Required Forms & Fees
Each court has its own local rules, but the basic bankruptcy consists of the forms you see listed in the outline below, plus any additional forms the California Northern District Bankruptcy Court may require.
Also, be sure to check the California Northern District Bankruptcy Court page for Filing Without An Attorney. It will guide you to helpful information about how to use the forms.
Timeliness note: Always check that the date on the form you're using is the date of the form your court currently requires -- or will require in the future, on the date you're planning to file. Each form has a a month and year in the upper right corner.
Sometimes forms are updated and change several times during a year, and other times there may be no changes for a year or more. We make every effort to keep the links on this page up to date, but it's essential that you confirm with the California Northern District Bankruptcy Court that you are using what they consider to be the current version of all forms.
Basic Forms You Will Need In Any Court
The information below is based on the official bankruptcy form instructions booklet for individuals (PDF 119K) that the government is providing for the first time as of December 1, 2015.
Before You File Your Case
Before you file for bankruptcy, you must do several things:
- Receive a briefing about credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days before you file. (If you and your spouse are filing together, each of you must receive a briefing before you file. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of your case.) You may have a briefing about credit counseling one-on-one or in a group, by telephone, or by internet.
For a list of approved credit counselling providers, go here:
In Alabama and North Carolina, go here:
After you finish the briefing, you will receive a certificate that you will need to file in your bankruptcy case.
- Find out in which bankruptcy court you must file your bankruptcy case. It is important that you file in the correct district within your state. To find out which district you are in, go to Santa Clara County Bankruptcy Court Info:
- Check the local court’s website for any specific local requirements that you might have to meet. Go to Santa Clara County Bankruptcy Court Info:
- Find out which chapters of the Bankruptcy Code you are eligible for. For descriptions of each chapter, review the information contained in the notice, Notice Required by 11 U.S.C. § 342(b) for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Form B2010), which is included in this booklet: Instructions for Individual Debtors (PDF).
When You File Your Case
There are several forms and documents that you must give the court at the time you file. Additional forms and documents must be filed no later than 14 days after you file your bankruptcy case, although they may be filed at the same time you file your case.
You must file the forms listed below on the date you open your bankruptcy case. For copies of the forms listed here, go to http://www.uscourts.gov/FormsAndFees/Forms/Bankru ptcyForms.aspx. (The list continues on the next page.):
Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Official Form 101). This form opens the case. Directions for filling it out are included in the form itself.
Statement About Your Social Security Numbers (Official Form 121). This form gives the court your full Social Security number or federal Individual Taxpayer Identification number. To protect your privacy, the court will make only the last four digits of your number known to the general public. However, the court will make your full number available to your creditors, the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator, and the trustee assigned to your case. This form has no separate instructions.
Your filing fee. If you cannot pay the entire filing fee, you must also include:
- A list of names and addresses of all of your creditors, formatted as a mailing list according to instructions from the bankruptcy court in which you file. (Your court may call this a creditor matrix or mailing matrix.)
- Your credit counseling certificate from an approved credit counseling agency. (See Before you file your bankruptcy case, above). If you have received the briefing about credit counseling but have not yet received the certificate, file it no later than 14 days after you file for bankruptcy. If you have not already received the briefing and believe you are entitled to a temporary waiver from receiving it or that you are not required to receive the briefing, see line 15 of the Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Official Form 101).
- For Individual Chapter 11 Cases: List of Creditors Who Have the 20 Largest Unsecured Claims Against You and Are Not Insiders (Official Form 104). Fill out this form only if you file under chapter 11.
- Initial Statement About an Eviction Judgment Against You (Official Form 101A) and Statement About Payment of an Eviction Judgment Against You (Official Form 101B). Use Form 101A if your landlord has an eviction judgment against you. If you complete Form 101A and you want to stay in your residence for the first 30 days after you file, you must indicate that on the form. Use Form 101B if you have completed Form 101A and you want to stay in your rented residence form more than 30 days after you file for bankruptcy.
- Bankruptcy Petition Preparer’s Notice, Declaration, and Signature (Official Form 119) and Disclosure of Compensation of Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (Form 2800). Use these forms if a bankruptcy petition preparer typed your forms.
When you file your bankruptcy case or within 14 days after you file
You must file the forms listed below either when you file your bankruptcy case or within 14 days after you file your Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Official Form 101). If you do not do so, your case may be dismissed. Although it is possible to open your case by submitting only the documents that are listed under When you file your bankruptcy case, you should file the entire set of forms at one time to help your case proceed smoothly.
Although some forms may ask you similar questions, you must fill out all of the forms completely to protect your legal rights.
The list below shows the forms that all individuals must file as well as the forms that are specific to each chapter. For copies of the official forms listed here, go to http://www.uscourts.gov.
All individuals who file for bankruptcy must file these forms and the forms for the specific chapter:
Schedules of Assets and Liabilities (Official Form 106) which includes these forms:
If you file under chapter 7, you must also file:
If you file under chapter 13, you must also file:
Free PDF Downloadable Bankruptcy Forms
Can't find what you're looking for? Additional forms can be found at the official forms page forms provided by the US Court system. All bankruptcy forms available for free as Adobe Acrobat (PDF) forms. Source: USCourts.gov
Can't find what you're looking for? Additional forms can be found at the official forms page forms provided by the US Court system. All bankruptcy forms available for free as Adobe Acrobat (PDF) forms.
Getting help with forms and filing
Official Instructions and Committee Reports
Instructions are easier to come by than they used to be. The official U.S. Court website now offers instructions with these forms.
In addition they offer a link to the congressional committee reports that were written at the time the forms were created and revised. These committee reports are not step-by-step instructions, but rather a broad description of the purpose of each form.
Books that provide instructions for filling in official forms
The legal publisher Nolo publishes a comprehensivebankruptcy form instruction book (which I co-author). This book takes you through each form, line by line, explains what the terminology means, and provides examples. It also alerts you to situations that may require more help.
There are several software products designed for lawyers that will prepare full sets of bankruptcy forms, but these programs assume you already know bankruptcy law and are designed for filing multiple bankruptcies. In short, they're not appropriate for first-time bankruptcy filers.
There are also a few packages purportedly offered for consumers. Proceed with caution. Some of these packages are little more than PDF versions of the forms, which are are available free from the courts themselves.
If you are not a lawyer, the only value of these products would depend on the quality of the instructions they provide. You'll need instructions on how to complete each form, as well as a good understanding of how each form fits into the larger process of filing for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Petition Preparers (BPP)
Bankruptcy Petition Preparers (BPPs) are nonlawyers who offer help in filling in the forms. The latest revision of the bankruptcy laws formally recognized these services as legitimate, but also imposed severe restrictions on what they can charge and scope of the services they can perform.
What BPPs Can't Do
Lawyers have jealously guarded their turf when it comes to bankruptcy. Lawyers already lost this battle in the area of tax preparation. Today, non-lawyer tax preparers openly advertise the good advice they can give you in addition to completing your forms. BPPs can do no such thing when it comes to bankruptcy forms.
Under the new bankruptcy law, BPPs must give debtors a form that lists all the things BPPs can't do (form 19B), and all the topics they can't discuss -- basically anything that might be characterized as legal advice. Thus, the sort of tips that tax preparers commonly give to people when preparing their taxes, BPPs can't give when bankruptcy forms. (Some believe this raises profound First Amendment and restraint of trade issues.)
How to File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (HFB book) will not give you specific advice, either, but it does discuss important facts to consider in making the kinds of decisions listed the following table:
|What BPPs can't do (language of Form B 19)
||Where topic is covered in HFB Book.
|I am forbidden
to offer you any legal advice, including advice about any of the following:
|• whether to file a petition under the Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.);
||Whether you should file for bankruptcy
||Ch. 1 (free sample chapter)
|• whether commencing a case under chapter 7, 11, 12, or 13 is appropriate;
||What kind of bankruptcy you should file for
||Ch. 1 (free sample chapter)
|• whether your debts will be eliminated or discharged in a case under the Bankruptcy Code;
||Which debts are non-dischargeable, secured, etc.
||Ch's. 9, 5
|• whether you will be able to retain your home, car, or other property after commencing a case
under the Bankruptcy Code;
|Whether you'll lose your house, car, or other property
||Chs. 3, 4, 5
|• concerning the tax consequences of a case brought under the Bankruptcy Code;
|• concerning the dischargeability of tax claims;
||Whether or not your tax debts will be wiped out
|• whether you may or should promise to repay debts to a creditor or enter into a reaffirmation
agreement with a creditor to reaffirm a debt;
|Which secured loans are worth hanging onto, versus other options (e.g. surrendering property)
|• concerning how to characterize the nature of your interests in property or your debts; or
||Whether property is exempt
into which exemption category a particular item fits
|Ch. 3, 4
|• concerning bankruptcy procedures and rights.
||What happens in bankruptcy; what are your rights