In 2008, the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules started looking for ways to encourage debtors to provide more accurate and complete responses when filing for bankruptcy. The eventual solution was to use simpler, more direct language geared toward people without legal knowledge, and to include detailed instructions with each question.
Now, questions that regularly caused confusion are written in plain English so that they’re easier to understand. For example, in place of the section previously titled “Certification by a Debtor who resides as a tenant of residential property,” the debtor is simply asked, “Do you rent your residence?”
The revised questions include:
In addition, almost all of the forms necessary for filing have been renumbered and reformatted. New forms have been created, while some forms have been combined and others have been split into multiple forms.
Prior to December 1, 2015, there was only one petition for filing for any kind of bankruptcy. The petition is the document that starts your bankruptcy—it provides information like your name, your address, and the bankruptcy chapter you’re filing for.
There are now two petitions: one for individuals and another for nonindividuals, such as corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies (LLC). Each petition has a corresponding set of schedules— these are the forms that provide information about your income, debt and assets. And each set of schedules now includes questions for an individual or a business entity, but not both.
Real property and personal property are no longer listed on two separate Schedules (A and B). Instead, all property now goes on Schedule A/B. Similarly, Schedule E and Schedule F were combined; now all unsecured debts (both priority and general) are listed on Schedule E/F. Questions pertaining to credit counseling are now answered in the petition. The separate Exhibit D form (previously used to report the status of the credit counseling requirement) was eliminated.
Three new forms allow a debtor to provide important information to the court more directly than before.