After trying different ways to resolve your debt issues, it may become obvious that filing for personal bankruptcy is the only practical solution. The best approach is to contact a bankruptcy lawyer and set up an initial consultation. Before you arrive at that appointment, it’s in your best interests to take care of a few things first. Here’s a list of documents that you should bring along. Doing so will make it easier for the Kepple Law Group or another lawyer to assess your situation and offer advice.
- Gather Information About All of Your Creditor Accounts
Compile a list of every creditor account that you have at present. That includes accounts that currently have zero balances. Ideally, the list should include the name of each creditor, a mailing address, and the balance owed as of the date of the consultation. You may also want to indicate if all the accounts are current or if you are in arrears on any of them.
Keep in mind that the lawyer will obtain credit reports to verify the data. By providing this list up front, you make it all the easier to verify the accounts and the balanced owed.
- Collect Data on All of Your Income Sources
Just as you want to provide information on all of your open accounts, it’s also necessary to provide data about all of your sources of income. For most people, this would be income obtained from jobs. In the case of freelancers or independent contractors, that information can be obtained from the most recent tax returns and tax payments, or generated using accounting software.
Don’t forget to include recurring disbursements from trust funds or other financial accounts. The goal is to provide an accurate account of how much money you have coming in, and how often you receive funds from each of the sources. This will help the personal bankruptcy lawyer Central Illinois manage the means test with more accuracy.
- Prepare a List of All Your Assets
Part of the bankruptcy process involves assessing all of your financial assets as well as your personal belongings. To this end, do provide data about any real estate you own, vehicles, jewelry, household furnishings, collections, and other belongings. Those assets will be classed as exempt or non-exempt based on current laws. Depending on the type of bankruptcy that you seek, some of the non-exempt assets may be surrendered to the bankruptcy trustee and sold to partially settle your debts before discharging the remaining balances.
- Have an Outline of Your Basic Living Expenses
Prepare an outline that includes your basic living expenses. This relates to what it costs to meet needs like food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. That monthly amount will be taken into account when preparing your bankruptcy petition.
- Bring Along All of Your Credit Cards
While your credit card accounts will no longer be active once the bankruptcy is underway, you don’t get to keep the cards. Surrender all of them so they can be destroyed. That includes cards that currently have zero balances. Keep in mind that even creditors you do not owe are likely to close those accounts once the court notifies them of your filing.
Once you have all the information collected, it’s time to schedule your free 30-minute consultation with the Kepple Law Group. Remember that the advance preparation makes it easier to evaluate the circumstances of your case, administer the means test, and provide advice on what form of personal bankruptcy would be in your best interests. By having all this data on hand at that first meeting, it’s possible that your bankruptcy petition could be created and filed with the court within the next business day.