Filing Bankruptcy In Massachusetts

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Filing for public bankruptcy in Massachusetts may be more tempting than in some other states throughout the United States. Massachusetts offers more options in their Chapter 7 bankruptcy, leaving it more probable to fit the needs of any given individual. However, the decision to file for bankruptcy is still an extremely important one, and should be made with the help of a legal aid.

Massachusetts Bankruptcy Topics

  1. Personal Bankruptcy Options
  2. Keep Your Home: Bankruptcy and Foreclosure
  3. Massachusetts Exemptions to Bankruptcy Liquidation
  4. Options for Filing Bankruptcy
  5. Local Bankruptcy Courts and Trustees

Personal Bankruptcy in Massachusetts

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is by far the most common form of bankruptcy everyone in the United States. Although individuals may also file for Chapter 13, Chapter 7 offers a wider range of possibilities.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The first thing one must do in order to file for bankruptcy is pass a 'means test.' This test will show whether the individual is below the median income, which is required to file for bankruptcy. In Massachusetts, the median income figure used is $54,842 for an individual, $66,437 for couples, $83,104 for three person households, $100,280 for four person households, and an additional $6,900 for each addition family member. This form of bankruptcy is commonly named 'fresh start' bankruptcy for its ability to remove nearly all debts from an individual. However, in contrast its second common name is 'liquidation' bankruptcy. The price paid for removal of debts is liquidation of all of the debtors’ assets, aside from 'exemptions.'

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

First of all private individual can have no more than $1,010,650 in secured debts or $336,900 in unsecured debts to qualify for this form of bankruptcy, and the 'means test' must also be passed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once these things are done, through the bankruptcy court, a bankruptcy trustee will work with the debtor and creditors in order to make a repayment plan over the next 3 to 5 years. 5 years is the government regulated limit on the repayment plan, however extensions may be granted through the bankruptcy court. The debtor is able to keep all of his possessions but must put most of his or her wage toward the repayment plan, hence the name 'wage earners' bankruptcy.

Filing Bankruptcy During Foreclosure

Foreclosures in most cases, though not guaranteed, are halted by filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is because once bankruptcy is filed; creditors are mandated by law to cease any actions to recoup debts from a debtor, including foreclosures. These foreclosures may continue if the creditor proves to the bankruptcy court that the home will lose considerable value during the bankruptcy process. In addition, Chapter 13 bankruptcy specifically addresses the repayment of mortgage obligations and may allow debtors to keep their homes regardless of impending foreclosure.

Massachusetts Bankruptcy Exemptions

In the state of Massachusetts, debtors may claim exemptions through two schemes. One, under the state exemptions laws as well as the Federal supplemental exemptions and two, they may chose to use only the Federal exemption set:

Type of Asset(s)

Details on Applicable Exemption(s)


Property to $100,000 (couples and seniors to $200,000)

Personal Property

Food to $300, Clothing, Beds, Heating unit, Books to $200, Sewing machine to $200, Burial plot, $75 per month (fuel heat water or light), $200 per month (rent), 2 cows, 12 sheep, 2 swine, 4 tons hay, Furniture to $3,000, Vehicle to $750, Moving expenses


Disability to $400 a week, Fraternal Benefit Society, Group Annuity proceeds, and Life/Endowment policy


Property of business


ERISA, Retirement (private), and pensions of public employees


AFDC, Disabled

Senior Citizen, Unemployment, Veterans', and Workers' benefits

Tools of Trade

Up to $500, Military Equipment, Fishing equipment to $500 (including boat)


Earned but unpaid to $125 a week

Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court Filing Options

Need Bankruptcy Advice?

Use a Bankruptcy Lawyer

As bankruptcy lawyers are trained legal professional, they will know all that is needed to forgo an entire bankruptcy. This provides not only accuracy to one's bankruptcy, but peace of mind and stress relief in the knowledge that their finances are being taken care of correctly. This option is costly; however, risks of other options are high.

Use a Filing Service

Less expensive than hiring a bankruptcy lawyer and much less helpful, are Filing Services. Their only purpose to one's bankruptcy is to do the paperwork. They provide no legal advice whatsoever, and only prove to save the debtor the time of filing the paperwork.

File Bankruptcy “Pro Se”

There are many risks involve in filing  pro se. Although it may be a necessity for those with extremely low funds left after filing for bankruptcy. This is a difficult process because of the extreme complexities of bankruptcy law on the state and federal level.

Courts and Massachusetts Bankruptcy Trustee Information

Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court Main Office

1101 Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.
Federal Bldg
10 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02222-1047

Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court Springfield Divisional Office

Street Address:

Suite 220
300 State Street
Springfield, MA 01105
Phone: 413-785-6900

Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court Worcester Divisional Office

Street Address:

Harold D. Donohue Federal Bldg and
United States Courthouse, 3rd Floor
595 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608-2025
Phone: 508-770-8900