Filing for bankruptcy in Mississippi is the same complex process it is in most states. Individuals may file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Unlike some states, Mississippi only has one set of options for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy retains all of its federal regulations.
Mississippi Bankruptcy Topics
- Personal Bankruptcy Options
- Keep Your Home: Bankruptcy and Foreclosure
- Mississippi Exemptions to Bankruptcy Liquidation
- Options for Filing Bankruptcy
- Mississippi Bankruptcy Courts and Trustees
Options for Personal Bankruptcy in Mississippi
Chapter 7 is widely chosen over Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Mississippi Chapter 7 is simpler than it is some other states in terms of 'exemptions,' but either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 may still be the right choice depending on one's circumstances.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
To qualify for bankruptcy, a debtor must be below his or her given income median. In Mississippi, the median income figure used is $32,348 for an individual, $41,934 for couples, $46,470 for three person households, $55,759 for four person households, and an additional $6,900 for each addition family member. This is required to pass the federally mandated 'means test.' This form of bankruptcy is often called 'liquidation' bankruptcy because all of the individual or family's assets, aside from 'exemptions,' are put in control of the bankruptcy trustee who liquidates them. The proceeds are distributed amongst creditors. This gives the debtor a fresh start in that the majority of their debts are dropped in the process.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is much different from Chapter 7 bankruptcy. With this method, debtors are allowed to keep all of their possessions. It is often called 'wage earners' bankruptcy because the filer must maintain a steady wage in order to keep up with the bankruptcy. A repayment plan is formulated by the bankruptcy court to help the debtor use his or her wage to pay back debts effectively over 3 to 5 years. This 5-year limit is law, can be extended through the bankruptcy court. For private individuals with no more than $1,010,650 in secured debts or $336,900 in unsecured debts, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an option. To qualify debtors must also pass the 'means test.' (See more on Filing Chapter 13 in Mississippi).
Filing Bankruptcy during Foreclosure
Another major benefit to bankruptcy is its ability to stop foreclosure in many cases, keep the home in the possession of the debtor. After bankruptcy is filed, either Chapter 7 or 13, creditors are required by law to stop actions towards the debtor to regain debts. This is called an 'automatic stay.' However, this will not always save the home from foreclosure. In some cases, the foreclosure may have been filed before the bankruptcy, which can void the protection of the 'automatic stay.'
Mississippi Bankruptcy Exemptions
In the state of Minnesota, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows only one scheme of exemptions. They are the state mandated exemptions in addition to the Federal supplemental exemptions:
Type of Asset(s)
Details on Applicable Exemption(s)
Property to $8000 or mobile home to $1000
Assessment or insurance premium, Disability or illness, Fraternal benefit society benefits to $5000 (bought over 6 months before filing), Life insurance dividends to $5000 (bought over 6 months before filing), Life insurance proceeds (woman insures husband), Life insurance proceeds (unmarried woman insures father or brother), Stipulated insurance premiums, Unmatured life insurance policy
Alimony, child support to $500 per month, Property of business
ERISA - benefits needed for support (only payments being received), Firefighters, Highway & transportation, Police Department, State, and/or Teacher pensions
Appliances, household items, furniture, clothing, books, crops, animals & musical instruments to $1,000, Burial grounds to $100 or one acre, Medical equipment, Jewelry to $500, and Vehicle to $1000
AFDC, Social security, Unemployment, Veterans’, and Workers’ compensation benefits
Tools of Trade
Up to $2000
Minimum 75% of earned but unpaid wages (90% for head of family), Wages of common laborer to $90
$400 any property ($1250 head of household - additional $250 per child)
Mississippi Bankruptcy Court Filing Options
Use a Bankruptcy Lawyer
In order to navigate the processes of filing and executing a bankruptcy, most individuals will need a great deal of help. It requires much time and causes much stress. With a Bankruptcy lawyer an individual will have a constant advisor, and can be sure of their actions throughout.
Use a Filing Service
A service that is not often recommended, filing services will help most individuals. However, the help offered does not include any legal advice. It is limited to simply doing paperwork for the debtor. Of course, these cost a much less than hiring a bankruptcy lawyer.
File “Pro Se”
Filing pro se is dangerous for most individuals. It is easy to make mistakes during the bankruptcy process, especially without any legal aid. This method however, does not cost the debtor anything financially.
Courts and Mississippi Bankruptcy Trustee Information
Missouri Eastern Bankruptcy Court
Charles Evans Whittaker
United States Courthouse
400 East Ninth Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
Missouri Western Bankruptcy Court
Thomas F. Eagleton United States
Courthouse, 4th Floor
111 South Tenth Street
St. Louis, MO 63102-111