What Does A ‘Means Test’ Mean To You?

When you hear the word ‘test’ it usually doesn’t give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Typically, when faced with a test of any sort, a physical reaction of sweat, stress, headache and fear sets in. When faced with a potential Chapter 7 bankruptcy debt liquidation filing, you will come to a time for something called a Means Test. New laws have made it necessary for a debtor to take a Means Test to determine if you are eligible to file for Chapter 7. The test takes into consideration your gross income over six months and other factors.

As with any test, the more informed and prepared you are for it, the less tension you usually feel about it. You can’t study for a Means Test, but you can be prepared with specific information that you will need to provide. Some information and steps that you will need to take are: 

  1. You must enter your income and expense information onto a form such as the 122A or 122C forms.
  2. You will need to provide your current monthly income from your personal records and also from the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service.
  3. The test will decide if your income is low enough for you to file Chapter 7 through a formula designed to weed out people with higher incomes from filing for Chapter 7. People who fail this test (due to a higher income) may choose to use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to repay some of their debts. They may not use Chapter 7 to wipe out all of their debts.
  4. It’s important to remember that even if you do qualify to file it does not mean that you should file. 

Any decision to file for bankruptcy should be made with the skillful help of a knowledgeable attorney’s office such as Shepard, Plunkett, & Hamilton, LLC. We are committed to you and all of your legal needs.

Posted on behalf of Shepard, Plunkett and Hamilton, LLP

 

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