Choosing To Change Your Finances

How To Get Ready To Meet With A Bankruptcy Lawyer

by Luis Hawkins

Hiring a bankruptcy attorney to represent your interests is a big step to take. You'll likely want to go into the meeting as well prepared as possible. Here are four tips to make sure you'll be ready when you sit down with a bankruptcy lawyer.

Assembling Documents

At its core, the bankruptcy process is usually dominated by providing supporting documentation for your case. Collect the basic documents that will give the court some idea of what your financial situation has been over the last couple of years. This includes at least the last two years of tax returns, and you should also try to find pay stubs from the last two months or so. If you've been dealing with something that might inflict a major financial hit, such as a massive medical bill, include this with your documentation.

Make several copies of everything. Purchase a folder that will allow you to organize the copies of supporting documents. Return the originals to their appropriate places in your collection of financial info.

Figure Out Your Monthly Bills

One baseline that every bankruptcy lawyer wants to figure out is what a month of your life costs you. This entails tallying up your utility bills, mortgage payments, rent and other items that keep you alive and living at a reasonable standard. Credit card payments and similar bills should also be included. As with the previous items about documentation, make copies of any bills so you don't risk losing the originals.

Tally Your Outstanding Debts

This can be a tad tricky because you're probably going to want to contact your creditors to get a solid number. When you call them, request a simple summary of what you owe. If they ask you to enter into a payment agreement, play it off by telling them that you're just trying to get a number to work with right now so you can figure things out. Even if they try to make an impressive offer on making payment arrangements, focus on just getting a number from each creditor. If they push the issue, thank them and hang up the phone.

Names for All Creditors

Finally, it's important that you have the names of all your creditors together before you file. First, this is important because any creditor that goes unnamed when you file your petition for relief has the right to continue to pursue collection of the outstanding debts. Second, a temporary protective order will be entered when the petition is accepted, preventing harassing communications like calls and emails.