So, you’ve decided to file for bankruptcy and become financially free again! This is the best move you could have made and you will be back on your feet in no time. Bankruptcy will help you keep your property, belongings, and retirement accounts while freeing you from endless creditor calls, texts, and emails. Just imagine how great you will fee debt free!
However, you must know that adequate preparation for your bankruptcy claim is essential for ensuring a favorable outcome. Getting your claim ready is easy with experienced debt attorneys from San Diego at your side. That doesn’t mean you should not perform your own research before filing though.
How do I prepare for my bankruptcy?
Successful bankruptcy claims are equal parts preparation, perseverance, and patience. And lawyers, definitely the best lawyers. An experienced bankruptcy attorney is your biggest weapon against creditor harassment, wage garnishments, and property foreclosures. However, there’s still a lot you can do on your own to prepare for filing.
Assembling all your income statements
The first step in every bankruptcy, regardless of the type you’re filing, is gathering all the necessary proof of your income, including six months of paystubs and profit and loss statements if you own a business. Also, you need copies of your tax returns. It’s tedious, but not difficult or impossible, and if you get stuck, you guessed it – hire a bankruptcy lawyer. In fact, you should do it in the first place! Keep in mind that your bankruptcy case can be dismissed if you do not provide the required documentation. In some cases you may not be able to refile a bankruptcy case for an extended amount of time. Ultimately, the benefits of having attorney representation far outweigh the expense.
Gathering your required documents
It is a good idea to compile all of your documents before you start preparing your bankruptcy forms. In particular, filing in San Diego means you will have to provide an extensive list of documents to your trustee. The items you need to send the trustee depend on your assets and debts. But, a good rule of thumb is to get a valuation for each of your assets worth more than $1,000 and get a payoff statement for each debt owed on your property.
Preparing your credit reports
Next, you need copies of your credit reports for the past year, which you can get online absolutely free of charge once every 12 months. This is also an important step, as it grants you a clear insight into all the creditors on the report, allowing you to include them all when filing for bankruptcy.
Since each creditor you owe money must be included in your claim, you need to know the name, address, account number and date the debt was incurred. Again, lawyers are a great asset during this step, as failing to include a creditor might mean you have to repay that debt once your bankruptcy is done. And nobody wants that!
Creating a list of all your assets
Bankruptcy court also requires you to honestly report all of the assets you own, as well as the correct value of those assets. Undoubtedly this is the most important information that must be correctly identified and valued in your claim.
However, this doesn’t mean listing every lamp and table you own – you will group all the smaller assets together in the forms. Be detailed, be accurate, and be transparent, but also be relaxed – nobody’s going to deny your bankruptcy if you forget a trinket.
At the same time, leaving out assets is a big no, no and truthfully can get you into trouble. Remember that Gerber Life Insurance policy your grandparents gave you as a kid? Yep, list it. Bankruptcy is all about honesty and full disclosure. Even if you don’t think something is valuable you have to identify it or you risk losing it to a bankruptcy trustee. In order to fully protect all of your assets you should hire a bankruptcy attorney who will be with you from start to finish.
Gather all of the forms needed to file
Of course you need to complete a bunch of bankruptcy forms. Fortunately the forms are readily available online. In general, your complete bankruptcy packet will be about 60 pages or longer.
At the same time you are working on your forms have the various bankruptcy laws available including a list of exemptions for your property. This will ensure you protect your property from the bankruptcy trustee.
Lastly, make sure you sign and date every required page. Remember that your signature is your testimony under penalty of perjury that everything is true and accurate. Pay careful attention to the details because they matter. You don’t want your case dismissed or worse yet, to get into legal trouble because you left something out or didn’t properly explain your financial history.
Preparing for the hearing
Once you file all the required documents and forms, it’s time for hearing preparation. However, this does sound a lot more terrifying than it actually is. Hearings do have a reputation to them, don’t they?
If you’ve hired a lawyer, you can sit back and relax as they ensure a stress-free and relaxing hearing for you. If not, just remember the most important rule of bankruptcy – truth and honesty. You’ll be ok.
Getting ready for your discharge
Finally, you have to prepare for the discharge you will receive at the completion of your bankruptcy. This means attending a Debtor Education Course or completing it online in roughly two hours. This is a quick crash course into learning how to handle your newfound financial freedom. As if you hadn’t planned it out a thousand times in your head already. Bankruptcy will allow you to breathe deeply again and take the weight of debt off your shoulders, and that’s the most important thing.
Which debt attorney in San Diego should I hire?
Preparing to file for bankruptcy means that you’ve finally decided to find financial relief and regain your independence from debt, which is great. However, have you thought about what the common bankruptcy options are, what you should know before you file for bankruptcy, and what the process of filing your bankruptcy is like? If you have, it means you’re ready to begin preparing all of the necessary documents and start your process.
Before actually filing your bankruptcy, it’s important to hire experienced debt attorneys to help you. You can find the leading experts at Bankruptcy Law Offices of Mark L. Miller. We have the experience, the dedication, and the knowledge necessary to ensure your bankruptcy claim is smooth and successful. You can find our offices near the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, so you can come for a free consultation at your convenience. Call us today!