If you are hiring a lawyer, don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t assume your lawyer knows everything. If you have concerns, voice them. If there are things you feel your lawyer is overlooking, remind them. Don’t be shy about it. Repeat any crucial information that might have been glossed over.
Don’t take filing for bankruptcy lightly. Remember that bankruptcy negatively affects your credit for seven to ten years and that you’ll have trouble getting loans for the first few years after filing. Talk to a credit counselor or an attorney to make sure you understand the ramifications, and that this step is right for you.
Be aware that there are two kinds of bankruptcy. There is Chapter 7, and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 can keep the filer from paying debts entirely. This option is generally for those that have debts so high or income that is so low that, they cannot afford a payment plan. Chapter 13 lets the filer get a payment plan so that they can repay all, or parts of their debt between three and five years.
Do not try to circumvent the courts by repaying loans, or giving money to relatives, and loved ones. Once you file for bankruptcy, your financial records are wide open. You are obligated to report everything you have given away, and sold in the past two years. Protect yourself, and talk to your lawyer about what to do with your money.
Put the date for your 341 meeting with creditors on your calendar as soon as you get it, so that you don’t forget this meeting. You need to attend the 341 meeting and answer all of the trustee’s questions as honestly as possible, in order to get your debts discharged.
Make sure you have a solid understanding of which debts can be eliminated by bankruptcy, and which ones cannot. Debts like student loans, child support or alimony payments, and taxes, are generally not discharged through bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can help if your wages are being garnished or if you have large unsecured debts, like, credit cards and utility bills.
Before you meet with a bankruptcy lawyer, make a complete list of all of your assets. Any assets that are not listed in your bankruptcy case can be seized to pay for your debts. Your lawyer needs to see a list of every asset you own to properly advise you on which type of bankruptcy is best for your unique situation, as well as, to protect as many of your assets, as possible.
A critical tip in filing personal bankruptcy is to steer clear of making payments to creditors, in advance of filing a petition, in an attempt to satisfy individual debts in full outside of bankruptcy court. Payments to family members and creditors made within defined periods of time prior to a bankruptcy filing can be voided and can jeopardize the chances of receiving a discharge of all debts in the case.
Before filing for bankruptcy, keep in mind that child support will not be discharged in a bankruptcy case. The reason for this is that child support is a responsibility that a parent must pay. Bankruptcy does not remove that responsibility. Be sure to include any child support in your list of debts that will remain with you after the bankruptcy is discharged.
In recent years, the topic of personal bankruptcy has taken on increased significance, as a result of the financial crisis. An incredible amount of discussion and debate has centered around how, when and why an individual consumer might consider filing a bankruptcy petition. Investing the time necessary to sift through the noise and educate yourself about the process can be the smartest financial decision you can make. Apply the concepts in this article to your circumstances, and you may be able to begin anew with a clean financial slate.
Lesley Gremer possesses a local store that carries Bankruptcy Advice