Learning About Bankruptcy Proceedings

Filing for Bankruptcy? Tips for Making the First Move

by Seth Beck

Most people only decide on filing for bankruptcy after months of thought. If you have a feeling that bankruptcy is in your future, it might help to know what needs to be done before the case is officially filed in federal court. Read on to find out more.

Know What Not to Do

It's only natural for some people who are anticipating a chapter 7 filing to feel a sense of release and relief. The end is in sight and a few more actions can gain you the financial fresh start you need so much. Unfortunately, some filers-to-be go a bit overboard with their credit cards before they file. If you are like most people, just paying living expenses are a challenge in the time leading up to a bankruptcy. As long as you can show that your charges and cash advances charged on a credit card were needed and not frivolous, you won't have problems. Don't, however, use what's left of your available credit to go on a spa holiday.

Find a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Even if the filing is several months away, the advice and support provided by an attorney are just as important now as it will be later on. Speak to friends or loved ones to get recommendations and speak to the lawyer about your financial situation. Not everyone needs to file nor is bankruptcy the right move for all. A bankruptcy lawyer will look at the type of debt you have, how much property you own, state exemptions, and more. Coming away from a meeting with a lawyer you will know, for example, whether or not all or just some of your debts can be forgiven with a bankruptcy filing. It's vital to know what will happen so that you can make a better filing decision.

Take the Pre-bankruptcy Class

There are two mandatory classes for all chapter 7 filers and one of them has to be completed before you file. The credit counseling class is more about proving that your financial situation is severe enough to file than educational. You will prepare a budget showing your current financial status and a state-certified credit counseling agency determines your need to file. In most cases, your numbers will show that you cannot pay off your debts without getting financial relief and you are approved to file. Speak to your bankruptcy lawyer to find out how to complete the budget for this class.

Fill Out the Paperwork

You will find the completion of the forms necessary for filing to be a large task. Have on-hand creditor information, balances of debts, a list of assets, information about financial transactions prior to filing, and tax returns for the most recent tax year.

To learn more about making the most of your time before you file, contact a bankruptcy law firm.