When You Need to File for Bankruptcy

At Behm Law Group, LTD, we see people from all different walks of life, and generally they have one thing in common—they’re desperate. Declaring bankruptcy is the last thing most people want to do; however, many feel that they have no choice. Perhaps you’re feeling financially stressed, maybe even desperate. Do you need to file for bankruptcy? Here are some symptoms that many people in financial distress experience and which may indicate that bankruptcy may be an appropriate option.

You’re making minimum payments on your credit cards

When you have no choice but to make minimum payments on your cards, you’re in financial trouble. The big credit card companies have structured their payments so that if you repeatedly make the minimum payment, you will never pay-off your debt. If you’re making minimum payments month after month, you’re digging a deep financial hole that only gets deeper and increasingly more impossible to escape from.

You have to borrow money to pay for basics

When your monthly financial obligations consume so much of your income that you have to borrow money to eat, you are in financial trouble. Do you need to put your utility or grocery bill on your charge card just to make ends meet? Have you maxed-out most of your credit cards and struggle to find money to buy even simple basic necessities? If this is your case, you probably never will be able to pay off your debts.

You have cut everything you can and still can’t make ends meet

You’ve tried to be as proactive as possible by cutting expenses and canceling services that other people take for granted. You dropped your cell phone service, you’ve cancelled your cable or satellite TV, you don’t have internet, and you shop for groceries only when money allows you to. Unfortunately, even though you’ve cut everything possible, your financial obligations and credit card payments are such that you still can’t get ahead. And to make matters worse, with each month that goes by, even though you’re making payments, the amount you owe is growing with each passing day.

Are you Desperate?

Declaring bankruptcy is not a financial solution to be taken lightly. However, for some people, it is the only solution. At Behm Law Group we understand the anxiety and frustration folks caught in this situation are feeling. If you are desperate and feel totally overwhelmed by mounting debt and endless calls and letters from debt collectors, call the Behm Law Group LTD and let us help you find an equitable resolution to your financial situation.

Can I File Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer?

Simply answered, yes you can. If an individual meets the eligibility requirements of filing bankruptcy in the state they reside in, one can file bankruptcy themselves. That being said, bankruptcy laws are complex and change frequently, and the process can be challenging to navigate without guidance from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.

If you attempt to pursue bankruptcy on your own, in addition to interpreting and understanding bankruptcy laws, individuals must gather specific required documents within defined timeframes before even filing for bankruptcy. Some of these documents are fairly easy to obtain. Others may require more in-depth research, such as requesting information from the IRS. If these requirements are not specifically followed, or if any of the documents are missing, the individual will not be allowed to file for bankruptcy.

The requirements become further complex when a spouse, family member or friend is impacted by the filing. In these cases, additional documentation is required and those friends and family members may find themselves involved in the filing.

Declaring bankruptcy can be an emotionally devastating process. Many individuals feel humiliated, defeated and overwhelmed. In such a state, the added stress of interpreting bankruptcy laws and complying with the complicated filing process can sometimes be more than a person can handle. Small mistakes during the filing process may create huge and costly complications in the future. How can you best protect yourself and your financial well-being?

At Behm Law Group, we limit our practice exclusively to bankruptcy. As experts in this field, we stay abreast of the latest developments in bankruptcy law and guide our clients through the requirements and process every step of the way. Behm Law Group understands that this is an extremely sensitive decision, one which was not made lightly, and we extend our expertise with compassion to all of our clients. To obtain more information on the bankruptcy requirements and process, please contact Behm Law Group for a free consultation.  We will answer any questions you may have and provide you with peace of mind.

Expedite the Bankruptcy Process: Gather the Required Documents in Advance

The process of filing for bankruptcy can and should be a very smooth and relatively quick one. What generally slows and complicates the process is if the individual does not have the required paperwork in order. Prior to filing bankruptcy, there are a number of supporting documents that must be submitted. Until these documents are properly collected and reviewed, your bankruptcy lawyer cannot obtain a court date for you. Most individuals will find that the process becomes very long and tedious if they do not proactively obtain these documents. Although this is not an exhaustive list, the following is a general list of documents which you should start gathering in advance to smooth the way and speed up the process.

  1. The individual(s) must obtain a certificate of Approved Credit Counseling. The cost of doing so is nominal, and may be completed online through a number of agencies.
  2. Paystubs for the past 60 days and evidence of household income for the past 6 months.
  3. Last 4 years of original income tax returns, and evidence of how you used your last tax refund (particularly if you are filing shortly after you received it).
  4. Notification of any anticipated increases in income or expenses after filing.
  5. Financial statements for the past 6 months. This includes retirement accounts, stocks/bonds and bank accounts (checking, savings, loans for secured debt, such as automobiles and mortgages).
  6. A detailed list of personal property. This should be an exhaustive list of all personal property, including items such as electronics (TV, laptop, iPod), furniture, bedding and linens, kitchen appliances, lawn care equipment, workshop equipment, jewelry, antiques, collections – just to name a few.
  7. All unsecured debt, such as credit cards, rent, utility bills and medical bills.
  8. Court orders if you pay child support or alimony, and proof you are current with these payments.
  9. Copies of all deeds and mortgages.
  10. Titles for any automobiles, boats, trailers, or jet skis that you own, and proof of full coverage insurance if you have a loan (secured debt) on your car.
  11. A detailed list of any items you have pawned.

This list may seem overwhelming at first glance. However, an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer can guide you through the process, help you obtain these documents and, in some cases, even obtain them for you. To ensure your bankruptcy filing process is as smooth as possible, contact Behm Law Group.