In today’s society, it is not uncommon for individuals to wind up in large amounts of debt. There are many different ways that debtors can attempt to get back on their feet financially, but filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most popular of them. Those who have filed for debt relief under this chapter of the Bankruptcy Code will no longer be liable for discharged debts, though it is important to note that the right to discharge is not absolute and some forms of debt are not eligible for discharge under chapter 7.
The first step for any individual who is considering filing for bankruptcy to take is to hire a bankruptcy attorney who can explain his or her client’s options and help with filing paperwork. Those who have already decided that they will file for chapter 7 bankruptcy with the help of an attorney should begin making preparations as soon as possible. Read on to find out about what documents should be gathered prior to the initial consultation with an attorney below to get started.
Documents to Bring to the Initial Consultation
Individuals who are filing for bankruptcy should collect any documents they have that describe personal or business assets and debts and bring copies to their attorneys. This should include copies of every bill or letter sent by a collection agency, copies of any current lawsuits or pleadings from previous lawsuits, deeds to any real estate interests, titles to vehicles, and life insurance policies. Debtors should also bring copies of two pay stubs that accurately represent their income, appraisals of any jewelry, properties, or other major assets, and their past two years of income tax returns.
Documents to File with the Court
Once an attorney has all of the documents listed above, he or she can get started filing all of the necessary paperwork on behalf of his or her client. This will include the bankruptcy petition, a list of creditors, assets, and liabilities, proof of current income and expenditures, and a financial statement. The attorney will also need to submit copies of all pay stubs received by the client within the 60 days prior to filing, an itemized statement of monthly net income, and a statement disclosing anticipated increases in income or expenditures for the following year.
Other Documents to Gather
Debtors should also obtain a certificate from an approved budget and credit counseling agency describing what services they have obtained from the agency, and a certificate from their attorney that indicates that they have received i8nformation about their options for debt relief. Much of the paperwork described above can be put together prior to a client’s first meeting with his or her attorney. This will help to ensure that there are no delays in court and that their cases will not be dismissed, helping them to get the fresh start they need to get back on their feet sooner.