What You Need To Do Before You Meet With A Bankruptcy Attorney

Posted on: 26 September 2018

When you are experiencing financial problems and difficulties, you might wonder if there is anything that you can do to improve your situation. There are options out there like debt consolidation services, but it can be difficult to determine whether the companies offering such services are legitimate or not. Plus, there is the distinct possibility that you will not be able to make the necessary payments to make debt consolidation work. As such, you might be looking at the alternative option of bankruptcy. Before you go and meet with a bankruptcy attorney about your situation, there are some steps that you should take. Get to know some of these steps so you can be better prepared to meet with a bankruptcy law attorney.  

Gather Up Proof of Your Income

One of the many things a bankruptcy attorney will need to see from you is proof of all of your income. This will include wages and salary, of course, but could also include other sources of income. If you receive child support or alimony, for example, proof of this monthly income will also need to be included with your income information.

Similarly if you have stocks that pay out dividends, investment accounts that pay interest, or even a trust, pension, or the like that pay out, you will want to have full documentation of these payments made to you. Along with pay stubs and other documentation of individual sources of income, gather up your tax returns for the most recent three years. This is additional proof of annual income your lawyer can use in their calculations.

Your bankruptcy attorney needs to know your income for a few reasons. Firstly, it can help them determine if bankruptcy is the best road for you to go down. And secondly, it can help them to determine what type of bankruptcy filing (what chapter) is right for you. 

Gather Up Documentation of All Your Debts

The next step you will want to take before you schedule your meeting with a bankruptcy attorney is to gather up documentation of all of your debts. This includes any debts that you do not want to include as part of your bankruptcy. For example, if you have a car loan or lease that you need to maintain so that you have a vehicle to get to and from work, you need to list the debt with your bankruptcy attorney. Just let them know this is a debt you wish to maintain after the bankruptcy discharge is complete. 

Debts that you will want to disclose include medical bills, credit cards, home or personal loans, student loans, auto loans, any accounts in collections, and any other type of debt. If you run your own business as a sole proprietorship, any debts you owe for your business should also be included. Your attorney will need to see all of your debts, particularly a rough estimate of the balance totals. This, along with your proof of income, will allow your bankruptcy attorney to calculate your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio is used to determine the chapter of your bankruptcy filing and whether or not your case will likely be approved by the courts. 

Once you have all of this documentation prepared, you are ready to call a bankruptcy law attorney and set up an appointment to get the bankruptcy process started. Reach out to a professional like Charles J Schneider PC for more help.