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Bankruptcy Basics

Bankruptcy Basics provides general information about federal bankruptcy laws and the bankruptcy process. It is not a guide for filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Basics is a publication of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.  It provides basic information to debtors, creditors, court personnel, the media, and the general public on different aspects of federal bankruptcy laws. It also provides individuals who may be considering bankruptcy with a basic explanation of the different chapters under which a bankruptcy case may be filed and answers some of the most commonly asked questions about the bankruptcy process.

Bankruptcy Basics (pdf) For cases filed before October 17, 2005

Bankruptcy Basics (pdf) For cases filed on or after October 17, 2005 

Bankruptcy Basics is not a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel or a financial expert, nor is it a step-by-step guide for filing for bankruptcy. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts cannot provide legal or financial advice. Such advice may be obtained from a competent attorney, accountant, or financial adviser.

November 2011
Third Edition

While the information presented is accurate as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It should not be used as a substitute for reference to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code) and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, both of which may be reviewed at local law libraries, or to local rules of practice adopted by each bankruptcy court. Finally, this publication should not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.