The Innovation Leader in Bankruptcy Software

Frequently Asked Questions

Ease of Use

Licensing

Upgrading from other products

Privacy

Automation

Case Management


Ease of Use

Is BkAssist easy to use?
BkAssist uses up-to-date Windows user-interface concepts to lead you naturally and directly to the screen forms and displays you need.

BkAssist works with things rather than with forms. That is, and just for example, you enter information about assets instead of filling in Schedules A and B and answering question 14 on the Statement of Financial Affairs. BkAssist puts the information in the correct places on the correct forms for you.

AND you only need to enter a particular piece of information once. For example, you can specify with a check box that a married debtor's spouse lives at the same address. You can likewise specify with a check box that a debtor's business is located at the debtor's residence. When the debtor moves to a new address, the spouse and business addresses change automatically.

Is help easily available?
Every screen has a      button that pops up a help page specific to that screen. In addition, if you let the mouse hover over any field or button on a BkAssist screen, Windows will pop up a "tool tip" that explains how to use that field or button.
Can I view multiple screens at one time?
Yes. BkAssist lets you view multiple client files simultaneously. When you are entering information about a client, you can view nearly all of the information screens simultaneously, too. You can really spread out with multiple monitors -- put income on one screen, expenses on another, the Chapter 13 worksheet on yet another, and so on. And BkAssist propagates the changes in one screen automatically to all others: change the weekly withholding taxes on the income screen, and immediately see the effect on the means test or the Chapter 13 plan.
Is the user interface handicapped accessible?
Absolutely. Because BkAssist uses standard Windows theme-enabled controls, you can use the same accessibility aids with BkAssist that you can use with other applications.
Is BkAssist network enabled?
BkAssist allows all users of your office LAN or a VPN to access shared files on your server, and there is no extra charge for this feature -- no matter how many people in your office are using BkAssist.
Can I work with a virtual assistant?
BkAssist allows you to hire an independent contractor (sometimes called a "virtual assistant") who will help you -- and maybe other bankruptcy attorneys -- prepare cases using BkAssist. Your VA can create BkAssist client files that he or she then "Sends" to you using a menu command. You "Receive" the file using a matching menu command, whereupon you own the client file. You can use Send and Receive any number of times to ship a client file back and forth.

A virtual assistant must have a special VA license to use BkAssist. The VA license is cheaper than a full license because it does not allow access to automation features like automatic case filing, mailing via CertificateOfService.com, etc. (Automation features that require your VA's PACER account are, however, fully available to the VA.)

Can I do What-If analyses?
BkAssist makes it easy for you to explore alternate filing scenarios because changes to client files aren't permanently saved to disk until you say so. Never fear that you'll inadvertently lose changes, though, because BkAssist will always prompt you before letting you lose unsaved changes. Plus, if BkAssist should happen to crash before you're able to save changes (all software has bugs, and BkAssist is not an exception), BkAssist will give you the option of restoring the unsaved data when you restart.


Licensing

What kind of licenses are there?
BkAssist has three levels of license:
  • Unlimited: all BkAssist features are available for one year.
  • Pro-bono: all BkAssist features are available in perpetuity, but only for the purpose of filing pro-bono cases.
  • Virtual assistant: case preparation features are available for one year.
Do my associates and paralegals need their own license?
No. Everyone in your office (meaning, everyone who can access your server via a LAN or a VPN) is covered by your license. Each user needs to install BkAssist on their own workstation, but all users will be accessing a single copy of shared client data. Only one user needs to register the software to unlock all features for everyone.
Does my virtual assistant need his or her own license?
As indicated above, a virtual assistant needs a virtual assistant license that permits him or her to input client data and to generate documents, but not to access any of the case-filing or case-management functionality of BkAssist. BkAssist assumes that the same individual will act on behalf of more than one lawyer, so the VA will not have access to your PACER or ECF credentials.
Is there a special version for pro-bono lawyers?
BkAssist is licensed free of charge to legal aid organizations and lawyers who will use it only for pro-bono activities. If you have a pro-bono license, BkAssist will put a pro-bono legend in the margin of each page of each PDF document it generates. You would presumably be very embarassed to file a document stamped as pro-bono in a fee-generating case. More information about the BkAssist support for pro-bono activities is available on the Access to Justice page.
Are additional fees needed for certain chapters?
No. The standard BkAssist license allows you to generate bankruptcy forms for filing under any chapter of the Code.
Are additional fees needed for additional states?
No. Practice in each state requires, however, a state-specific practice module. With a state-specific module installed, BkAssist will generate all required local forms, will understand how to file cases electronically, etc. State practice modules are available for all 55 states and territories where there are federal courts.

BkAssist understands the exemption rules of all states and territories.


Upgrading from other products

Can I upgrade to BkAssist from another product?
BkAssist allows you to import client case files directly from Best Case® and Bankruptcy PRO® That is, you can import all of the data you have entered about a client from these competing products directly into BkAssist. You will need to do some editing, though, because BkAssist maintains more information about various things than do these other products. BkAssist pops up a report at the end of each case import detailing what you need to do. (Just for example, BkAssist understands the date of each potentially preferential transfer and whether the transferee is an insider; it uses that information to choose whether and how to report transfers on the Statement of Financial Affairs. You don't need to hand-edit the client data when you decide to postpone a filing.)


Privacy

Is client data encrypted on my hard drive?
Yes. Unlike other bankruptcy software products, BkAssist encrypts all personal identifying information on your hard drive. When you start using BkAssist, you must enter a password. Without the password, all the client files are gibberish.


Automation

Do I still have to use CM/ECF?
BkAssist will automatically file complete and skeleton petitions for you, directly from your computer. You do not need to send your case files to anyone else or to trust anyone else with your CM/ECF password. BkAssist also keeps track of the deficiencies in a skeleton filing and will automatically file the documents that cure those deficiencies.

The File-It! page lets you file documents in a bankruptcy case or an adversary proceeding with just a few mouse clicks. While you can use CM/ECF directly if you want to (see What else will BkAssist do for me automatically? below), the File-It! automation means you don't have to.

Can I easily learn about prior cases?
A single mouse click causes BkAssist to login to the national PACER case list to locate all prior cases filed under the same social security numbers as your client(s). Once the list of prior cases is populated, you can double-click on an entry in the list to perform a PACER query about that case.
Can I easily see the claims register?
A single mouse click causes BkAssist to download the claims register for your case. Once the claims list has been populated, you can review claims, make notes about possible objections, etc.

BkAssist will use the claims information to generate post-confirmation amendments to your Chapter 13 plan, too. You need only use up-to-date disbursement information (such as you can get automatically from ndc.org) to make sure that the calculations are correct.

Can I automatically capture docket entries and filed documents?
BkAssist comes with a standalone program named BKAECF that will monitor e-mail traffic from your POP3 server in order to make copies of CM/ECF notices and to save your "free look" copy of each document. Unlike other products, BkAssist puts the documents in a client-specific folder and automatically updates your private copy of the court docket. Following a link from your private copy of the docket brings up the free-look copy of the associated document.

BKAECF is free with your BkAssist license. You will not need to purchase a separate product like I-Got-Notices™.

Can I get information about my Chapter 13 cases?
A single mouse click generates a report based on data from the National Data Center.
Can I easily mail documents to the matrix?
BkAssist lets you upload mailing jobs to CertificateOfService.com with a few mouse clicks, and it remembers your option selections from one job to the next.
Can I download credit reports?
A single mouse click will download a credit report about your client(s) and import the tradelines into the list of liabilities. We offer a seamless interface to MFI Credit Solutions. Your firm will need to establish an account with one of these providers, whereupon you can use the seamless BkAssist user interface to download credit report data from Equifax, Experian, and/or TransUnion. More information about credit reports is available on the Credit Reports page.
What else will BkAssist do for me automatically?
A "Tasks" page allows you to easily perform certain common case management tasks, including these tasks:
  • Send e-mail to your client
  • Send e-mail to the case trustee
  • Login to PACER or CM/ECF
  • Get information about a chapter 13 case from the National Data Center. See the full discussion of this feature on the National Data Center page.
  • Copy client, trustee, or creditor names and addresses to the Windows clipboard.


Case Management

How does BkAssist help me manage my bankruptcy cases?
BkAssist isn't done when you file your case. A Case Info tab allows you to track organic changes in a case (commencement, 341 meeting, conversion, discharge, etc.) and to automatically populate your calendar with statutory and rule-based deadlines. BkAssist will also track the docket and maintain local copies of case documents, so you never need to use PACER to find out what's happened in your cases.

Previous FAQs in this list discuss automation features that will help you after you file a case.

How does BkAssist help me manage adversary proceedings?
BkAssist lets you track adversary proceedings that are related to your bankruptcy cases. Docket and document management are integrated. While this feature won't take the place of a full-blown litigation support program, it will help you unless your needs are very demanding.
How does BkAssist help me manage my calendar?
Organic changes to cases automatically generate events for a Calendar tab. You can also easily add and modify events shown on the calendar.

BkAssist helps you synchronize calendars with other software by importing and exporting Internet Calendering and Scheduling (ICS) files. BkAssist also automatically generates calendar events based on the deadlines expressed in CM/ECF e-mail messages.