Filing for bankruptcy can be incredibly stressful and it just sucks. It’s time consuming and can be very overwhelming.
Debtors who work with an attorney are 3-20 times more likely to successfully complete bankruptcy. Even with a lawyer it can be very overwhelming, but it can be much more stressful without legal help.
Here a few things to keep in mind to help get you through the bankruptcy process:
- Get Organized
There is a lot of information that is needed in order to file for bankruptcy. You will need to provide exact amounts and account numbers for every one of your debts. It is your responsibility to provide all debtors so that all your debt can be discharged. Your case can be thrown out if you don’t include all debts. Create a folder that has all your current bills, medical bills, mortgage statements, pay stubs, car loans, etc. so it can be easily accessed later.
- Create copies of everything
Make a copy of all your current bills, collection notices, pay stubs, etc. so that you can give a copy to your lawyer.
- Be 100% honest with your lawyer
You need to be completely honest with your attorney. If there is a debt or money you owe and you don’t tell your attorney, then it cannot be included in your bankruptcy petition. Your debt will not be discharged if it is not included in your petition and you will still owe on that debt. We know you may feel ashamed, but your attorney is there to help you, not judge you. Always make sure to supply the documents your lawyer asks for and not hide anything from them. Remember to stay in close communication by phone and answering emails so you can keep moving forward with your petition.
- Work on your petition form everyday
Your attorney will provide you with a very long form with multiple pages to fill out, called a petition (or an intake form). It has a LOT of questions. These forms need to be filed out and completed in order to file your case. The sooner this document is completed the faster the bankruptcy process can start. Be completely honest on these forms. You do not want your case to be thrown out of court because you were not honest. If you have started gathering your bills and documents ahead of time it can make filling out the forms a lot easier. Working on your forms every day will help to get through them all and not feel so overwhelming. Your attorney cannot file the bankruptcy petition without these forms, so just get it done. Unfortunately, the bankruptcy process takes work, but once completed a huge burden will be lifted.
- Don’t worry about your car
Most likely you will want to keep at least one vehicle. This is something that you need to discuss with your lawyer. Information is needed on your vehicle such as the value and loan payments. There are also other things to consider if you are upside down or have high interest payments. There are exemption amounts for you vehicle on the petition as well. Bottom line, there are several ways to keep our vehicle.
- Just Breath
There are a lot of things that need to be done when filing for bankruptcy, but remember to just breath. It will all be ok. Once your petition is filed you will probably feel very relieved and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
A few extra tips;
- Find a lawyer that you are comfortable with. This is someone that will be working with you and representing you so you want to be comfortable with talking to them and having them handle your case.
- Create a contact for your attorney in your phone so you know that it is him/her who is calling and not another debt collector.
- Take notes and follow through on all that your lawyer needs.
- Read all the paperwork so you can be familiar with what is going on.
- Stay on top of your court dates and what you will need to bring with you to your hearing.
Following these tips will hopefully help you to have an easier time with the bankruptcy process and alleviate some of the stress during an already stressful time.