Filing Bankruptcy In Missouri?

Are you currently consumed by debt in all directions and thinking about filing bankruptcy in Missouri? Did you recently suffer from a serious illness or injury, leading to increased debt? Have you received a reduction in income?

If so, this article will provide insight into how the bankruptcy process works in the state of Missouri and Kansas.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • 1 What bankruptcy is and how it affects you.
  • 2 The different types of bankruptcy you can file.
  • 3 How the bankruptcy process works in Missouri & Kansas.
  • 4 How to avoid bankruptcy.
  • 5 How to sell your house during bankruptcy.

Let’s get moving, shall we?

What is Bankruptcy?

To summarize, Investopedia defines bankruptcy as “the legal proceeding involving a person or business that is unable to repay outstanding debts. The bankruptcy process begins with a petition filed by the debtor, which is most common, or on behalf of creditors, which is less common. All of the debtor’s assets are measured and evaluated, and the assets may be used to repay a portion of outstanding debt.”

Different Types of Bankruptcies

  • Chapter 7 or “Liquidation Bankruptcy,” is the process of selling personal assets to pay unsecured debts

  • Chapter 13 or “Repayment Plan,” is the process of repaying debt still owed to unsecured creditors.

  • Chapter 11 or “Large Reorganization,” is the process of reorganizing debt for businesses who want to remain afloat but need time to get finances back in order.

  • Chapter 12 or “Family Farmer/Family Fishermen,” is a type of bankruptcy that enables family farmers and fishermen to restructure their debt to avoid liquidation or even foreclosure.

  • Chapter 15 “Cross-Border Cases,” is the process of collecting debts still owed by a debtor from another country.

The two most common types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 & Chapter 13.

Effects of Bankruptcy

  • 1 Liquidate assets. Bankruptcy may force you to liquidate personal assets or household items such as appliances, antiques, jewelry, furniture, books, your house, or car to pay off debts.
  • 2 Credit damage. Bankruptcies stay on your credit report for 7 – 10 years from the date filed. Keep in mind, accounts “discharged” or “included in bankruptcy” will show negatively on your credit report. 
  • 3 Long recovery period. When filing bankruptcy in Missouri or Kansas, your credit will begin to decrease. Making it more difficult for you to rebuild in the future. 
  • 4 Feeling a sense of guilt and embarrassment. Ordinarily, homeowners get this feeling after filing bankruptcy in Missouri or Kansas. Although it may be a tough pill to swallow, it's better than letting debt accumulate. 
  • A serious illness or injury
  • Reduction in pay or hours
  • Loss of job
  • Too much credit debt
  • Divorce or separation
  • Mortgage foreclosure (deficiency judgment)

In this case, you'll want to contact an attorney before filing bankruptcy in Missouri or Kansas. There may be alternatives options based on the information you provide the attorney.

How the Bankruptcy Process Works in Missouri

Filing bankruptcy in Missouri can be a lengthy process depending on your specific situation. Under Missouri law, there are 4 different types of bankruptcy you can file.
  • Chapter 7

  • Chapter 13

  • Chapter 11 

  • Chapter 12 

First, the courts will examine your finances over the last 6 months and compare it to the median income for Missouri residents. If your income is below the median average, you can file chapter 7 bankruptcy. Conversely, if your income exceeds the median average, you will be required to complete the “Missouri Means Test” to file chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Once the courts determines what chapter you can file, the remainder of the process may proceed as follows:

Collect Missouri Bankruptcy Documentation

  • Last 6 months of paycheck stubs
  • Last 6 months of bank statements
  • Last 2 years of tax returns
  • Mortgage & car loan statements
  • Investment & retirement statements
  • Home & car valuations
  • Last 6 months of paycheck stubs
  • Last 6 months of bank statements
  • Last 2 years of tax returns
  • Mortgage & car loan statements
  • Investment & retirement statements
  • Home & car valuations

Credit Counseling

A required course that examines your finances and helps you build a budget to prevent further occurrences. When your course is complete, you’ll receive a credit counseling completion certificate. Online courses are available at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service in Springfield, MO & Joplin, MO.

Complete Bankruptcy Documentation

Hiring an attorney is preferred when filing bankruptcy, but only if you have the financial wherewithal. Otherwise, you will have to submit all the necessary documents on your own.

Learn Federal Poverty Guidelines

If you make more than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, you will be required to pay a filing fee of $335 to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Side note: To stop garnishments, ask the court for an “Installment Agreement” to set up a payment plan for your debts.

File Bankruptcy Documentation

By hiring a bankruptcy attorney, you will not have to submit your documents in person. Consider your options and decide if a bankruptcy attorney is right for you.

Send Documentation to Trustee

Bankruptcy code requires that the appointed trustee receive your most recent federal tax return no later than 7 days before your 341 meeting. Furthermore, be sure to send any other documents requested by the trustee.

Complete Second Bankruptcy Course

In order to receive your discharge order, you must complete the second bankruptcy course. It is worth mentioning that you must take the course from an institution approved to offer it in the state of Missouri or Kansas (depending on where you reside).

Attend Meeting of Creditors “341 Meeting”

Attend your Meeting of Creditors “341 meeting,” which will be held in a meeting room with your trustee present. The trustee will ask you a series of questions to ensure everything was submitted to the creditors, and that there are no claims to pursue.
Depending on your case, your 341 meeting may be somewhat different. Sometimes, your creditors may or may not attend.In a chapter 7 bankruptcy 341 meeting, the trustee will review your documents for fraud and verify whether you can discharge your unsecured debts such as medical bills, credit cards, etc.

In a chapter 13 bankruptcy 341 meeting, the trustee will prioritize your secured debts, structure a repayment plan, and verify you’re paying enough to the creditors you owe. If not, you must attend a “Confirmation Hearing” at a later date and time.

You will need to bring your photo ID, social security card, and bankruptcy documentation with you to your 341 Meeting. If for any reason you are unable to attend, you must notify your trustee immediately to reschedule.

How the Bankruptcy Process Works In Kansas

Filing bankruptcy in Kansas is a similar process to that of Missouri. You must provide your trustee with your bankruptcy documents after your case has been filed. Here is a list of the document you’ll need:
  • Last 6 months of paycheck stubs
  • Last 6 months of bank statements
  • Last 2 years of tax returns
  • Mortgage & car loan statements
  • Investment & retirement statements
  • Home & car valuations
  • List of personal property
  • List of damaged property
  • Credit card, collections & other billing statements
  • Recent credit report (all 3 credit reporting agencies)
  • Valid driver’s license & social security card
  • Credit counseling completion certificate

Credit Counseling

Everyone filing bankruptcy in Kansas and across the US is required to complete the credit counseling course. The class takes approximately 1 – 2 hours to complete, and can be taken online, over the phone, or in person. Courses are available in Salina, KS, and Wichita, KS as well as Lawrence, KS, and Topeka, KS HERE. Once you have completed your course, you will receive a certificate of completion.

Complete Bankruptcy Documentation

If you’re filing bankruptcy in Kansas, you must complete your bankruptcy forms. Those that are filing Chapter 7 can access their forms HERE. If not, contact your local courthouse for more information on how to access them. If you hired an attorney, they will be able to provide you with the documents you need. Be sure to fill everything out correctly so there are no delays in filing your bankruptcy case.

File & Submit Documentation

To file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas, you’ll need to pay $335 in the form of a money order when you complete your documents and finish credit counseling. The court will waive your filing fee if you aren’t receiving enough monthly income. If you cannot file because you are being garnished, ask the court to set up a payment plan. Once you have filed bankruptcy, you will receive protection from the Bankruptcy Court, thereby stopping any subsequent garnishments.

If you are filing bankruptcy in Kansas without an attorney, you will need to sign and submit all the documents on your own and make sure everything is done correctly. The Kansas Bankruptcy Court has 3 locations for you to file, Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita. You will need to bring a valid ID and your bankruptcy documents with you.

If you hired an attorney for your case, they will provide you with the documents you will need to sign.

Send Documentation to Trustee

The court will send you a notice with your trustee’s name and contact information on it after filing bankruptcy in Kansas. Be sure to carefully review anything your trustee sends you. They may request additional documentation such as recent bank statements, paycheck stubs, mortgage statements, and more.

Complete Second Bankruptcy Course

Everyone filing bankruptcy in Kansas must complete the second bankruptcy course. This course teaches individuals how to manage their money going forward, so the same thing doesn’t happen again. To prevent having your case closed, complete your course online or by phone prior to entering discharge. After you have completed your course, file a certificate of completion with the court in Kansas.

Attend 341 Meeting

The last and final step is to go to court and attend your 341 meeting. These meetings typically last 10 minutes and involve the trustee asking you a series of questions while you’re under oath to check the validity of your claim. Sometimes, your creditors may be present during your meeting to ask you questions as well, but this is highly unlikely.

How to Avoid Bankruptcy

Liquidate Some of Your Assets

Selling some of your belongings can be a great way to free up additional cash to pay off your debts. When you start to fall behind, immediately recognize the problem, then begin to look for a solution. If you wait too long, your credit score will be on the receiving end of substantial damage.

Review Your Expenses

Going over your bank statements allows you to see how you’re spending your money. It may be difficult because you don’t feel comfortable, but it will save you heartache in the future. If you find anything concerning, consider eliminating those expenses altogether.

Contact Your Creditors For Help

If you’re having trouble paying your debts, contact your creditors to see how they can help you. You may qualify for a lesser monthly payment, interest rate, or possibly even both.

Find a Qualified Credit Counselor

If you need additional assistance, seek counsel from a qualified credit counselor. A credit counselor can be a great source of knowledge if you want to structure a debt management plan for your debts or get insight on how to avoid financial hardships.

Get Help From Family and Friends

Borrowing money from family and friends can be a great way to avoid bankruptcy if you’re able to repay them. Calculate your total debts and ask a family member or friend if you can borrow money until you get back on your feet.

Settle With Creditors and Debt Collectors

Oftentimes, circumstances may require you to settle your debts with creditors and debt collectors to avoid bankruptcy. This should be a last resort if bankruptcy is your only other option. Contact the creditors in which you owe and find out what the settlement amount is. Once the agreement is final, pay the settlement amount in full.

How to Sell your House during Bankruptcy

You can sell your house while in bankruptcy, but you will need to work closely with your attorney. Once you locate a buyer and agree on a purchase price, you’re going to need to get the contract approved by the bankruptcy court. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 work differently, so be sure to consult with your attorney for more information.

The request to sell your house will be presented to the judge assigned to your case, and notice must be given to the trustee as well as your creditors. Then, your attorney will draft a “motion to sell” in compliance with Missouri or Kansas law.

Keep in mind that there are federal guidelines that govern bankruptcy. Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure clearly state that the court cannot grant relief on motions to sell for the first 20 days of the case. Therefore, if you have a buyer lined up to purchase the property, and you’ve already filed bankruptcy, you ought to let them know what’s going on. You don’t want your buyer upset because you failed to disclose information.

If you’re looking for a REAL, accredited local buyer in Kansas City, we are here for you.

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