How Fast Can You File Bankruptcy?

How Fast Can You File Bankruptcy?

As little as 20 minutes.  It is called a barebones filing.  You file just enough documents to get a case number and put the automatic stay into effect.  Since an attorney can file a case electronically, you file the case and get a case any day, any time.  However, you should only do a barebones filing if it is a true emergency, and you need to stop a creditor’s collection action immediately.

The advantage of a barebones filing is pretty clear.  If it is Thursday afternoon and foreclosure is schedule for the next morning, then you don’t have a lot of time.  If you are being garnished, you don’t have a lot of time.  You need bankruptcy fast, and you can literally file bankruptcy in about 20 minutes with the help of a Seattle bankruptcy attorney.

There are also disadvantages to a barebones filing.  First and foremost, bankruptcy is a serious step.  You should not file bankruptcy if you do not intend to complete the bankruptcy process or if you do not intend to comply with the bankruptcy process.

Second, your options are limited by a barebones filing.  Your attorney will not have time to properly evaluate your case and determine whether all of your property is covered by an exemption.  You cannot voluntarily dismiss a chapter 7, and so most attorneys will strongly advise that you file a chapter 13.  This is because a chapter 13 case can be voluntarily dismissed.  Finally, you have to be able to pay your bankruptcy attorney their upfront fees and costs before they will file the case.

A fully developed bankruptcy filing requires about a week’s worth of preparation.  It is possible to do a bankruptcy on the fly, but I only suggest a barebones filing if it is a true emergency.  If you do a barebones filing, you have to be prepared to work with your bankruptcy attorney after the case is filed.  The court will set a deadline for you to turn your barebones filing into a complete filing.  If you miss that deadline the case can be automatically dismissed.

So the bottom line is that yes, you can file a bankruptcy very quickly.  However, you must be prepared to work with your bankruptcy attorney to make sure that everything goes smoothly after the filing.  In addition, you must be prepared to accept the risk of filing a bankruptcy before your attorney has had a chance to completely evaluate your financial situation.