What Do I Need to Bring to My First Meeting with a Bankruptcy Attorney?
Whether you’ve already decided you want to move forward with bankruptcy or you’re still just weighing your options, it’s important to come prepared for your consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. Giving your lawyer a full picture of your financial situation allows them to better help you understand your options and make an informed choice.
If you’re ready to find out if bankruptcy is the next best step for you, the team at Padgett & Robertson is here for you. Call us at 251-342-0264 to schedule a consultation now.
What Your Attorney Wants to Know
Your first meeting with a south Alabama bankruptcy attorney is a good chance to ask any questions you have about the process and find out what you can expect in the months ahead. It’s also your attorney’s chance to take a long look at your financial documents and determine whether or not you can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
In a nutshell, your attorney wants to know how much debt you have, what types of debt you have, how much income you earn, and how many assets you own. This will give them an understanding of whether or not you can reasonably pay back the debt you owe with the assets and income you currently possess. You need to fall within a certain range to have your debts discharged. If the numbers show that you are able to pay back your debt, the bankruptcy court will likely deny you a discharge.
Proof of Identity
You (and your spouse, if you are filing jointly) should bring your driver’s license or state-issued ID, and any other forms of documentation you have. Options include military IDs, passports, and birth certificates.
Your bankruptcy attorney needs a full understanding of your income. Again, this also applies to your spouse if you will be filing jointly. Plan on bringing at least six months’ worth of pay stubs and two years of tax returns. If you are self-employed, you can ask the attorney what they would consider appropriate proof of income. They might want to see copied checks from client payments, proof of payments through an online payment portal, and additional years of tax returns.
Along those lines, you should also plan on bringing bank statements. While this can feel invasive, it is important for the bankruptcy process. The court wants to ensure that you are not hiding or transferring assets with the intent of obtaining a fraudulent discharge.
Information Regarding Your Assets
Having too much money tied up in assets can work against you when you want to file bankruptcy, as the court will ask why you don’t just sell off your assets and use that money to pay back your debts. This includes items like your cars, your home, any businesses you own, retirement accounts, and investments. However, it goes beyond the big-ticket items you own.
You should also have a general inventory of the items you own and how much they are worth. For example, you might write down that you have $1,000 worth of clothing and $250 worth of kitchen items. If you have high-value items, consider bringing documentation for them.
A List of Debts
This is one of the most important items to bring with you to your first meeting. This should include every debt you owe money on, no matter how small. Include secured debts, such as your home and car. You’ll also want to list unsecured debts, including medical bills, credit cards, and personal loans. Although student loans can almost never be discharged in bankruptcy, you can include them on your list. Don’t forget any debts you owe to family members or friends.
Bring as much information as possible regarding your debt. Include the total amount you owe, current monthly payments, if you’re current or behind, and whether or not you have cosigners. If you are receiving communication from your creditors, bring that to the meeting.
Explore Your Bankruptcy Options with Padgett & Robertson
A thorough consultation is the first step to a fresh start with bankruptcy. Our team is committed to helping you get the financial help you deserve. To schedule a meeting now, call us at 251-342-0264 or reach out online.