Means test checklist

The following is a checklist that a bankruptcy attorney might use (including of all the items within each of the six steps in the means test and the credit counseling requirement).

Step 1: Determine the debtor’s CMI

_____ Received check stubs for the six-month period before filing._____ Calculated total gross income (use six months of pay stubs)._____ Divided total gross income by 6._____ All income sources included._____ Social Security, unemployment and tax refunds excluded._____ If a joint case, joint debtor’s pay stubs received for 6-month period before filing._____ Debtor’s spouse’s income verified (not joined in petition)._____ Multiply CMI by 12 to reach ACMI._____ Find the applicable “median family income” amount._____ Compare debtor’s ACMI with the applicable median family income._____ If income is less, proceed to file Chapter 7._____ If income is more, proceed with means-test calculation.

Step 2: Determine necessary expenses

_____ Locate the applicable National Standards (i.e., one-, two-, three-, or four-person)._____ If more than four people in the debtor’s household, add the per-person addition to the appropriate number in the four-person table._____ Locate the applicable Local Standards table from the U.S. Trustee’s website. Look for the state and county closest to the debtor’s residence._____ Find the applicable housing and utility cost for the debtor._____ Calculate debtor’s housing and utility costs pursuant to the table._____ Deduct mortgage payment from housing costs._____ Deduct any liens placed of debtor’s property (second mortgage)._____ Find the applicable transportation cost for the debtor._____ One or two vehicles?_____ Calculate debtor’s transportation costs._____ Do not include the car payment from transportation costs._____ Calculate vehicle ownership costs._____ Deduct car payment from ownership costs._____ Do not insert any negative numbers._____ Calculate any taxes due._____ Calculate any insurance premiums. Do not include homeowners, auto, renters, or whole life._____ Calculate court-ordered payments._____ Any expenses for healthcare?_____ Any expenses for child care?_____ Any expenses for debtor to produce an income?_____ Total all necessary expenses.

Step 3: Determine additional expenses

_____ Calculate 5% of living expenses in the National Standard._____ Include documentation of necessary living expenses in excess of National Standard._____ Calculate health insurance, disability insurance and health savings account._____ Calculate expenses for elderly, ill or disabled family member._____ Calculate monthly educational expenses for minor children (cannot exceed $125 per child per month)._____ Multiply monthly educational expense by the number of minor children._____ Calculate home energy expenses in excess of IRS Local Standards._____ Obtain copy of debtor’s monthly energy bills to support expense._____ Deduct Local Standard energy allowance from total energy expenses._____ Calculate excess energy expenses._____ Calculate total additional expenses.

Step 4: Determine secured monthly expenses

_____ Obtain total of all secured debts and priority claims (mortgage, car payment, domestic support)._____ Debtor in arrears on any secured debt (mortgage, car payment, domestic support)?_____ Determine total of all arrearages and add to gross total._____ Determine gross total for 60 months by examining the terms of the debts._____ Divide the gross total by 60._____ Total is debtor’s monthly payment for secured debts._____ Determine trustees fees for debtor’s area if Chapter 13._____ Add to debtor’s monthly payment for secured debts.

Step 5: Determine net CMI

_____ Add necessary expenses, additional expenses, and secured debt expenses to arrive at the total expense deduction._____ Subtract the expense deduction from the CMI calculated in Step 1._____ Total is the debtor’s net CMI.

Step 6: Determine if a presumption of abuse exists

_____ If debtor’s monthly net CMI is less than $109.58, no presumption of abuse exists._____ If debtor’s monthly net CMI is $182.50 or more, a presumption of abuse exists. May file or convert under Chapter 13._____ If debtor’s net CMI is between $109.58 and $182.50, calculate the total of debtor’s unsecured debts._____ Divide the total unsecured debts by 60._____ Is debtor’s net CMI enough to pay 25 percent of the unsecured debts?_____ If no, there is no presumption of abuse._____ If yes, a presumption of abuse exists.

Credit counseling

_____ Did debtor attend a pre-petition counseling session?_____ Is counseling program approved by the U.S. Trustee?_____ Get list of approved programs from clerk of the Bankruptcy court._____ Obtain certificate of completion from debtor._____ Obtain plan of repayments of debts, if any._____ File certificate and plan with court._____ Did debtor attend a pre-discharge financial management class?_____ Class approved by the U.S. Trustee?_____ Obtain certificate of completion from debtor._____ File certificate of completion with the court at least ten days prior to discharge or within 60 days of the meeting of creditors.

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