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Advice on filing for my brother

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  • Advice on filing for my brother

    Hey all,

    My younger brother made a foolish decision to get a truck when he was 18 and was approved by the local car company without a cosigner. Of course he ended up quitting his restaurant job a short while later and I can't remember if they repo'd the truck or if he turned it in voluntarily, but long story short they turned it to a collection agency and now he's received a summons. He never changed his mailing address so they delivered it to my father's house. He works in a factory, brings home less than $2k a month if I'm not mistaken, and rents an apartment with his girlfriend. She pays a smaller share of rent/utilities. Doesn't have money for a lawyer and I'm fairly confident I can help him through this. I have a packet from Staples with the forms and directions and he should be getting me the rest of his documents tomorrow.

    He met with an attorney who could file Chapter 7 for $1,000 which he doesn't have, and the other one takes payments but charges $2,000. He works in a factory and they've slowed down at the moment, although a couple of months ago he had some fat paychecks--I don't think it's enough to disqualify him from Ch 7 but I really want to do the Means Test to be sure. They had a lot of overtime for a while but as slow as it is now he works 3 days a week at ~$12/hr, 36 hours a week.

    My brother has no assets beyond a junker of a car, three or four guns, his clothes, fishing poles... Most of the home furnishings belong to his GF. Since he has so few assets I'm thinking the paperwork shouldn't be too difficult to fill out. He's scared he'll lose his guns though, they're about the only possessions he has that hold any meaning to him.

    From what I've read Indiana opted out of Federal bankruptcy exemptions, and under Indiana's Wildcard exemption he can exempt up to $9,350 in property/possessions. Is this correct? Is there any chance that they would seize his guns? I doubt he has over $3,000 in property, honest to god. The car was bought by my father for less than $1,000 and is in bad shape, but I it's in my brothers name. The guns were maybe $150-$200 a piece. He has a cheap grill, and two small kayaks but again they might total $350. From my understanding, any and all property up to what's specified by the Wildcard can be exempt, correct?

    He has a few other credit cards that he wants to discharge, also from when he turned 18, along with what he owes for the car. The attorney seemed to think it'd be best to file Ch7 since he's young and will bounce back with a clean slate. And now I'm stressing out, afraid I'll make one little typo and the whole thing gets dismissed... He just made full-time recently and his prospects were looking up, now his past comes back to haunt him and I feel sorry for him. He knows he messed up. I think I can help him. The directions booklet seems very straightforward, and the Internet is a great resource as well.

    edit: I forgot to ask--how should he respond to the summons? Can we file the Voluntary Petition and simply tell/show the judge when he goes to court in a week or two?

    Thanks for any and all advice,
    Last edited by dcr0w; 08-26-2014, 11:07 PM. Reason: clarity

  • #2
    From what I found, In. has a $9350 wc:

    That should cover all of his assets. Don't forget to properly exempt any income tax refund he'll receive when he files his 2014 taxes.
    Also, be sure he takes the Credit Counseling corse prior to filing and the debt management course required prior to discharge.

    Once you file the petition and get a filing number, notice the plantiffs attorney and,file a suggestion of bk with the court he's being sued in. Since this is all pro se, I'd also show up in court with proof of the bk filing just to be sure.


    • #3
      And I'm correct in that there is no way for the trustee to seize exempt assets under the $9350 wc?

      He's going to take the Credit Counseling course tonight and I'll be sure to have him take the debt management course as well.

      I'm afraid his court date will be before we get any of the paperwork sent in. What are his options when he shows up in court, if we haven't had a chance to file yet?


      • #4
        If the assets are below the wc, the trustee shouldn't be able to touch them.
        Were I your brother I'd file a response denying/have no recollection of the claims based on the information available to him and seek a continuance.


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