Bankruptcy is the last resort for people whose finances are battered beyond repair. Bankruptcy is also expensive: a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can cost thousands of dollars in fees and legal costs. Upsolve tackles this problem with an app that allows many people to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer.
Upsolve is a unique entry into the online financial services world. It’s a non-profit and it’s completely free to use.
Many users can file without legal costs.
Provides the required credit courses.
Active community providing support and education.
Very positive reviews from users and bankruptcy professionals.
Only works with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Some users may still require legal help.
Bankruptcy cannot discharge most tax debt, most student debt, child support, alimony, and some other debts.
What is Upsolve?
Upsolve has been described as “TurboTax for Bankruptcy”. It’s an app that helps users through the bankruptcy filing process. The app asks simple, plain-language questions and uses the answers to fill up the numerous and complex forms needed for a bankruptcy filing. The app will warn you if your information is inconsistent or incomplete, and it may advise you to consult an attorney.
The result is a process that helps resolve one of the fundamental contradictions of bankruptcy: the people who most need it can’t afford it.
Many people who need to file for bankruptcy can’t afford a lawyer: they are, after all, bankrupt. Many people who try to file without legal help have their filings dismissed or have unfavorable resolutions. Upsolve provides the assistance needed to file a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your own.
☝️ Upsolve only deals with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the type most commonly used by low and middle-income Americans. Some users may still require legal assistance, especially for more complex cases.
Upsolve doesn’t stop with filling out forms. The app also coaches users through 341 meetings with their bankruptcy trustees. It will advise users if their information is incomplete or inconsistent, and it will suggest legal help if it’s needed.
The app also provides vital financial education and a forum that allows users to communicate with others who are considering bankruptcy, are in the bankruptcy process or, have completed bankruptcy.
💡 Communication with other people in the same position can help reduce the stigma that many people feel about bankruptcy, which is often seen as evidence of financial failure and even irresponsibility.
🤔 Upsolve founder Rohan Pavuluri has an interesting thing to say about his product: he thinks it shouldn’t have to exist.
Pavuluri believes that legal processes designed for financially stressed people should be automatically available without excessive costs. Since that’s not the case, the Upsolve team created their app as a step in that direction.
Upsolve is a non-profit corporation supported by grants from the US Legal Services Corporation, by private donors, and by pro-bono bankruptcy lawyers. The use of the app is completely free. You will still have to pay court fees, though the app can assist you in requesting a waiver.
Upsolve has been available since 2019 and has helped to clear over $539 million in debt.
How Does Upsolve Work?
Upsolve will only work with cases that are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your gross household income is above your state’s median and your disposable income is enough to pay your debts, you may not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
💡 If you’re not sure what type of bankruptcy is right for you, read this review of Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy could be your best option if there is no realistic way for you to pay your debts and your debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. Debts like medical debt, credit card debt, payday loans, and personal loans can generally be discharged in bankruptcy. You won’t have to pay them once you complete the process.
⚠️ Alimony, child support, most recent tax debt, most student loan debt, and some other debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
The Upsolve site contains an abundance of educational materials. You can get familiar with the bankruptcy process and get a better sense of whether it will work for you.
If you have determined that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is your best bet, you can follow this process.
- Take the assessment. There’s a simple assessment process on the Upsolve website that will determine whether Upsolve is a good fit for your particular case.
- Supply information. You’ll fill out a questionnaire and upload some documents, including your last two tax returns.
- Complete a credit course. This 60-minute course is a requirement for bankruptcy.
- Review your forms. Upsolve will complete the forms using the information you have provided. You’ll review the forms to assure that they are accurate.
- File the forms. You will file the forms with the court clerk’s office at the bankruptcy court that serves your area.
- Take a second course. This 60-minute course is also a requirement for completing the bankruptcy process.
- Watch a “what to expect” video. This will prepare you for your meeting with your bankruptcy trustee. This will be a mandatory in-person meeting that will take place abut a month after you file.
Some users may choose to have an attorney review their forms. This allows personal advice based on the specifics of your case. You’ll pay for this, but the fee will be much lower than the fee for preparing all of the forms.
💡 The Upsolve forum is available at all times to provide both emotional and practical support.
Upsolve User Reviews
Upsolve is a new company, but the customer reviews online are uniformly excellent.
On Google Reviews Upsolve has 1,060 reviews with a five-star average, which is unheard of in the financial services world. Some examples:
On Facebook, Upsolve has 144 reviews with an average score of 4.9. More examples:
Some companies achieve great review records by planting reviews on popular sites. Because Upsolve is a free-to-use non-profit, they have little incentive to do this. That makes the review record even more impressive.
Reviews from Industry Professionals
Upsolve also gets top reviews from industry professionals, including current and retired bankruptcy court judges.
Given that we’ll never be able to provide a free lawyer to everyone who needs one, particularly during the tidal wave of bankruptcies expected due to COVID-19, we must create a system that empowers individuals to access the rights they’re guaranteed when they cannot afford legal fees.Judge Robert Gordon, Ret. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Maryland
The income tax system is extremely, extremely complex. Much more complex than the bankruptcy code. But yet we have TurboTax…I don’t understand why we can’t do something similar to that for simple Chapter 7 bankruptcies.Judge Henry Callaway, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of Alabama
Upsolve plays a critical role in making sure that people who can’t afford a bankruptcy lawyer are still able to access the bankruptcy system. It’s an important part in promoting equal rights under the law.Ed Boltz, Former President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
All quotes sourced from Upsolve.
Independent bankruptcy attorney Julie Kreutzer, who is not associated with Upsolve, had this to say.
I just consulted with a client who wanted me to review and comment on the forms Upsolve software generated and give him advice afterwards on a variety of issues. I felt Upsolve did an excellent job and am quite impressed…
There is a quantum difference between paying an attorney like me somewhere around $350.00 to consult after using Upsolve vs. $1-2,000 or more for full representation…
Upsolve opens up a new world for debtors who can’t afford to retain an attorney, though I recommend having an experienced attorney review the forms to make sure they are accurate, advise on red flag issues and coach the client on issues like how to deal with a 341 hearing.
👉 The combination of positive reviews from both users and industry professionals indicates that Upsolve is certainly worth considering if you need to file for a basic Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Alternatives to Upsolve
We know of no apps or websites that provide services similar to Upsolve’s. That leaves three alternatives if you’re considering bankruptcy.
- Avoid bankruptcy. You may be able to pay off your loans without bankruptcy, but it could be a hard road. If there is no realistic way to pay your debts bankruptcy could be your only option.
- Do it yourself. Some people do file for bankruptcy with no assistance. This is risky. Mistakes could mean losing assets that you might have kept or even having your case thrown out and forfeiting your court fees.
- Hire a lawyer. Hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney to handle your case is the best way to handle bankruptcy, but the cost is considerable and many people who need bankruptcy simply can’t afford it.
If you can’t possibly pay your debts and you can’t afford a lawyer, Upsolve is an excellent option. It’s free, so there’s nothing to lose by filling out the initial questionnaire and seeing what Upsolve has to offer.
Upsolve is a unique entry into the online financial services world. It’s a non-profit and it’s completely free to use. The stated goal of the founders was to make bankruptcy accessible to those who most need it, and it appears to be succeeding.
Bankruptcy is not something to take lightly. The process is complex, even with help. Be especially careful if you have ongoing medical expenses: you won’t be able to file for bankruptcy again for eight years.
Bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to ten years. It has a severe impact, but most people who file for bankruptcy have severely damaged credit before they file. Many people who file have better credit a year after bankruptcy than they did before it.
👉 Bankruptcy is not a financial death sentence or an admission for failure. It’s a chance at a fresh start. Many creditors recognize that bankruptcies can be caused by factors outside your control, like medical bills or job loss, and are willing to deal with people who have emerged from bankruptcy.
Most bankruptcies in the US are fairly simple Chapter 7 filings made by people with minimal assets. The filers are typically people in the low to middle-income brackets. Upsolve is designed to make these filings easier and cheaper, and it seems to achieve that goal very well. The site contains a wealth of information about personal finance and the bankruptcy process, and if you’re considering bankruptcy or you’re under severe debt stress it is well worth a visit.
How We Rated Upsolve
We usually rate financial products by comparing them with other competing products. Upsolve has no direct competitors and is not a for-profit company, so this is not possible.
Here’s an explanation of the rating criteria that we used in this case.
Upsolve can’t make bankruptcy free: you’ll still have to pay the court fees, though Upsolve will help you apply for a fee waiver if you don’t have the capacity. Upsolve itself is completely free to use, and you can’t get cheaper than that!.
Upsolve is extremely effective at what it does, but it doesn’t do everything. It won’t help you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and some complex Chapter 7 bankruptcies may require legal assistance.
Upsolve is designed to make bankruptcy accessible to people who would otherwise be priced out of the legal process. Because of that, it focuses on the relatively simple Chapter 7 bankruptcies that are most common among low to middle-income filers.
If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7 or if you have a complex case involving significant assets, you should consider retaining a specialist bankruptcy attorney.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is a measure of how easy the service is to set up and use. Upsolve gets extremely high marks from users for it’s easy availability, user-friendly interface, and overall simplicity.
Bankruptcy is still a complex process, and Upsolve can’t change that, but the app itself does a very good job of making the process accessible.
No service goes right all the time, and when problems do arise you want to be able to get them addressed. Upsolve offers multiple levels of support. There’s a wide range of educational materials and how-to guides available on the site, and the forum is an excellent source of both information and the personal support that many filers badly need.
User reports indicate that when Upsolve users do need direct support, it is quick, friendly, and efficient.