an hour and a half, and includes the following:

  • Going over your personal financial situation
  • Discussion possible alternatives to bankruptcy
  • A personal budget plan

The entire process is based on very sound principles, things I, as a longtime debt consolidation lawyer, strongly believe in.  Before anybody files bankruptcy, they need to sit down and talk to an experienced debt professional.  Only then can they be in a position to make an informed choice.



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This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

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