Bankruptcy Debtor Education Course With New Twist

17 Mar Bankruptcy Debtor Education Course With New Twist

Individuals who file bankruptcy must take and certify they have completed a course on personal financial management after filing the case, or the case will close without a discharge. This personal financial management course must be conducted by a nonprofit agency approved by the US Trustee. The course is offered by some Chapter 13 trustees without charge. However, each individual debtor is usually charged a fee of $20 or more to complete this additional step which is required to receive a bankruptcy discharge. A provider, located at, has begun offering the course for $15 and will provide the service to married, joint debtors for a single fee.

For joint debtors who do not have free financial management education this is a cut in cost from $40 to $15. The savings are more modest for a single debtor. However, there is an interesting twist to this fee. One third of the $15 fee, or $5 from each payment, is contributed to a fund dedicated to lobbying for the abolition of the pre-filing credit counseling requirement specified in section 109(h). While both the pre-filing briefing and the personal financial management courses are an unnecessary impediment to filing and receiving a discharge in bankruptcy, the credit counseling briefing is nothing but a waste of time and money. Some of my clients have actually said they benefited from a personal financial management course.

In my opinion, both required courses should be abolished. However, I am not nearly as offended by the financial management course as I am by the credit counseling briefing. In fact, I rather enjoy the thought that payment of the fee for the more useful of the two courses is helping to do away with the pre-filing requirement. helps to promote the $5 site, the least expensive alternative for the initial briefing. This support, coupled with the effort to do away with the pre-filing requirement altogether, makes the next best thing to free that I have found.

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I was admitted to practice in 1978. I am certified as a Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist by the American Board of Certification. I regularly speak on tax and bankruptcy issues at state, regional and national conferences. Years of experience in practice before the Internal Revenue Service and Oregon Department of Revenue have given me the background to resolve a large variety of consumer tax issues.
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