LegalConsumer.com has provided free bankruptcy information to more than 10 million consumers since 2006, and the Free Means Test Calculator (May, 15 2021 Edition) has helped hundreds of thousands of consumers figure out where they stand in relation to the bankruptcy means test, created by the 2005 BAPCPA bankruptcy act.
The content of this website is updated as time permits. It's is up to you to contact your local court and confirm and update any information you need.
In addition to the means test calculator, this site has answers to your questions about bankruptcy:
Select Your State
Steps for filing bankruptcy in your state, from learning whether you qualify, to completing and filing bankruptcy forms, to discharging your debts and getting on with your life.
A mathematical formula—called the means test—determines whether you qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in your state.
If your creditors will negotiate, if bankruptcy can't cancel most of your debts, or if you're truly broke, bankruptcy may not be the best solution for you. Here's how to decide.
How Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you cancel your debts, protect your exempt property, and stop bill collectors.
You can use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to get out from under the burden of your debts, protect important property, and stop bill collectors.
Tips for keeping bankruptcy costs down, from court filing fees to mandatory counseling costs to getting legal help.
Most people file for bankruptcy in the federal district court closest to where they've lived for the past six months.
The Means Test Calculator is an automated version of the official three-part test form. Just choose your zip code, and the calculator applies the relevant state median income and county living standards, based on the number of persons in your household, your marital status and what county you live in.
The means test initially looks to see if your household income is above or below median for a household your size in your state.
The means test spans three forms and more than 50 questions about your income and expenses. Here's a line by line TOC with direct links to our Means Test Calculator.
The bankruptcy means test was added to US bankruptcy law in 2005 as part of the credt-card-industry sponsored bankruptcy law to weed out so-called "bankruptcy-abusers" -- hence the language about a "presumption of abuse" (just to make you feel extra ashamed for exercising your right to bankruptcy!).
Federal bankruptcy law has its own list of exemptions 11 U.S.C. § 522, but some states require you to use only the state law exemptions instead, while other states offer a choice of the state or federal exemptions. Find out what your state does.
A quick summary of the main exemptions under your state law.
The Federal Government adjusts Federal exemption amounts every three years. Does your state adjust exemption amounts?
Some exemptions exist under Federal law, wholly separate from the bankruptcy code, and protect such assets from the reach of creditors regardless of whether bankruptcy is at issue. These exemptions can be claimed in anyone, regardless of whether you are using state exemptions, and regardless of wheter a state has 'opted out' of the federal bankruptcy exemptions under § 522(d)..
How much of your home equity is protected if you file for bankruptcy in your state?
Most states have exemptions for life insurance but it's important to figure out what part of the insurance is exempt.
How much equity in your car or truck can you protect if you file for bankruptcy in your state?
Retirement accounts that are recognized by the IRS are exempt by law in bankruptcy up to over a million dollars. State law may provide additional protection for specific kinds of pensions, under state law.
Most states allow an exemption for "tools of trade or profession"... this can include tools, books, even vehicles. Sometimes can be an alternative to the motor vehicle exemption.
Wages are protected by federal non bankruptcy law, and by state wage garnishment laws, which are generally more generous than the Federal wage garnishment protection. There are typically exceptions to this exemption for things like child support, and other priority debts.
Almost every state has an exemption for "any property" which is sometimes called the "wildcard" or "grubsteak" exemption. Generally this exemption is useful because it can be combined with other exemptions to fully protect equity that might otherwise go unprotected.
What you need to know about how to get information you need bankruptcy court and what you're likely to encounter on court websites
Your questions about bankruptcy forms
Here are ten ways that a bankruptcy lawyer can help guide you through the bankruptcy process to make sure you take maximum advantage of what the law offers debtors.
If you need clerical help -- not legal help -- a bankruptcy petition preparer can produce your bankruptcy court forms for a reasonable fee.
Congress made a few important changes to the bankruptcy laws. Here’s a summary of what’s changed.
The CARES Act made an important change to the means test form to indicate that payments under the CARES act are NOT included in determining median income. This could be a great boon to those thinking of filing.
Consumer bankruptcy filing reached a 34 year low in 2020, because forbearance and other programs prevented the normal collection efforts, like wage garnishment and foreclosure, — the things that usually prompt people to recognize how dire their situation is — prompting them to file. Whether the timing for filing for bankruptcy is now or later, the time to talk to a bankruptcy attorney IS NOW, so you can take full advantage of the financial protections that bankruptcy law can provide, and avoid common financial mistakes in the year to 18 months before filing, that may cause you to lose assets you could otherwise keep in bankruptcy.
We've gathered links to best information on the web on the subject of COVID-19 legislation and resources that can help you keep your home during this economic crisis. We've gathered the best stuff all into the one article. -- Bookmark this page. We will revise it as we find new sources
The best of what's out there on the web about how to use bankruptcy law to protect your assets during the Covid-19 recession.
Can bankruptcy help stop an eviction? Well, it can delay it, for an extra month or two, in some cases, in some states, if you file early enough in the eviction process. And bankruptcy can be part of a broader financial strategy to keep a roof over your head. But you'll want to see a lawyer sooner rather than later to take full advantage of your options.
Find out how the CDC eviction ban works in your state. We're tracking down the latest tools and information on the internet or you to use.
What We're Reading about Bankruptcy, Debt and Credit. Timely, useful articles, from reliable sources.
Where to read up on news about about debt, credit, and bankruptcy.
Economic Statistics that relate to bankruptcy, such as savings rates, default rates, and outstanding consumer debt, secured and unsecured, like credit card debt, student loan debt, and auto loans.
Good videos and audio information about bankruptcy, for those who listen better than they read...
If there's changes in your state’s exemptions, here's where you'll find out about them.
What we're Tweeting, in our twitter accounts @meanstest (for bankruptcy) and @lawbyzip
The latest from our blog on news and legislation that affects consumers.