If you're having trouble keeping up with your debts and you're considering bankruptcy as an option to get back on track, making a consultation appointment with a bankruptcy attorney can help you assess your situation and determine whether or not filing for bankruptcy is a good option for you. Your lawyer will need an accurate picture of your financial situation and your debts in order to advise you accurately, so prepare ahead of time so you have everything you need when you sit down to talk.
One of the first things your attorney will ask for is information about your current income. Bring your last two filed tax returns if possible, along with check stubs or bank statements from the past 6 months and information documenting any other income, such as investment income, government aid payments or child support. If you're married, you'll need information on your spouse's income as well. An accurate representation of your income is vital to help your attorney determine whether bankruptcy is a suitable option for you and, if so, whether you qualify to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Along with your income, the most important information to present to your attorney is current information on the status of your debts. Gather a list of every debt you owe with the name of the creditor and the exact amount owed. This includes your mortgage, vehicle loan, credit card debt, medical bills, other loans, judgments, or past due bills. Don't neglect smaller debts or loans from family members or friends you need to repay; add everything you currently owe to your list. Include information on whether the creditor is secured or unsecured, the account number and the full address of each creditor if possible.
Your assets can affect what type of bankruptcy you can file, so gather any information pertaining to any property, accounts and cash you currently have. For real estate, bring a copy of a tax bill that shows the assessed value of your property, a mortgage statement, information on any equity loans on the property and your deed. You'll also need information on the value of your vehicle from Kelley Blue Book or NADA. Bring any statements from retirement accounts, pensions, profit sharing, and life insurance plans you have, along with the cash value if applicable. Make a list of items in your home you could sell, including jewelry and collectibles, along with an estimate on the fair market value for each item.
Situations Requiring Prompt Action
Certain situations can be stopped or delayed with a bankruptcy filing, so it's important to let your attorney know about them as soon as you step into your consultation. These situations include, wage garnishments, lawsuits, home foreclosure, and eviction proceedings. Bring any legal paperwork or letters from your creditors pertaining to any pending action against you. If you're late on your car payment but your vehicle hasn't yet been repossessed, make sure your attorney knows exactly how behind you are and any prior due dates.
Ask your bankruptcy attorney if there is any additional information you should bring to your consultation when you set your appointment with the law firm. Some firms have their own questionnaires or other paperwork to fill out before your first meeting.
For more information, reach out to attorneys like C. Taylor Crockett, P.C.