Can you still file for bankruptcy? Online calculator will tell you.
(Berkeley, CA - October 12, 2006) In the year since the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) took effect on October 17, 2005, personal bankruptcy filings have fallen more than 60%. New, complex rules and alarming media coverage has convinced many people that that bankruptcy is no longer an option. In fact, most debtors still qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
To help cut through confusion about the new law, www.LegalConsumer.com has launched a free online calculator that lets debtors quickly determine if they qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Thousands have already used the online calculator and the vast majority have had no trouble passing the law’s new “means test,” according to Albin Renauer, who built the calculator and is a co-author of How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (Nolo 2006).
The means test is a mathematical formula designed to weed out people who can afford to repay their debts. To fill out the official means test form, debtors are must consult a half dozen tables from a government website, and complete a series of complex calculations based on numbers that vary with income and location. The government offers no help in applying the correct numbers or doing the calculation.
With LegalConsumer’s online means test calculator, simply type in a zip code and some financial information. The calculator applies the correct local standards, does the math, and computes the bottom line -- whether you qualify or not.
Renauer is not surprised that most people still qualify for bankruptcy. Advocates of bankruptcy reform claimed that an epidemic of dishonest debtors had caused the sharp rise in bankruptcies in recent years, and that the new means test would snuff them out. But bankruptcies rose “because banks aggressively marketed credit cards and loans to people with shaky finances,” says Renauer. “Most people who filed for bankruptcy under the old law really needed it, and people in similar circumstances now are still eligible--but the new law makes it a lot harder to figure that out.”
The online calculator on LegalConsumer.com is free to consumers. Lawyers may also license the calculator to appear on their own websites, to show potential clients that bankruptcy is still available --despite what they may have heard.
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