What is Credit Counseling and Personal Financial Management?


Credit Counseling is conducted by a United States Trustee authorized credit counselor.  ALL individual debtors must complete credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy.  After completing credit counseling, the credit counselor will issue a certificate that must be filed with the bankruptcy court.  When spouses file a bankruptcy case together (referred to as a jointly filed case) each spouse must complete credit counseling.  Failure to timely file a properly issued credit counseling certificate will result in the dismissal of your bankruptcy case.  If applicable, the credit counselor may issue a proposed budget and repayment plan (if one is prepared, it is to be filed along with the certificate).

Personal Financial Management is a course a debtor takes from an agency authorized by the United States Trustee after filing a bankruptcy case.  Only chapter 7 and 13 individual debtors are required to take a personal financial management course.  After completion of the course a debtor must file Official Form B 423.  If a personal financial management course certificate is provided it must be submitted at the time of filing the B 423 form.  In chapter 7 cases, the certificate regarding completion of a financial management course must be filed within 60 days of the first scheduled 11 U.S.C. §341 Meeting of Creditors.  In chapter 13 cases, the certificate of course completion is due prior to the completion of all plan payments so that a discharge may be obtained.  The failure to timely file the certificate of course completion in either a chapter 7 or 13 case could result in a case being closed without the issuance of a discharge.  If this occurs a fee must be paid to reopen the case.

Please visit the United States Trustee website for the most recent information on approved credit counseling agencies and personal financial management instructional course providers.

FAQ Category: 
General Bankruptcy