How have bankruptcy procedures changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
To protect all parties involved, Minnesota bankruptcy procedures have changed to respect social distancing and safer at home guidelines. These changes include deadline extensions, office closures, payment methods, and document requests, among others. The United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Minnesota has enacted the following guidelines until further notice.
As of now, Lobbies of Clerk’s Offices in Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul are closed to the public. Those who need to request documents or have other questions are encouraged to call in to the offices. Instead of picking up in person, the documents requested can be mailed or emailed. There are still document drop-offs available, however mailing is encouraged.
Payment Methods have also changed. Payments can be made by mail or cashiers’ check, but cash payments are no longer accepted during this time. While payment drop-offs are still available, it is encouraged to mail payments in.
If you need to request a document that requires pre-payment, these phone requests are now taken once per week. The following days are scheduled to receive these requests: May 13th, May 20th, and May 28th. The Clerk’s Offices advise those requesting these documents mail in their request along with payment. If mailed in, the request will be processed the day it is received.
Orders on partial case filing or partial conversion that were entered in Minnesota, on or after March 23rd, 2020 and until further notice are allowed 30 days for filing completion, instead of the usual 14 days. If your case was filed before this, you may also complete an application for an extension on filing completion.
Due to social distancing regulations, the requirement of the debtor’s original, physical signature before electronically filing documents has been suspended for the time being, if the attorney follows the proper conditions. Before filing, the attorney must have obtained the debtor’s digital signature through software that has signature authentication and keeps a copy of the digitally signed document on file, or the attorney has written permission from the debtor to affix their signature to the document and keeps this written permission on file.
These new regulations protect those seeking financial relief and those helping them. If you have questions about bankruptcy or these new procedures, contact hoglundlaw.com.