Checklist: Documents To Show to Your Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing a bankruptcy petition is not a simple matter for debtors. Rather, it can involve complex dealings with the bankruptcy court, bankruptcy trustee, first meeting of creditors, and lenders. It could also have a major impact on your daily life. Filing for bankruptcy can affect your credit score, credit report, and property.

Naturally, this is a stressful situation you never envisioned yourself in. The situation can be made easier by making good choices, such as hiring a competent bankruptcy attorney, collecting your financial data, and familiarizing yourself with bankruptcy forms.

Continue reading to learn which documents you need to prepare for your personal bankruptcy case.

What Paperwork Do I Need to File for Bankruptcy?

Use the checklist below to gather the paperwork that complies with the Bankruptcy Code. This checklist can be a useful proactive tool to help you collect and organize the proper paperwork before filing for bankruptcy and paying your filing fee.

You can bring this paperwork to an attorney so they can provide you with the best advice and representation.

Financial Records

Your financial records are some of the first documents you should collect prior to your bankruptcy filing. These records will help determine which type of bankruptcy is best suited for you.

For example, if your financial documents show you have a regular income that enables you to make monthly payments, your best fit may be Chapter 13 bankruptcy for debt relief. This may have significant implications. Chapter 13 allows debtors to keep possession of their property and pay their debts over time with a repayment plan.

The needed financial records include:

  • Most recent bank statements from all bank accounts
  • Most recent bills from every creditor, including credit cards
  • Most recent payment coupons for vehicles (leased or purchased), real estate, and student loans
  • Bills or invoices for purchases in the last year
  • Receipts

Legal Records

Any legal history or pending litigation involving you is information you'll want to disclose to your attorney. Previous judgments against you show debts that will determine which bankruptcy is right according to your financial situation. Any pending litigation or current court order also will determine how much you can afford to pay your creditors.

Legal records include:

  • Files from previous litigation, especially any judgments that have been entered against you
  • Files from previous attorneys
  • Any divorce decree or other court order requiring you to pay child support or maintenance

Additional Documents

The following list combines your assets and what you need to verify your income. A proper, thorough organization of your assets is extremely important to show you have a set income level. This income determination can be essential in proving you can repay your debts over a period of time or in proving a lack of income. This list includes:

  • Canceled checks for any expense you can't otherwise document
  • All your correspondence with or regarding creditors, especially threat letters
  • All insurance policies
  • Tax returns for the last three years
  • Vehicle titles
  • Your lease or mortgage
  • Any promissory notes you've signed
  • Other documents relating to debts you owe other people
  • Any proof that anyone owes you money
  • Any lawsuits with which you have been served

Documents Needed to File Chapter 7

You need several documents before filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Although the specific documents may vary depending on your type of case and the district in which you file, you will at least need to gather the following before filing your petition:

  • Your tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • Appraisals of your home, jewelry, and other exempt assets
  • Your car titles
  • Evidence of child support or alimony obligations
  • Bank statements
  • Proof that you took credit counseling

Related Resources

Planning To File Bankruptcy? Get Legal Advice From a Bankruptcy Law Lawyer

Whether you're self-employed, unemployed, or anywhere in between, filing for bankruptcy is a complex process unique to your case. Speak to a qualified bankruptcy attorney during your initial consultation to learn about the bankruptcy process or if you need any help with your bankruptcy case.

A bankruptcy lawyer can help you discharge different types of debt, prevent foreclosure, and gain the fresh start the filer wishes to obtain.

You May Also Like:

Was this helpful?