CHAP7..13 TM Bankruptcy Filing Software for Windows

CHAP7..13 TM Bankruptcy Filing Software for Windows

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The title is descriptive if not scintillating, and the box is colorful. The plot is extremely thin, but the learning curve is gentle, not steep. The developers are not highly touted in the accompanying written materials; in fact, the developers' names are not mentioned. Just to be clear at the outset—this is a software review. If you came here to get a taste of the latest lawyer fiction, please bear with us. Some of that is coming in an issue or two.

Version 1.1 of "CHAP7..13TM Bankruptcy Filing Software for Windows®" has an expanded user manual and updates the previous version to add federal district information for Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. The version upgrade also contains matrix enhancements, summary/schedule enhancements and enhancements for the Central District of California to deal with renumbered local rules.

The software is designed with the technically challenged in mind. The program is simple to set up and to use. At the same time, the program easily manages the information necessary to prepare petitions and schedules for chapter 7, 11, 12 and 13 debtors.

The installation process incorporates the Borland Database Engine, which is important to know because there may be glitches. The installation process went fine on a Compaq Presario 1675, but other programs using the database engine have not installed without modification on a computer using an Intel Pentium II 400 mhz Central Processing Unit. Although the database engine may result in some installation issues, they can be overcome in most cases and should not constitute a hurdle to acquiring the software.

Once installed, "CHAP7..13TM" is simple to use. It is not, however, self-operating. The user has to have some knowledge of the type of information needed to fill out bankruptcy debtor forms. Suffice it to say, this software is not going to make it easy for just anyone to become a bankruptcy form preparer.

The metaphor used after the program opens is tabbed windows. When you open the program, it gives you a list of existing cases and allows you to open an existing case or to create a new one. When you open an existing case, a Case Explorer window opens. Anyone familiar with the Windows Explorer window of Windows 95, Windows 98 or Window NT will recognize the Case Explorer and can easily use it.

In the Case Explorer Window, there are directors for Case Information, Schedules A-F, Other Schedules, Other Documents and "Not Applicable," which contains those documents that do not apply based on the preliminary information entered about the type of case. To add information about the case, you simply choose the category you want to work with, mouse click on the category, such as Case Information, and begin filling out information in forms contained in the windows.

A nice feature of the program is its capability to maintain a common creditors list so you enter information about each creditor only once. The information for creditors such as mortgage companies, banks, credit companies and other national lenders is then available for use in any case. Another attribute many users will appreciate is the capability to choose the federal district in which the case is to be filed. The forms available to be filled in for the case then conform to the local rules of the district chosen.

"CHAP7..13TM" contains the forms necessary to initiate the case and includes some form letters for accepting employment on a limited basis and other matters. Forms such as those necessary to oppose a motion for relief from the automatic stay or to force a valuation of collateral are not included. However, it is possible to create such additional forms by modifying a form letter that comes with the program and saving it as an additional "Other Document."

You, quite thankfully, do not have to rely on my feeble attempt to describe the workings of the program and its attributes to understand what it has to offer or how to operate it. The manual that comes with the program is thorough, straightforward and easy to understand. It also is arranged in an order that is logical and makes information easy to locate.

For those in the high-volume bankruptcy petition production practice, the software may be worth the $625 cost. What's in a name? In the case of "CHAP7..13TM Bankruptcy Filing Software for Windows®", the name says it all. It is filing software—nothing more, nothing less. There is no mystery to "CHAP7..13TM" and, contrary to the case with my normal legal thriller book reviews, that is a bonus.

Editor's Note: Free technical support for CHAP7..13TM is available 7:00 am-8:00 pm, Monday-Friday at (800) 888-9907. Also, West Group will release Plan 13 payback plan software in a new Windows format this summer. For more information about either product, call (800) 762-5272.
Journal Date: 
Tuesday, June 1, 1999