What to Expect…. In Bankruptcy Court!
I’ve written many articles on how to be a good Client in a Bankruptcy case, and the documents you’ll need to have ready for your Attorney. Here is an update on exactly what to expect as a client, or potential client, from beginning to end of the Bankruptcy process. With the #TouchlessBankruptcy, we’re ready to help now, from where ever you are!
Bankruptcy is a Very Detailed Process
What do I mean by detailed? You are asking for the Bankruptcy Court to erase your debts. So the law says that you need to tell the Court everything about your financial life. Yes, everything! That debt to your Uncle Joe? Yes! That shiny platinum credit card that you got when you turned 30, and want to “keep” so badly! Yes! That money you paid back to your friend who helped you out of a jam? Yes! What about that Old BMW you’ve been working on in your driveway? Yes! What about the card you don’t owe anything on? Yes! What about that little loan from the Credit Union you just got to buy groceries? Yes! That car you helped your niece buy and so you signed on the loan? Yes!!!
You need to “Bare Your Soul”!
Do you get the picture? I hope so! You need to “Bare your Soul” first to your attorney, and then to the Court! In your Petition for Relief in Bankruptcy, you need to list everything you own, and every company or person you owe money to!
But why? When you just want to eliminate certain debts? Why do you have to tell the Court everything?
Because when you are filing for Bankruptcy Relief, you are really “Petitioning” the Court – asking the Court, “Please may I get Relief from my debts?”. In order to get that relief, you need to tell the Court-appointed Trustee (the person who reviews the Petition) your whole financial story. You need to sign the Petition under penalty of Perjury that you are listing everything you own, and everyone you owe, along with answers to all of the questions about your Financial life for the past several years. Only then will the Court be able to tell whether you can get the relief from your debts!
So, in order to “Bare Your Soul” financially, you’ll need to give your Lawyer your proof, your financial documents, to support your Petition. The Bankruptcy Trustee can’t just take your word for it that you are broke, you have to prove it!
That is why all Bankruptcy Clients need to provide me with the last 4 years of Filed Federal Income Tax Returns, the last 6 months of pay stubs, and as many current bills for their debts as they can find. And, the client needs to provide bills for their mortgage and car, even if these are things they want to keep!
Why? Because you have to “Bare Your Soul!!” and tell all! This does not mean that you’ll lose these things necessarily, but rather, it’s part of your whole Petition for Relief.
How will I get my Attorney the Documentation?
As I prepare a Bankruptcy Petition, I’ll be gathering all of your documentation, and you’ll be getting it to me as we go, and sometimes it takes several months. You will be emailing, faxing or mailing me the documents before our first consultation, especially if we “meet” by phone or video. That way, I’ll be able to review it as we discuss your situation together. If we meet in person, you’ll be able to bring in printed copies.
And More Documents!
Once I start work on your file, your work doesn’t end! It will feel like I keep asking you for more documents. This is totally normal! For example, the Bankruptcy Court requires you to provide proof of income up until the very moment you file for Relief, and for the 6 months before that. So, as I work on a Bankruptcy case, it’s a moving target, and we all have to keep up! You need to be ready to keep sending documents, and don’t stop (until we say so!)
Call Me for Help with All of the Details– You’ll Know What to Expect!
The Bankruptcy process is a demanding and very detailed process, and I have guided hundreds of clients through it over almost 30 years. Be ready to “Bare Your Soul” and provide lots of documentation to your lawyer over many months. Your honesty, and documentation of your situation are the keys to getting Bankruptcy Court Relief from your debts. Bankruptcy is not an easy process, but with my help, and your cooperation, I’ll make it as easy as possible, so you’ll know what to expect.
Daniel J. Winter