Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy decision. However, because you aren't familiar with the process and want to ensure you are successful in rebuilding your financial future, you have decided to hire a bankruptcy attorney. Finding the right attorney for you is a good first step, and you will need to schedule an initial consultation to determine the next steps in filing bankruptcy. Here are a few things you can expect to occur during this initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.
Bring Along the Necessary Documentation
Prior to the consultation, your attorney will ask you to gather several pieces of documentation that will provide the attorney with a picture of your financial situation. Here are a few documents you will be asked to bring along to your initial consultation:
- Paystubs, unemployment insurance, self-employment income, or any other forms that provide how much income you earned for at least the last six months
- Bank statements for at least the last three to four months
- Foreclosure notice
- Credit card statements
- Mortgage and car statements
- Wage garnishment documentation
Additionally, your attorney will ask for your tax returns from the last two to three years and any proof of recent payments to creditors or liens placed by your creditors.
Learn About the Basics of Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy can seem complicated, which is why your attorney will help you determine the best form of bankruptcy for your financial situation. Typically, most individuals file either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A means test will determine which type of bankruptcy you qualify for. Individuals with a lower income and who do not have as many assets they want to protect can typically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
However, if you have a higher income and want to retain some of your higher value assets, such as your home or vehicle, and you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will instead file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There are several differences between the two, and your attorney will help you determine how to begin the process.
Be Prepared to Ask Questions
Finally, write down any questions and concerns you might have for your attorney. For example, if your home is currently in foreclosure, your attorney can answer any questions you have any retaining your home and possibly helping stop the foreclosure altogether.
An initial bankruptcy consultation can help you find the right attorney for you and help you understand how bankruptcy works. Learn more by contacting services like Harold S. Entes Esq.