Information Your Attorney Needs To File Your Bankruptcy Case
A bankruptcy case is part lawsuit, part financial audit. The debtor is asking the bankruptcy court to order creditors to accept payments over time, or in some cases to order the discharge of a debt without any payment. Either way, the debtor is expected to make an accounting of assets, debts, income, and expenses and conclusively prove the debtor’s present inability to repay certain financial obligations.
The Bankruptcy Code has streamlined the process for presenting the bankruptcy case to the court. Every individual bankruptcy case filed under Chapters 7, 11, and 13 contains schedules that quickly and efficiently describe the debtor’s financial condition. In order to complete these schedules for your case, your attorney needs a considerable amount of information and documents.
When you consult a bankruptcy attorney you should be prepared to provide the following documents:
- Photo ID and social security card;
- The last six months of pay check stubs. Sometimes this information can be obtained from your employer;
- Last two years of income tax returns;
- Real estate deeds and mortgage paperwork;
- Vehicle titles along with lease or purchase agreements;
- All loan paperwork;
- Any appraisal paperwork for real estate or personal property;
- Any child support or maintenance (alimony) court order;
- Any recent credit report (you can obtain a free credit report at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp);
- Information regarding your debts, including bills and collection letters;
- Any important documents that impacts your income, assets, debts, or expenses. For instance: a foreclosure notice, or a notice of an upcoming bonus;
- Investment records;
- Any life insurance policies with a cash surrender value;
- Last six months of bank statements;
- Any tax bill showing assessed value;
- Proof of insurance on all property secured by a lien; and
- Any documents pertaining to a legal claim or pending lawsuit, which includes lawsuits on your behalf (e.g. a personal injury or worker’s compensation claim).
Providing these documents at your initial meeting will save you and your attorney valuable time and effort in the bankruptcy case. This information is vital to your attorney’s ability to assess your financial situation and convey it properly to your creditors and to the bankruptcy court.