Credit counseling is conducted by a United States Trustee authorized credit counselor and must be completed before you file for bankruptcy. It is a requirement for ALL individual debtors. When you have received your credit counseling, the credit counselor will issue a certificate that must be filed with the bankruptcy court. If you are filing jointly with your spouse, both of you must complete credit counseling. The failure to timely file a properly issued credit counseling certificate will result in the dismissal of your bankruptcy case. If applicable, the credit counselor may issue a proposed budget and repayment plan (if one is prepared, it is to be filed along with the certificate).
Personal financial management is a course that you take, after you file bankruptcy, from an agency authorized by the United States Trustee. It is only required for chapter 7 and 13 individual debtors. Once you have completed the training, you must file Official Form B 23. If a certificate was provided, this must be submitted at the time of filing the B23 form. In chapter 7 cases, the certificate regarding completion of a financial management course must be filed within 45 days of the first scheduled 11 U.S.C. 341 Meeting of Creditors. In chapter 13 cases, the certificate of course completion is due prior to the completion of all plan payments so that a discharge may be obtained. The failure to timely file the certificate of course completion in either a chapter 7 or 13 case could result in your case being closed without the issuance of a discharge. If this occurs, you will need to pay a filing fee to reopen the case.
Please visit the US Trustee’s website for the most recent information on approved credit counseling agencies and personal financial management instructional course providers.