When you bring everything you need to your bankruptcy consultation you help ensure your attorney will have everything necessary to properly advise you on your case. This also ensures that there are no costly mistakes on your paperwork.
Understand that when you file bankruptcy your attorney will have to create a number of documents on your behalf. These documents include:
- The petition
- A schedule listing assets, liabilities, income, and expenses
- A statement of financial affairs which goes into more detail about your particular financial situation.
In order to fill out these schedules accurately you need to really go through your records, sit down, and gather all of the following information.
Your regular monthly expenses.
Start with your income and expenses.
- How much income do you bring in? Bring check stubs or other statements to prove it.
- Your rent/mortgage payment.
- Homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance.
- Car payments
- Car insurance
- Daycare bill
- Food bill both for groceries and for eating out.
- Gym membership fees.
- Phone fees.
- Installment payments for furniture or electronics.
- Health insurance.
- Retirement contributions.
- Union dues.
- Loan repayments.
Don’t forget loans that you may own to family members and friends. They count!
This is everything you own.
- Real estate.
- Stocks and bonds.
- Money in the bank, all account types.
- Vehicles, including make, model, and year.
- Sporting equipment.
- Equipment or tools that you use for work.
Note it doesn’t matter where the property is. It can be in your home or in storage or at a friend’s house, but if you own it you should list it.
Keep in mind that listing your property does not mean the courts will take it away. Indeed, almost all of your personal property, if not all of it, can generally be protected with federal bankruptcy exemptions. No officer of the court is going to sweep in and take everything you own. However, the forms do require us to list these pieces of property, and hiding assets is a good way to get your case dismissed and get you accused of bankruptcy fraud. So don’t do it!
If someone else does have your property you need to provide their identity, name, and address.
Your secured debts.
Secured debts are any debts that allow someone to come and get the property if you don’t pay the installment. This can include:
- Your house payment.
- Furniture payments.
- Appliances you’re still paying on.
- Four wheelers.
- Any debt secured by a bank account.
Your unsecured debts.
Unsecured debts are any debts that don’t have property attached.
- Credit cards.
- Hospital bills.
- Debts owed to family and friends.
- Overdraft fees or bank overcharges.
- Cash advances.
- Income tax debts.
Any lawsuits you’re dealing with.
If you’ve been sued it’s very important that you bring all the appropriate paperwork for your attorney to look at. Bring the summons, the complaint, the case number, the court, the identity of the plaintiff, all of it.
Liens you’re dealing with.
If you have any tax liens filed against your real estate, mechanics liens, or any other liens that you might be dealing with.
Information on money owed to you.
Does your ex owe you back child support or alimony? Did you loan money to someone? How much was the original debt and how much is left? When did the loan happen?
Get all your options.
Armed with all of this information the bankruptcy attorney can do two things. First, your attorney can get a complete and accurate picture of your financial situation, which means providing you with the right advice about how you can handle your financial difficulties.
Secondly, your attorney can provide the court with all the complete, accurate information they’re asking for, which is absolutely vital if you want to stay out of trouble.
Are you in dire financial straits? Don’t wait. Get help from our office today.
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