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What is a Means Test?

Qualifying for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you are confronted with overwhelming debt, there are solutions for you. You may be considering filing for bankruptcy, or the many other alternatives to bankruptcy. If you choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to pass a means test - which is a process of examining your income and expenses to determine whether or not you are eligible for Chapter 7 or if Chapter 13 bankruptcy would be more suitable for your specific situation. This process involves a formula to compare your income to expenses to find out if you are able to pay back your creditors on a payment plan.

If the means test evaluation shows that you have a certain amount of 'excess' or 'disposable' income, you may not be eligible for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy - and a Chapter 13 may be more appropriate. It is advised to discuss the bankruptcy process with an experienced Michigan bankruptcy attorney to discover what your best options are. The means test can be very complicated. The first step is analyzing your income. You will need to collect financial records such as pay stubs and bank statements from the last 6 months. If you are self employed you will need more detailed paperwork.

If you are below the median income level for Michigan, you would "pass" a means test and can file Chapter 7. The means test also allows for certain reductions to your gross income such as payroll taxes, allowed budget credits set by government guidelines, secured debt on your home, a vehicle, and other necessary expenses which can affect your gross income. So, even if you are above the median level, you may still qualify for a Chapter 7 filing.

Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Michigan

At Hensel Law Office, PLLC, I will work with you one on one personally throughout every aspect of your bankruptcy case, and help you work out the details and collect what you need for your means test should you need to complete one. I began my firm with the belief that my clients should not have to deal with several different attorneys and paralegals with regards to their circumstances but rather have a compassionate, understanding ally to help them through this difficult time. By applying my knowledge and experience, I have been able to help many clients achieve a brighter financial future. My firm provides legal guidance to those living in Warren, Sterling Heights and many other areas within the state of Michigan.

I look forward to assisting you, but first you must take the initiative to call the firm today.

Client Testimonials

  • Utmost dedication and professionalism.

    “I chose to work with Tom Hensel after meeting with several big name firms in the area. Tom handled my unique situation with the utmost dedication and professionalism. The personal service I received from him made all the difference in my case. My only regret is that I didn't call him first.”

    Craig

  • Sincerest thanks for all of your help in affording me what I consider a real "fresh start."

    “I wanted to give you my sincerest thanks for all of your help in affording me what I consider a real "fresh start". My divorce was unfortunate but definitely a needed change for the better. However, the financial side of things still seemed to keep that past linked, which makes this an enormous weight lifted. I just can't believe the impact it's made on my outlook with...everything.I will be sure to keep your business cards handy to distribute along with highly favorable words of recommendation should the needs arise.Thank you again for your time and professional guidance.”

    Michelle

  • You made a difficult experience so much easier.

    “Back a few years ago, you helped me through a bankruptcy. I still tell people how you made a difficult experience so much easier, with your clarity, support, and friendly approach to the law. I'm still very appreciative for all your help – it really helped to pull me out of a difficult place and put my life back on track.”

    Eric

  • Professional, competent, empathetic attorney.

    “My husband and I were forced into a position to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We were devastated and mortified that we had to choose that route, but Tom eased our stress about the filing and court hearing process, as he thoroughly explained what Chapter 7 entails, as well as exactly what to expect during and after the filing process; he was accurate on each point that he advised us on. Tom also kept in frequent contact with us and responded quickly to any questions or concerns that we had while we worked with him. Tom's expertise and tact was invaluable for us, and we will absolutely recommend him to any of our friends and relatives that may find themselves in similar positions to ours. Thank you, Tom, for your dedicated help during this process.”

    EJO

  • He is respectful and down to earth with his approach to very complicated legal matters.

    “Hensel Law Office has helped me during a very difficult time in my life. Tom has done a wonderful job with my Chapter 13 case. He always kept in touch with me and explained everything in terms I could understand. I would highly recommend Mr. Hensel to anyone who is facing any bankruptcy filing. He is respectful and down to earth with his approach to very complicated legal matters.”

    Sandra