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Some things im learning along the way

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    Some things im learning along the way

    This thread will document some things I learn along the Pro Se way for Chapter 7.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

    (Mods: please delete this thread if it is inappropriate to share this kind of content in this forum)

    With that said here are some observations

    Study the rules of the game:

    Its necessary to familiarize myself with the rules that govern bankruptcy. One set of rules is the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy procedure . Also look into the local court rules in my county/state. And any other rules about rules and procedures and evidence and case law and US Trustee advisories and on and on and on... (!)

    As a Pro Se, the first step is the filings. I learned of Rule 1009. Amendments of Voluntary Petitions, Lists, Schedules and Statements which reads in part:

    (a) General Right To Amend. A voluntary petition, list, schedule, or statement may be amended by the debtor as a matter of course at any time before the case is closed. The debtor shall give notice of the amendment to the trustee and to any entity affected thereby. On motion of a party in interest, after notice and a hearing, the court may order any voluntary petition, list, schedule, or statement to be amended and the clerk shall give notice of the amendment to entities designated by the court.

    I understand this to mean that one has a right to make changes to the petition, list, schedule, or statements by filing amendment 'as a matter of course at any time before the case is closed'. I understand that to mean, I can change it without motion to court, as many times as I want, at any time before case is closed. And notice SHALL be given to trustee and 'any entity affected thereby'.

    I further researched this and found to exercise this privilege with great caution lest it be interpreted suspiciously. In short, strive to get it right the first time

    But it is a saving grace if one has to further modify assets, income, expenses, expenses, etc. The petition and schedules is not locked in once and done.

    Again, if you can afford an attorney they will be the best first choice. I am not a lawyer and this not legal advice.
    Last edited by bornfree2; 02-18-2022, 08:22 AM.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

    Finding a lawyer
    1. Since BK filings are public, one can find bankruptcy lawyers within the filings. Disclosed are their fees, contact information, and case activity (the court docket). BK filings can be found on many online sources starting with the official source PACER. A good free alternative is I have found many filings with their RECAP (pacer backwards ;) service. Ive posted about that here and here
    2. Obviously google is a starting point... but keep in mind Search Engine Optimization techniques are used to float certain law firms higher and some may not show up at all.
    3. Research the attorney with review sites and esp the bar association. Do they have complaints against them? Are they recently in business? Is BK a side thing for them?
    4. Lots of other ways ... there is no shortage of lawyers nowdays lol. But which is good and matches my needs?
    Last edited by bornfree2; 02-18-2022, 07:45 AM.


      Useful tool of the day: Date Calculator
      The Date Calculator adds or subtracts days, weeks, months and years from a given date.

      In my understanding, a critical event is the date/time a Voluntary Petition (Form 101) was filed. Everything centers about events before that date and after. Hypothetical example: if I filed on 1st of the year, my prefile financial life would be everything that date/time and the past. Anything after that file date/time would be my new financial life outside the BK estate. (yes if I find a copper penny on the street once filing, I can keep it!! find more and I may be able to make a battery, a viral youtube DIY video, and I am on the road to riches again /s)

      In my research ive seen mention of time like 90 days before filing, 60 days, 1 year, 2 years, etc.
      Or dates ahead like 60 days after 341 filing, 14 days after a skeletal filing, etc.

      Thus its critical to have a date calculator to establish exactly when these things occurred or will occur. provides a way to enter the start date and any number of days/months/years ahead or behind.

      In hypothetical example above of a 1-1-2022

      90 days prior = October 3, 2021
      6 months prior = July 1, 2021
      1 year prior = January 1, 2021 (shocker!)
      2 year prior = January 1, 2020 (complex math!)
      Last edited by bornfree2; 02-18-2022, 08:45 AM.


        regarding money received under CARES act or American Rescue Plan Act:


        Nolo article: 2021 COVID-19 Stimulus "Recovery Rebate" Bankruptcy Exemption


          I can do this. I CAN do this. I can DO IT. Get 'er done!

          YOU, reader from the future, can also do this.

          Its overwhelming....Sooo many forms. So many pages and books to study. Questions to ask. Leads to follow. So much documentation to dig up.

          Its embarrassing... So much public disclosure and reactions from family members. Regret of useless things around that allowed the debt to enslave you. So many painful mistakes to grieve.

          Its infuriating.... So much red tape, processes, fees, procedures, greedy banks, the handing over of your entire estate to strangers who just understand number not the lives behind it.

          Its anxiety and depression... sleepless nights over creditor harassment, what ifs, a cycle of steady logic then despair when finding out loose ends

          I then laugh and remind myself this is all just a big legal fiction. We consensually agree to the rules, the 'debt'. A martian visiting us would laugh how intelligent beings are so downcast over numerical fictions that trip themselves up.

          I remind myself the future HAS to be better, if I apply calm, focused energy to the goals and outcomes.

          I remind myself once I file, the new future can begin and my chance to rid myself of this cancer and bloodsuckers will be reality.

          It wont be easy. The hogs are never content. Stand your ground, fight and push back. We have rights. Know your rights. We live in a nation with the most amazing constitution originated from 'We the People' not 'we the banks'.

          I am not alone. This suffering is not unique. Remember who Im doing this for. Nothing is permanent. Change will happen on me or by. I have choice. You have choice.

          I remind myself, one day I will have a final post on this thread declaring VICTORY!

          And that day and through out I will give thanks and praise to my God who is the best defense money cant buy.

          So yes, I can do this. YOU can do this. Get 'er done! Slow and steady wins the race.
          Last edited by bornfree2; 02-21-2022, 05:59 PM.


            Private Trustee Information from Dept Justice

            Some interesting information from the perspective of Trustee ...

            CHAPTER 7 HANDBOOKS & REFERENCE MATERIALSThe reports trustee files at the end of their investigation. Its all boiled down into this:FAQ For Trustees - lots of good info here on recommended protocols
            Last edited by bornfree2; 02-21-2022, 09:44 PM.


              Quicken Deluxe FTW

              It has pretty much everything I need to help collect the information for claims, property, income, expenses and even a nifty home inventory feature for my exemption analysis. Note I said 'collect information'. It obviously wont fill out the form but i now have all the scattered info in one place.

              In addition, the address book feature is a perfect place to build out my creditor matrix!

              Ill be importing the csv files my online accounts provide and i should get a very nice 6-1 year summary of all my activity. Perfect for any in depth questions trustee or others may ask.

              The big chore will be the huge amount of cash receipts I have. But hey, this will help come tax time as well

              It now out of my head and in one central place. I wish I thought of this much earlier in the process.


                My method for going through tangible personal property

                Im building an home inventory list for property to claim an exempt. Im going room by room (ie kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, drawers, on the desk, etc) and using a voice recorder (i.e app on phone), I am narrating what I see and inspecting it for brand names/model numbers, condition, etc.

                (EDIT: you can do this with a video recording and narrate. Probably better than my original method I was using in the kitchen...)

                I ask myself 'if the house was on fire, and i could magically teleport it away, what would I want to save?'.

                That prioritizes my focus to items of higher personal value.

                I also ask 'what do i use everyday?' that floats up things like dishes, knives, cooking pans, equipment'.

                Its opposite the Konmari approach of discarding everything based on 'what sparks joy' (wut??) to 'what do i have to can maintain my standard of living')

                (when you got nothing, replacing these first world conveniences are expensive)

                I then take the narration recording, and type it out into a home inventory list (im using quicken, but i also found templates form home/renter insurance sites like this one or google images for 'renters insurance inventory template')

                At this point im not going to bother with researching values.. esp if its household that in my state is exempt to unstated amount (i.e unlimited) as long as the individual item doesnt go above an amount)

                This is probably going to take a long time, so thats why the 'tell the recorder what you dont want to loose in a fire' mind hack will at least give me the inital broad strokes.
                Last edited by bornfree2; 02-23-2022, 01:06 PM.


                  Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer/accountant, and this is not legal/accounting advice.

                  Talking to the tax man

                  In order to get the most up to date info on my fed/state taxes due, I like to talk to a real live person. Yes, i could use the online services but im old school and like to talk to someone esp since they can add notes to the account.

                  Before you call, see our online tools for self service. Customer service phone lines may be busy.

                  Unfortunately COVID has put a serious damper on accessing human support via the phone. Its been my experience when calling the main IRS number (800-829-1040) its impossible to talk to someone as it refers you to the online site then tells you to call back when its less busy and hangs up... even if i called bright and early several times.

                  So instead, i looked for the collections phone number. There is a wait time, but they do put you through to a real agent that can give you the very latest balances.

                  Topic No. 201 The Collection Process

                  Pub 594 - The IRS Collection process (could be an older publication, google for latest)

                  And finally, the phone number i found for IRS collections - 800 829-7650 (M-F 8-8 PST)

                  I was able to talk to a friendly agent, asked for latest balances, they noted my account, and i will call back.

                  Lastly: Do not just google 'what is irs phone number'. Always go to the main irs site and find numbers from there. There is a lot of scammers and you dont want to call the wrong place. (Same advice applies for the numbers i posted here... double, triple check the info/numbers from official site)


                    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer/accountant, and this is not legal/accounting advice.

                    Order of Discharge - Form 318 (source

                    The official order of discharge given by the court clerk. It states:

                    "IT IS ORDERED: A discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 727 is granted to: MEEEEEEE"

                    "[include all names used by each debtor, including trade names, within the 8 years prior to the filing of the petition]"

                    By understanding and opinion only: this is what it all comes down to. This is what shields a debtor from claims within 8 years to the filing of the petition. However read the fine print on that order.

                    A closer look at 11 U.S.C. § 727 also reveals a hosts of 12 pre/post filing conditions to learn about. Too many to list here, but they reiterate the wisdom to disclose, disclose, disclose lest one of this if/but/unless conditions trips up the debtor.

                    In addition reference is made to 11 U.S. Code § 523 - Exceptions to discharge which one may also read.
                    Last edited by bornfree2; 02-24-2022, 01:16 PM.


                      Moving on with moving on

                      With the weekend here, ive decided to take a complete pause from this Kafkan Pro Se labyrinthand do some soul searching on what direction i want my life and activities to be post filing/post BK. Successful or not, at present I have completely freedom to exercise my God given intelligence and make decisions and take constructive actions.

                      Hobbies and projects

                      The home inventory exercise has revealed past intentions of unrealized projects. "Oh yeah i was going to tinker with that soldering iron and learn electronics. Oh yeah, i was going to sit at the coffee shop and draw people I observed. Oh yeah, I was going to tailor my own clothes with that sewing machine." Hobbies and skills i never 'got round to it' having been caught up with someone elses urgencies. So Ill be using the inventory to understand myself better and see what skills and projects I can take on to bring personal fulfillment.

                      Friends and family

                      Rummaging through my things, i found papers and properties of others close to me. Ill need to figure out how to preserve these and discard others (ex girlfriends!), and what exactly moving on means.

                      Acres of diamonds

                      I found piles upon piles of notebooks with ideas of all kinds. Being the type that gets very enthusiastic when ideas I love to brainstorm. I believe ideas float around us and enter into people for their realization. To use a strange analogy, they wish to 'impregnate' someone and that person has to go through the labor to birth the idea into reality. And if they dont 'mate' with you, they move on to someone else. Ive personally seen many ideas 'of mine' done by others years later. So these notebooks represent a rich field of diamond acres I can mine for profit.

                      Work and Career

                      And of course moving on and moving up means reestablishing myself back into a stable career and income. Legal assistant? Random side gigs? new tech skills? etc. What exactly would I enjoy, excell, and take me into a position of financial security and independence?


                      Lastly, this whole ordeal has made me get back to my own personal roots of faith. For that Bible reading and prayer has brought A LOT of comfort and peace. This is not an attempt to proselytize but those of similar faith will find these resources helpful....going to sleep with the pslams ... playing hours of God's promises when times get stressful ... and the faith giant Spurgeon is a good teacher here. I may be Pro Se, but not alone and God is the best defense money cant buy.

                      And lets not forget Proverbs and Job which are a mirror to reveal my rotten ways that got me in this hole.

                      So this weekend, its time to look up from the paperwork and look out into the future where the Fresh Start will manifest.
                      Last edited by bornfree2; 02-26-2022, 08:09 AM.


                        Disclaimer: This is not legal or financial advice and this information/thread is for educational and entertainment purposes only. I am researching and these are my thoughts and opinions only. Always consult qualified experts for legal or financial advice before taking any action.


                        Finding Creditor's address for Mailing Matrix - RECAP pro tip

                        Putting together the Creditor mailing matrix and Schedule D, E/F, G, and other forms that require a creditor name/address is important to me.

                        But what is the right corporate name and address that deals with bankruptcies?

                        Oh RECAP how I love thee! RECAP is a freelaw project that provides what PACER is supposed to - free/reasonable public access to court records. Read more about controversy with PACER here here here. And a bill to make it all free/more affordable here and here.

                        Okay, back on topic:
                        RECAP to find creditor's name / addresses for the mailing matrix and forms

                        Example only: Finding Capital One address:

                        1. On RECAP. Select Jurisdictions to Bankruptcy tab, check All
                        2. Check 'Only show results with PDF's"
                        3. In search put "bankruptcy noticing center" (with quotes around it)
                        4. Refine it with creditor name or city, ie "bankruptcy noticing center" "capital one"
                        5. Look for docs with "Certificate of Mailing of Notice". like this one.
                        6. View Pdf. like this one

                        Bam! - Now we get capital ones address:

                        22711812 +EDI: CAPITALONE.COM Apr 12 2019 06:58:00 Capital One, Attn Bankruptcy, Po Box 30285, Salt Lake City UT 84130-0285
                        Notice that plus sign? I read at the bottom, "Addresses marked ’+’ were corrected by inserting the ZIP or replacing an incorrect ZIP. USPS regulations require that automation-compatible mail display the correct ZIP." So I even get auto-correct.

                        With this search I am getting access to the massive database of creditors maintained by the official Bankruptcy Noticing Center. With auto corrections. For free! Thank you RECAP!

                        Now its still prudent for me to be diligent and confirm this address through other methods. Corporation have many tentacles. But this is closer to the "source of truth" since it comes from the main database.

                        Consider donating to the nonprofit Free Law project because it is a fantastic resource for research! You can find that link with the big red Donate Now button.
                        Last edited by bornfree2; 02-27-2022, 08:30 AM.


                          Useful bankruptcy rules and laws links

                          The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure govern the processes and procedures that a bankruptcy court follows to carry out the Bankruptcy Code.

                          Browse the U.S. Bankruptcy Code online for free. Up-to-date and with the latest dollar figures for each bankruptcy chapter.

                          Well formatted and cross linked.

                          But always use the government sites for 'source of truth'



                          pro tip: To have a local copy of federal rules of bk procedure all in one page and browser searchable, go to this page, then click on "Federal rules of bankruptcy procedure" in the top navigation. This will present the entire information as one huge page. Then save the webpage. In chrome thats 'File > Save page as' and it will download the entire thing. You can then keyword search it with the 'Edit > Find'. Useful when looking up all references to 'petition', 'exemption', etc.

                          Nerd fact: us government works are in public domain.
                          Last edited by bornfree2; 03-01-2022, 07:44 AM.


                            Poor man's PACER notification

                            Researching what PACER is about, I came across this page:

                            How can I receive case alerts using an RSS feed?

                            Some courts provide automatic case notification and alerts through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. PACER users can keep track of newly docketed events by subscribing to a court’s RSS feed, which is free and includes automatic notification of case activity, summarized text, and links to the document and docket report.

                            Search for the court where the case is filed, using the Court CM/ECF Lookup, to find out if they have an RSS feed.
                            Here is an example feed from delaware bankruptcy court

                                <title>19-10301- Dinah M Shaw</title>
                                <description>Type: bk Office: 1 Chapter: 13 Trustee: Joseph, - Chapter 13 Trustee Michael B. [VAN-311 Order Approving Modified Chapter 12/13 Plan - ADI] (<a href=' 868'>57</a>)</description>
                                <guid isPermaLink="true"></guid>
                                <pubDate>Tue, 01 Mar 2022 06:25:03 GMT</pubDate>
                            So using the RSS link and a reader or the browser, I can keep track of any action on any case. You can keyword search the feed and search for a case number or debtor name or trustee. The feed appears to go back about a day.

                            If your rss reader supports filtering and notification one can set up a PACER notification system for free!

                            pro tip: drag the rss link to your bookmark bar, and with one click you can get closer-to-real time-and-free court data with links to PACER. Then just keyword search for your name/case etc.
                            Last edited by bornfree2; 03-01-2022, 10:52 AM.


                              Disclaimer: This is not legal or financial advice and this information/thread is for educational and entertainment purposes only. I am researching and these are my thoughts and opinions only. Always consult qualified experts for legal or financial advice before taking any action. I am not a laywer.


                              Rule 9006. Computing and Extending Time

                              FRBK 9006 defines how dates and times are to be calculated. This is very critical for last minute filings, amendments, notices, motions, etc.

                              Researching how time and dates are calculated I found Rule 9006 of FRBK which defines the rules. Like all legalese it could be better worded for the layperson, but my personal interpretation and opinion is:
                              • Do not include the date the event is triggered when counting forward or backward
                              • Include weekend days and legal holidays
                              • If the last day of the count falls on a weekend/legal holiday, continue back/forward until the next day that is not on Saturday/Sunday or legal holiday
                              • The resulting date is the date defined in the deadline
                              • pro tip: use a date/time calculator
                              Example only:

                              Rule 4003 defines date wherein trustee and 'party in interest' may file an objection to exemption 'within 30 days after the meeting of creditors'. Debtor 341 meeting is on Monday 1-3-2022. This is the trigger event. We thus count 30 days after 1-3, landing on Wednesday 2-2-2022. Since February 2nd is not a legal holiday or weekend, this is our end date. Thus, an objection can be filed anytime on or before that wednesday. It would be prudent to check the docket periodically during this time period so that debtor can file a timely objection to the objection.

                              Last edited by bornfree2; 03-04-2022, 07:22 AM.


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