Bankruptcy is complex and confusing, especially to anyone who does not practice Bankruptcy Law. If you are planning to file for bankruptcy, you might have many questions and concerns. Although you should discuss these with a lawyer, there are some dos and don’ts you can begin to understand right away.
What You Should Do Before You File for Bankruptcy
Call a Bankruptcy Lawyer – As soon as you think you are in too much debt, you should meet with a debt and bankruptcy lawyer who can discuss your financial situation. A lawyer can provide you with the knowledge and advice you need to move forward. Please don’t wait until the last minute, call our firm today.
Be Honest – It is important that you be honest with your lawyer and yourself – about everything. Your lawyer needs to know anything related to your financial situation. Be assured that whatever you discuss with your lawyer remains confidential. If there is something that needs to be disclosed in the case or documentation, your lawyer will let you know beforehand. For example, if your house is paid off, or you have received a bonus from work, and you don’t want these to be discussed, you should let your lawyer know. He or she will advise you as to whether this is information that must legally be disclosed. Be assured that it is worse to withhold information and realize later on you have been held for perjury or fraud.
Create a Budget – To improve your situation, you should assess and prioritize what you can and should spend your money on. We recommend that this be put into a plan, and you do not deviate from this plan with the exception of an extraordinary circumstance.
Keep Paying Your Mortgage and Car Payment – It is important you do your best to keep paying your car payment, mortgage, and other bills. If you default on anything before you file, creditors can repossess these assets.
Disclose Large Purchases – It is important you disclose any large purchases made in the last 3 months before filing for bankruptcy. You can be denied in court if you fail to do so. A lawyer can explain to you what a large purchase is during your consultation.
What You Should Not Do
Avoid Waiting – You should not ignore your financial situation. Ignoring letters, court documents, and phone calls is one of the worst things you can do. Call a lawyer if you need help.
Don’t Engage in Excessive Spending – You should not engage in any large spending before you file for bankruptcy. For example, if you have $10,000 on a credit card, don’t max it out just before you file. This will raise suspicion with the court.
Don’t Transfer Property Into Someone Else’s Name – If you transfer your assets into another person’s name, it may look like you are trying to hide something. This can result in a case dismissal or charge of fraud.
Do Not Pay Anyone Off Before Filing – Whether you owe a friend, family member, or creditor, you should not pay anyone off before you file. This is especially true when you owe a large amount. The trustee can take the money back – even if it is your parent, spouse or friend.