When scheduling a new bankruptcy client for their initial appointment, one of the most common questions is “What do I bring with me?”
When I create your bankruptcy filing, I attempt to describe your financial condition and status to your Creditors, the Bankruptcy Trustee, and the Court. I need to know everything there is to know about what is going on in your financial life:
- What do you own?
- What is it worth?
- Where is it located?
- What do you owe?
- Who do you owe it to?
- What significant events have taken place in your financial life in recent years?
- How did you get to the point where you needed to file bankruptcy?
Remember – Now is the time to be open and honest. As your bankruptcy attorney, I need to know EVERYTHING. No matter how bad you believe your financial situation to be now; remember that I have probably seen worse. My focus as a bankruptcy attorney is to help, not judge.
I prefer that my clients to bring their documents to me on the first appointment. I try to run a “paperless” office. While this isn’t always practical, I try. I hate keeping original documents in my office. I usually scan your documents into my computer system and return them to you. Usually I return the documents to you at the same appointment.
Below is a list of the documents I recommend you bring:
- Income Tax Returns for the prior 2 years
- Paystubs for the last six (6) months
- Statements for your Installment Payments (i.e., mortgage, auto, etc.)
- Bank Statements for the past 6 months
- Rental Agreement or Proof of Rent
- Electricity,Water& Garbage, and Phone/Internet Bills
- Recent Home Maintenance Costs
- Insurance Cost Information (auto, home, heath, etc.)
- Transportation Costs (i.e., gas, auto repairs)
- Bills for medical expenses not covered by insurance
- Statements from your 401k, Pension, Profit Sharing
- List of Creditors (including company name, address, account number, approximate balance of debt, and any collection agencies, if applicable)
This is a general list, but covers the important items. If your situation calls for it, I may ask you to provide additional information later.
In my office I try to make this process as painless as possible for you. On your initial visit I will pull your credit report. You will receive a copy of the credit report at this meeting.
I use your credit report to help build your bankruptcy schedules and forms. You are required to list all of your creditors and debts on your bankruptcy schedules. I find that one of the easiest ways to build your schedules is to use your credit report. My bankruptcy software will load the information from your credit report into the proper bankruptcy forms.
However, this method only works for creditors who report to the major credit bureaus. If you owe debts to creditors not listed on your credit report, please let me know. Failure to properly list all of your debts could result in delay, denial, or other difficulties in completing your bankruptcy.