In a Nutshell: Nolo.com is an award-winning legal website that offers books, software, do-it-yourself documents, and thousands of free articles regarding any legal matter. Nolo’s best-selling book “How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” is an essential guide for anyone looking to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, and it provides all of the legal forms and documents required to do so.
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, you’re likely at the end of your financial rope. The decision to file may stem from a feeling of hopelessness and a sense that there’s nothing left to do – the burden of your debts is a load you’re no longer willing to bear. But filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy isn’t a decision you want to make based on your emotions.
If you file, your credit score will take a major hit, and any assets you have may be liquidated (sold) to repay your creditors. Bankruptcy is a complicated legal procedure that involves court appearances, credit counseling, and a lot of paperwork, time, and patience.
If you’re looking to navigate these waters on your own, which is known to the courts as filing pro-se (without a lawyer), you need some legal know-how to help guide you through the process. Though an attorney can be particularly helpful, filing pro-se is beneficial for those who cannot afford the cost of one.
Nolo Law for All is dedicated to bringing easy-to-understand legal information to the masses, including its own best-selling book “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.”
Nolo’s Book “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” is Your Guide to a Fresh Start
Nolo has been publishing expert, do-it-yourself guides since 1971, with a mission to “help consumers and small businesses find answers to their everyday legal and business questions.” Today, Nolo.com is an award-winning website that provides free legal information on a vast range of topics, including an abundance of bankruptcy and debt management resources.
In addition to thousands of articles on the site, Nolo has published books that guide consumers through legal matters without having to consult an attorney — including “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” and other books about bankruptcy.
Learn if Bankruptcy is Right for You, How to Rebuild Afterward & More
“How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” is a Nolo best-selling book that teaches you how to successfully complete a bankruptcy case on your own by showing you how to:
- Decide if bankruptcy is right for you
- Complete bankruptcy court forms
- Prepare for the meeting of creditors
- Cancel as much debt as possible
- Keep as much property as you can
- Deal with secured debts
- Keep your home if possible
- Rebuild credit afterward
The book is currently available in its 19th edition, as it is regularly updated with the latest laws and information.
“The 19th edition – updated with samples of the latest legal forms, plus changes to laws and important cases – includes easy-to-use charts that make looking up the law a snap,” according to Nolo.com.
Equipped with Free Worksheets, Charts, and Forms You Need to File
Contained within “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” are the required forms and documents you’ll need to file successfully:
- Voluntary Petition
- Statement of Financial Affairs
- Statement of Intention
- Statement of Social Security Number
- The Means Test Forms
- Form 201A and 201B
- Creditor Mailing List
- Current Monthly Income Worksheet
- And more
All of the forms are available for download online after you receive the book. The URL to access the forms is located in Appendix B.
Nolo Explains 4 Common Reasons for Filing Bankruptcy
The first chapter of the book explains that you shouldn’t feel guilty about bankruptcy, and it states that studies have shown these are the most common reasons for filing:
- Job loss, followed by an inability to find work that pays nearly as well
- Medical expenses that aren’t reimbursed by insurance or government programs
- Divorce or legal separation
- Small business failures
“Readily available credit often makes it easy to live beyond our means and difficult to resist the siren songs of the advertisers. If, because of illness, loss of work, or just plain bad planning, we can’t pay for the things we need, feelings of fear and guilt are often our first responses. But, as we’ve also seen, the American economy has depended on our spending—the more, the better. In short, much of American economic life is built on a contradiction.” — Chapter 1: Should You File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 1 goes on to explain that large creditors actually expect defaults and bankruptcies and are able to afford them because of their large profit margins. So don’t be so hard on yourself — this can be your chance for a fresh start, and “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” will teach you how to re-establish your credit after your bankruptcy.
The Difference Between Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as a liquidation bankruptcy. This is because your assets are liquidated to pay back your creditors, and your unsecured debts are wiped clear. Many times, debtors do not have any assets. This does not mean you do not qualify to file; it just means the creditors receive nothing.
However, there are income limitations to filing for Chapter 7. If you have any disposable income, you will likely have to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is known as a reorganization bankruptcy. Instead of wiping your unsecured debts free and clear, you work with your creditors to develop a repayment plan over the course of three to five years to pay back at least a portion of your debts.
If you’re unsure which bankruptcy option is best for you, Nolo’s book “The New Bankruptcy” can help you decide whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is better suited for your situation.
How to Get the Book and Other Helpful Materials
A hard copy of “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” is available on Nolo.com for $34.99, or a downloadable eBook is available for $27.99.
Nolo has additional reading materials that can help anyone dealing with bankruptcy, debt, or other credit and money troubles. “Credit Repair” and “Solve Your Money Troubles” are two books available on the site that will teach you how to clean up your credit, create a budget, stop collector harassment and more. These books can be purchased as a bundle for $29.99.
Nolo.com also offers software, do-it-yourself forms and documents, and thousands of free articles written in easy-to-understand English.