Filing for bankruptcy does not have to be an overwhelming process. While there are a number of things to do prior to filing, if you take each item one at a time it may not feel daunting.
Follow these 5 “must do’s” to prepare for bankruptcy:
- Find a bankruptcy attorney who you feel you can trust.
Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations. You can use this as an opportunity to explore the bankruptcy process and decide if the attorney is a good fit for you.
Bankruptcy is a specialized and intricate area of law. It is important that you hire an experienced attorney who understands the ins and outs of bankruptcy law. It is also important that you feel comfortable with the attorney you hire.
Take the time to research any attorney or law firm you’re considering. Some attorneys dabble in bankruptcy law, while others practice exclusively in bankruptcy. The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel practices exclusively in bankruptcy law. We’ve been helping people get out of debt for over 35-years.
- Complete the mandatory Credit Counseling Course.
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.
The course can be completed online and is relatively straightforward, inexpensive, and doesn’t take too much time to complete.
- Understand how you will be affected by the bankruptcy.
It is important that you understand what bankruptcy can and cannot do for you. For example, not all debts are discharged in bankruptcy. Nondischargeable debts must be paid back even after a successful filing. Examples of nondischargeable debts include student loans, newer tax obligations, and back spousal or child support payments.
Check out our article What is the Difference Between Dischargeable and Nondischargeable Debt?
- Gather the necessary documents.
There are a number of documents you will need to gather before filing for bankruptcy. Generally speaking, you will need to gather the following documents:
- 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.
- Certificate of completion for pre-filing credit counseling
- Consider where you bank.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, you may want to consider opening a new bank account. The best course of action is to bank at an institution where you do not owe money. If you are carrying a debt with the bank or credit union where your current checking or savings accounts are, then opening an account where you do not have debt is advisable.
Filing for Bankruptcy
We understand that filing for bankruptcy is a difficult decision, but it may be the best financial decision for you.
Here at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel, we will make sure you understand the benefits of bankruptcy and how filing with effect you and your family. We invite you to learn more about our firm here and come meet with us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Reach out to us by email at info@BrazielLaw.com or call (912) 351-9000.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Find out more about Bankruptcy in our guide: All About Bankruptcy.