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But Filing Bankruptcy Is As Easy As 1, 2 3

December 6, 2010

While the bankruptcy laws are complex and a mystery to most attorneys, filing a typical consumer bankruptcy case is a simple process for an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Preparing the usual debtor’s case for filing can be described in three easy steps: the initial interview, credit counseling, and preparing the petition and schedules.

The first step in the process is the initial interview. Most attorneys call this first meeting a "client interview," because it’s an opportunity for the attorney to ask questions about the client’s finances and obtain information. During the initial interview your attorney will ask you to provide information concerning your debts, assets, income, and expenses. Any information requested by your attorney is extremely important to your case.

The initial interview is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and gain information about your attorney and the bankruptcy process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during this time! Your attorney is happy to share his experience and knowledge with you.

The second step is attending credit counseling. Since 2005, consumer bankruptcy debtors have been required to complete a session with a certified credit counselor prior to filing a bankruptcy case. This counselor must be approved by the U.S. Trustee and your attorney can provide you a list of approved counselors. Failure to complete credit counseling before filing will almost certainly result in the dismissal of the bankruptcy case.

The third and final step before filing your case is the preparation of the bankruptcy petition and schedules. The completed paperwork is usually a few dozen pages and provides the bankruptcy court with a clear picture of your finances. Once your paperwork is prepared, you will review the information and affirm its accuracy with your signature. While many television shows portray honest and cooperative individuals who freely disclose information to the courts as naïve or even self-incriminating, the debtor is expected to be honest about his or her financial condition bankruptcy. Speak with your attorney candidly and do not conceal information! This is a time to be completely honest.

Organizing and analyzing your financial information before filing is the most important part of the bankruptcy process. In the hands of an experience bankruptcy attorney, filing your bankruptcy can be a quick and simple process. When you and your attorney cooperate, most bankruptcy cases take only a few days to prepare and file, quicker when there is an emergency.

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