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.
- 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.
- Paystubs for the past 60 days and evidence of household income for the past 6 months.
- 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).
- Notification of any anticipated increases in income or expenses after filing.
- 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).
- 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.
- All unsecured debt, such as credit cards, rent, utility bills and medical bills.
- Court orders if you pay child support or alimony, and proof you are current with these payments.
- Copies of all deeds and mortgages.
- 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.
- 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.