Filing for Bankruptcy

Help when filing for bankruptcy in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases under new laws

Before filing for bankruptcy, many items should be gathered and verified for legal compliance. All documents must also be available for review, and may be submitted to the Trustee and/or Court to become part of the official record:

  • Photo ID
  • Two most recent years State and Federal income tax returns
  • A pay stub with year-to-date earnings, if available
  • Complete list of all creditors and disputed claim holders, including name, address and account number
  • Monthly income and expense budget
  • A list of all assets owned

Also, many more items are referenced within pleadings and schedules that are filed, and will determine, to a large degree, how your attorney chooses to design pleadings to maximize value retained by debtors. Expect many questions regarding these items:

  • All financial accounts
  • All payroll deductions
  • Deeds, liens and titles
  • Insurance policies
  • Tax appraisals and assessments
  • Lawsuits and disputed claims
  • Retirement accounts

Usually, a copy of these items is sufficient for any qualified attorney. Debtors who choose to file pro se must be prepared to answer questions in Court regarding issues relating to each of these items.

Tips when filing for bankruptcy

Forms and Official Court instructions are available online. However, to complete these items in a format acceptable to the Clerk requires numerous technical and legal decisions. Because the petition contains an oath, and refers to attached documents, the truth and correctness of all statements contained within these documents is given the same weight as sworn testimony before a Judge. Courts may dismiss any case for technical defects in pleadings, and in fact, routinely do so. An intentional misrepresentation usually results in sanctions.

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