Bankruptcy is a powerful legal tool that can erase debts, stop collection action, and give you the fresh financial start you need. To get the benefits of bankruptcy your duty is to give full disclosure. You must be transparent about your financial affairs, including your debts and assets. Also, there are a number of documents you are required to provide to the Bankruptcy Court. Lastly, you must complete a debt counseling course, which can be done online.
You Must List All of Your Assets and Property
Your bankruptcy petition must include a complete list of your assets and any real property along with the current fair market value of the assets. This includes your house, car, bank accounts, and other personal belongings.
Most people who file for bankruptcy get to keep all or most of their belongings. To understand how and why you can protect many (possibly all) of your assets through bankruptcy, read our article What Property & Belongings Are Protected in Bankruptcy?
You Must List All of Your Debts
Your petition must include a list of your liabilities, which are all of the debts you owe to every creditor. For various reasons some people have creditors who they would rather not list in their bankruptcy, but you must list all creditors, including:
- Debts that will not be discharged, such as student loans and back child support.
- Debts you intend to pay (such as your car loan).
- Debts that you co-signed for someone else or that someone else co-signed for you.
- Debts owed to family members.
Also, it is important that you do not pay back or pay off one creditor right before filing for bankruptcy. Doing so may cause serious complications in your bankruptcy case. To learn more read our article Preferential Treatment of Creditors Explained.
Bankruptcy petitions are filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court under the penalty of perjury. It is critical that your petition be complete, accurate, and truthful to the best of your knowledge.
In addition to the information set out above, you must file certain documents with your bankruptcy petition, or when specified, while your case is pending. Necessary documents include, but may not be limited to:
- 6 months of pay stubs
- 6 months of documentation of other sources of income (if applicable)
- 6 months of profit & loss statements (if self-employed or you own a business)
- Copies of your bills and documentation of other debts you owe
- Copy of your most recent mortgage statement(s)
- Copy of your most recent car loan statement(s)
- Copy of your federal and state income tax return or a transcript of the return, for the most recent filed year ending immediately before your case is filed.
- Copies of paperwork in regard to pending lawsuits, wage garnishment, bank levies, foreclosure on real property, or repossession notices
- List of all bank and credit union accounts
- Record of any interest you have in an individual educational retirement account or under a qualified state tuition program.
- A document that establishes your identity, including a driver’s license, passport, or such other documents containing your photograph.
- Certificate of completion for pre-filing credit counseling (see below)
We understand that for some people one of the most daunting tasks is to gather documents. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with gathering all of these documents, take it one document at a time.
There are other mandatory disclosures that must be made in your bankruptcy petition. When you work with The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel we will ask you the right questions to help ensure that your petition is complete and accurate.
Debt Counseling Requirement
Every person (with rare exception) who files for bankruptcy must complete two courses: credit counseling and debtor education. Both courses can be completed online or over the phone. Generally speaking, they are straightforward, inexpensive, and not too time-consuming.
Credit Counseling must be completed within 180-days prior to filing for bankruptcy. When you finish the course you will receive a certificate of completion, which must be filed with the Bankruptcy Court.
Debtor Education must be completed after filing for bankruptcy. As with the Credit Counseling course, after you finish Debtor Education you will receive a certificate of completion, which must be filed with the Bankruptcy Court.
Read our article Debt Counseling Requirement to learn more. When you work with us, our office will handle filing both certificates for you, along with all other necessary paperwork for your bankruptcy case.
We Can Help You Erase Your Debts
We help hundreds of people just like you successfully file for bankruptcy each year. But our clients are never just a number. You will not be left in the hands of a paralegal. You will have access to your attorney throughout your bankruptcy case. Call us today at (912) 351-9000 or contact us via the web to schedule a free consultation.
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The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel proudly serves the people of Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, Garden City, and Ludowici, Georgia.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.