Information and Documents to Collect for a Bankruptcy Filing
Bankruptcy is document intensive and can be a time consuming process. You will be required to take inventory of your financial condition and will need documents to support loans that exist, assets you own and creditors you owe. It is essential that you gather information about and include all of the possible creditor you can find so that the filing will be complete. Doing these things while you are considering bankruptcy as an option will not only save time once you make the decision to file, but gathering the information will also help you get an accurate picture of exactly where you stand financially.
Below is a list of some of the things you will need to find and may want to consider. This list is no exhaustive, but should give a good idea of the volume of information that will be needed to prepare your filing.
Names and addresses of creditors Names and addresses of creditors are an essential part of the bankruptcy filing. These are the individuals and companies who will need notice of the filing. It is a good idea to purchase your credit report. The credit report will list all creditors who may make claims as well as their addresses which will be needed for your filing.
Most Recent Tax Return It is a requirement that the most recent tax return or tax transcript be filed with the Court no later than 7 days before the date set for the first meeting of creditors. If you do not have your most recent tax return, you will need to order a transcript as soon as possible as it can take time for it to arrive.
Proof of Identification Your attorney may wish to view this. You will also need to bring it to the meeting of creditors as the trustee may request it as well.
Credit Counseling Debtors are required to attend a briefing with an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling entity within 180 days prior to filing the petition. The session can be done in person, over the phone or through the internet. Your attorney or the bankruptcy court can give you more information regarding approved counseling services.
Accurate Picture of Expenses The general trend is that people underestimate their household expenses. It is a good idea to begin tracking the amount of money you spend each day and classify the expenses. These are expenses for things such as (a) gas, (b) car maintenance, (c) school supplies and meals, (d) eating out (e) house supplies (f) snacks (g) postage (h) miscellaneous grocery store and convenience store expenses.
Copies of your Most Recent Bills This will provide the address for your creditors as well as the amount paid each month for various expenses.
Real Estate If you own your home, your attorney may recommend that you have a title search conducted. The title search will reveal all liens and judgments recorded against the property. The search may also reveal liens or judgements you didn't know existed.
In addition, you will need to obtain copies of the deed, deed of trust and note for all loans associated with your property. You can obtain copies of the deed and deed of trust from the land records division of the Circuit Court in the County in which your property is located. If you can't locate your note, you may have to contact the settlement company who closed the loan.
Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Bills
Payoff Statements for Any Real Estate You Own
For any Secured Debts, Copies of the Contracts for Those Debts - i.e. car loan papers
Payoff Statements for Any Secured Loans - i.e. Car Loans
Paystubs Paystubs for the last three months will assist in calculating monthly income.
Monthly Statements for Social Security and Retirement Benefits
Information and Documentation Regarding Retirement Plans
If You are Divorced, a Copy of the Final Decree of Divorce
If You Have Ever Filed Bankruptcy in the Past, Copies of the Paperwork Related to the Filing
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