How to File Bankruptcy in Alaska

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

May 29, 2019

When you have more in bills than you can pay with your 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 about protecting your property in an Alaska bankruptcy, and
  • your local bankruptcy court.

You can learn more about the benefits of the primary types of bankruptcy by reading What Are the Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Completing the Official Bankruptcy Forms

Filing a bankruptcy is a process. You’ll need to:

You’ll also need to pay a filing fee or request a fee waiver and provide proof that you’ve completed the required counseling course (more below).

Filing for Bankruptcy in Alaska

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

Alaska’s 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 that you’ll need for qualification purposes and approved credit counseling providers.

  • Means testing information. Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires you to prove you’re within income guidelines by passing a “means test.” You’ll pass the means test automatically if your family income is less than the median for Alaska. If it exceeds the median, you might still pass after subtracting allowed expenses. For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll do similar calculations to determine your monthly payment. The income charts and expense guidelines are on the U.S. Trustee’s website (select “Means Testing Information”).
  • 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 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 use, but you can’t mix and match individual exemptions from both exemption sets.

Here’s what happens to property you can’t exempt.

  • In Chapter 7, the Chapter 7 trustee can sell it to benefit your creditors.
  • If you file a Chapter 13 case, you won’t lose any property, but you’ll pay its nonexempt value—or your disposable income, whichever is less—to your creditors through your Chapter 13 plan payments over three to five years.

Spouses filing for bankruptcy together in Alaska can double the exemption amount in each category as long as each spouse has an ownership interest in the property. The only exception is that spouses can’t double the homestead exemption.

Some of the more common exemptions available under Alaska law include:

  • 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 $500,500. (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. § 9.38.0209(e))
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Tax-exempt retirement accounts. Including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined-benefit plans (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C).) Learn more about retirement accounts in bankruptcy.

Alaska adjusts exemption amounts periodically and additional exemptions exist. Check the updates to the Alaska Administrative Code on the website of the Alaska State Legislature for exemptions and current amounts.

Alaska Bankruptcy Court Locations

The Alaska Bankruptcy Court has three divisions. Before filing, you’ll want to ascertain which office will have jurisdiction over your case. You’ll find local rules and information about filing a bankruptcy case on the court’s website. Select “Filing on Your Own” under the “For Debtors” tab.

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

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.

Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Need professional help? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP ?

Get debt relief now.

We've helped 205 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you