Bankruptcy is governed by federal law. It allows you to manage, and in some cases eliminate, your debts. Individuals filing for bankruptcy typically choose either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. With Chapter 7, a trustee takes possession of your non-exempt assets and liquidates or sells them in order to pay your debts. With Chapter 13, you make payments to a trustee who distributes the money to your creditors according to a court approved plan.
Where Can You File for Bankruptcy in Alaska?
Alaska has only one Bankruptcy Court district. It's located in Anchorage, with satellite offices in Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan.
Are You Permitted to File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Alaska?
You can't file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Alaska unless your average monthly income is less than the state's median income. If your average monthly income is greater than or equal to Alaska's median income, you must pass a means test to qualify for Chapter 7.
How Long Can Your Chapter 13 Plan Last in Alaska
If your average monthly income is less than Alaska's median income, your Chapter 13 repayment plan can't exceed 36 months, unless the bankruptcy court finds good cause to extend it to a maximum of 60 months. If your average monthly income equals or exceeds Alaska's median income, your plan must be 60 months in length.
Alaska Bankruptcy Exemptions
Exemptions allow you to exclude property from your bankruptcy estate so the trustee will not liquidate them to pay your creditors. Alaska allows you to claim either its own exemptions or those available under the federal bankruptcy code. You must choose between one or the other; you can't take both.
Federal exemptions allow you to protect a portion of the equity in your home and your automobile, some household goods and personal items, and a small wild card exemption you can use to protect your interest in any property, including cash. Alaska state exemptions usually allow you to protect a larger amount of equity in your home, a small amount of equity in your automobile, some household goods, furnishings, personal items, and 20% of your interest in the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.
Whether you elect federal bankruptcy exemptions or Alaska state exemptions, you may also take advantage of federal non-bankruptcy exemptions which allow you to protect your interest in tax exempt retirement plans, IRAs and Social Security benefits.
Using an Alaska Bankruptcy Lawyer
Bankruptcy laws in Alaska are complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. For information specific to your case, please contact an Alaska bankruptcy lawyer.