How to File Bankruptcy in Alaska

Learn about information you'll need for your Alaska bankruptcy.

December 12, 2017

When your bills surpass your available income, filing for bankruptcy can get you back on track. But it can be tough to find the information you need to prepare your bankruptcy paperwork. This article will help. You’ll learn how to find official bankruptcy forms, Alaska means test information, approved credit counseling providers, information on protecting your property in an Alaska bankruptcy, and your local bankruptcy court.

(To learn more about the types of bankruptcy available to you, read What Is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?)

Official Bankruptcy Forms

Filing a bankruptcy case starts with gathering the information the bankruptcy court requires before discharging your qualifying debt and disclosing it on the official bankruptcy forms found on the U.S. Courts website. The completed paperwork gets filed in your local Alaska bankruptcy court along with a filing fee or fee waiver and proof that you’ve completed the required counseling course (more below).

Alaska Bankruptcy Information

Bankruptcies are governed by federal law, but some information you’ll need is specific to Alaska.

Means Testing and Credit Counseling Information

The U.S. Trustee website publishes two kinds of information you’ll use in your Alaska bankruptcy filing. means testing figures and approved credit counseling providers.

  • Means testing information. Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires that you meet certain income qualifications by passing a “means test.” To pass the means test automatically, your family income must be less than the median for Alaska. If your income exceeds the median, you might still pass after subtracting preset expenses. The income charts and expense guidelines are on the U.S. Trustee’s website (select “Means Testing Information”). For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll do similar calculations to determine your monthly payment.
  • Credit counseling providers. If you’re an individual filer, you’ll complete a session with a credit counselor before filing for bankruptcy and a debt management course afterward. The U.S. Trustee publishes the list of approved providers on its website under “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education.” Scroll down to find the District of Alaska.

Alaska Bankruptcy Court Locations

On the Alaska Bankruptcy Court website, you’ll find local rules and information about filing a bankruptcy case (click on “Filing on Your Own” under the “For Debtors” tab). The Alaska Bankruptcy Court has three divisions. Before you attempt to file, please contact the court for guidance on which of the offices will have jurisdiction over your case.

Anchorage

Fairbanks

Juneau

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

605 W. 4th Ave, Suite 138

Anchorage, AK 99501

(907) 271-2655

Toll-free (800) 859-8059

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

101 12th Ave, Room 332

Fairbanks, AK 99701

(907) 456-0349

Toll-free (866) 243-3813

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

709 W. 9th Ave, Room 979

Juneau, AK 99802

(907) 271-2655

Toll-free (800) 859-8059

Alaska Bankruptcy Exemptions

You won’t need to worry about losing everything when you file for bankruptcy in Alaska. You’ll be able to exempt (protect) most if not all of your property. How much and what type of assets you can keep depends on whether your property is on the Alaska exemption list or the list of federal bankruptcy exemptions. You can choose which of the lists you’ll apply in your case, but you cannot mix and match individual exemptions from both sets.

If you have property that you cannot exempt, the Chapter 7 trustee can sell it to benefit your creditors. If you file a Chapter 13 case instead, you won’t lose any property, but you’ll pay its nonexempt value to your creditors through your Chapter 13 plan payments over three to five years.

Spouses filing a joint bankruptcy in Alaska can double the exemption amount in each category except for the homestead exemption as long as each spouse has an ownership interest in the property.

Here are some of the more common exemptions available under Alaska law.

  • Homestead or residential property. Up to $72,900 of equity in your home. You cannot double the homestead exemption. (Alaska Stat. § 09.38.010)
  • Personal property. Apartment or condo owners' association deposits (Alaska Stat. § 09.38.010); burial plot, necessary health aids, and tuition credits under advance college payment contract (Alaska Stat. § 09.38.015); household goods and clothing, books and instruments, and portraits and heirlooms, up to $4,050 in value (Alaska Stat. § 09.38.020); jewelry up to $1,350 (Alaska Stat. § 9.38.020); professional books and tools of the trade up to $3,780 (Alaska Stat. § 9.38.020); pets up to $1,350.
  • Insurance benefits and proceeds. Unmatured life insurance policies and annuity contracts up to $13,500. (Alaska Stat. § 9.38.025)
  • Lost, damaged, or destroyed exempt property. (Alaska Stat. § 9.38.060).
  • Motor vehicles. $4,050 in equity in your car or another vehicle, as long as the market value of your vehicle is no more than $27,000. (Alaska Stat. § 9.38.020)
  • Pension benefits and domestic support. Teachers, judicial and public employees, and elected officers (Alaska Stat. § 09.38.015); ERISA-qualified benefits (deposited more than 120 days before filing) and medical savings accounts (Alaska Stat. § 09.38.017); pension benefits (Alaska Stat. § 09.38.017); child support distributed via a collection agency (Alaska Stat. § 09.38.015); alimony (to the extent wages are exempt). (Alaska Stat. § 09.38.015)
  • Wages. Weekly net earnings up to $473 or $743 if you are the head of household; if you are not paid weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly, up to $1,890 of cash or other liquid assets paid in one month, or $2,970 if you are the sole wage earner in the household. The assets limited under this section include disability or unemployment benefits, alimony, bodily injury awards, and insurance or pension benefits unless they are otherwise 100% exempt under Alaska Stat. § § 09.38.015 or 09.38.017. (Alaska Stat. § § 09.38.030 & 09.38.050)
  • Public benefits. Unemployment compensation, Alaska longevity bonus, prescription drug benefits for senior care, and Alaska benefits for low-income seniors (Alaska Stat. § 9.38.015); workers' compensation (Alaska Stat. § 23.30.160); general relief assistance (Alaska Stat. § 47.25.210); assistance to blind, elderly and disabled adults. (Alaska Stat. § 47.25.550)

Alaska's exemption amounts are adjusted periodically (and additional exemptions exist). Make sure you have the most recent amendments by checking for updates to the Alaska Administrative Code on the website of the Alaska State Legislature.

Providing all information needed to file for bankruptcy is beyond the scope of this article. If you’d like to file without an attorney, consider buying a self-help book like How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer J.D. to help you make well-informed decisions about your bankruptcy matter.

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