In today’s high tech era, many people wonder if they may file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy electronically. Yes, they can.
It used to be that filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy was a very long process and considered to be expensive. The main reason it was expensive was the amount of running around the debtor had to do, making hundreds of photocopies of various documents and ensuring they were mailed to every creditor you owed money. For some, that was a long list and postage added to their expenses. While much of this running around still needs to be done, depending on the circumstances of the case, thanks to technology, debtors may file from home using their personal computer.
It should be understood that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy, banishes most debts. For the exceptions, you would need to speak with an experienced Iowa bankruptcy lawyer. That out of the way, and knowing you are eligible to file, you may now electronically sign and file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.
Following that, the process from start to eventual finish, is the same. Once the debtor had filed, all the applicant’s assets become the property of the bankruptcy estate, and a trustee is assigned to administer that estate and sell nonexempt property to pay unsecured creditors.
Many debtors wishing to file electronically ask the about the requirement that bankruptcy documents must be signed, and whether or not by filing via the Internet would be committing perjury. While the law does specifically state that each debtor must sign their petition, those filing electronically are assigned a login and unique password that becomes their signature. Your Iowa bankruptcy lawyer will also instruct you that if you efile, your documents need to have /s/ on them, followed by your typed name.
In the United States, efiling is done under the auspices of a program called the Case Management/Electronic Case Filing system. This system is under the purview of the federal judiciary, and using this system allows a debtor to submit just about every item they need relevant to their case 24/7.
Many debtors are concerned about the lack of privacy when it comes to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as once they do file it becomes a matter of public record. Anyone may access the online, signed forms through a system called the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). This is largely used as a search program, and debtors cannot file their bankruptcy documents this way. For more information on what this may mean to you, speak to a seasoned Iowa bankruptcy lawyer.