All individual bankrutpcy filers are required to complete pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and pre-discharge personal financial management instructional course (debtor education). These may not be provided at the same time. Credit counseling must take place before you file for bankruptcy; debtor education must take place after you file.
Certificates of completion for both credit counseling and debtor education are required before your debts can be discharged. Only credit counseling organizations and debtor education course providers that have been approved by the U.S. Trustee Program may issue these certificates.
CREDIT COUNSELING (BEFORE FILING FOR BANKRTUPCY)
All individuals filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 must complete an approved credit counseling course within 180 days BEFORE THEY FILE a bankruptcy case. Failure to complete an approved credit counseling course may result in dismissal of the case. A certificate of completion will be issued once you complete the course. A copy of the certificate is required to be filed with the court on the day you file your bankruptcy or up to 14 days after filing your bankruptcy case, if you have not received the certificate by the day you file your case.
For a list of approved credit counseling agencies, visit the U.S. Trustee’s website, which maintains a list of approved credit counseling agencies for the Western District of Louisiana, here.
DEBTOR EDUCATION (BEFORE DISCHARGE)
Individuals who have filed for bankruptcy are required to attend a Personal Financial Management Instructional Course (Debtor Education). A certificate of completion will be issued once you complete the course. You will need the information from the certificate to complete Official Form 423. Individuals who have filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 must file Official Form 423 within 60 days after the first date set for the 341(a) meeting of creditors. Individuals who have filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 must file it before making your last payment made under the plan or before the filing of a motion for entry of discharge. The court is restricted from granting a discharge to debtors who are required, but have failed, to complete a debtor education course. Failure to do so may result in the case being closed without a discharge.
For a list of approved debtor education providers, visit the U.S. Trustee’s website, which maintains a list of approved debtor education providers for the Western District of Louisiana, here.