Read these 18 Filing for Bankruptcy Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Legal Forms tips and hundreds of other topics.
While technology has not evolved to the point quite yet of allowing individuals to file bankruptcy online yet, there are many resources available to aid one in research and determination of the various aspects on the direction you take with regard to filing bankruptcy. The first determination you can make is to decide which jurisdiction you should file in. Oftentimes, there are individual websites for each jurisdiction that can keep seekers informed of the latest news and developments with regard to bankruptcy law. There are also government websites that can enlighten filers with regard to bankruptcy process information. Technology does allow for some of the bankruptcy notices to be filed electronically or sent electronically via email to creditors. Many news sources will keep up to date on developements and changes in bankruptcy law. Information is power. Online bankruptcy resources can provide that knowledge at your fingertips.
When you find yourself in a situation where you seem to be making no progress with regard to paying off debts, a debt consolidation plan might be a good way to get your finances back on track without filing bankruptcy. One important thing to remember when considering any type of debt reduction or consolidation plan is this can be a temporary fix unless the real root of the problem is taken care of. Oftentimes when living above one's means, an inordinate amount of debt can literally devistate a family or business. Acquiring some type of debt consolidation plan can only relieve a situation if spending habits are changed so that the same results aren't experienced once you're out from under the original debt.
Credit cards can be very useful tools in today's society to purchase large items or speed up the time with which one has to wait for goods and services. However, credit card debt can be a burden, when out of control, can spin many people into a world of financial difficulty. The consequences of this overwhelming debt can often be filing personal bankruptcy. Credit card debt represents the majority of unsecured debt in the world. While the lure of having things instantly and being able to enjoy goods and services faster than if paying by cash is attractive, one should always consider their ability to pay off the debt in a timely manner. This will save a lot of headache and hassle down the road.
Once a petition is filed in a bankruptcy proceeding, there is an automatic stay against creditors continuing the pursuit of collection against a debtor. Oftentimes it is helpful to research online bankruptcy forms to know exactly what to expect. The petition will put creditors on notice that no further collection efforts can be made. The notice may take between a week and a month to get into the creditor's hands, however, if a creditor contacts you before they actually receive notice, you can inform them of the pending bankruptcy action and provide them with the docket number given to you at the time of filing. Between four and six weeks after the filing, a meeting of the creditors will take place along with the trustee that's been appointed by the bankruptcy judge to assess the situation. Unless there are obvious red flag issues, this meeting is usually a formality of what you and your bankruptcy lawyer have already proposed.
As with most other court cases, there are public access pages able to be viewed to stay abreast of the progress of a bankruptcy case. You will be able to view general information regarding filing personal bankruptcy. The details of any agreements reached with creditors or any details with regard to debts and restructuring them, nor specifics with regard to your exact financial condition will be able to be viewed in a public format. However, the progress of the case, such as documents being filed within the bankruptcy case can be viewed as well as the disposition of the case.
It is often a tough decision for an individual or business to know when to file for bankruptcy. Because bankruptcy laws are very complex, online sources are prohibited from giving actual legal advice. However, bankruptcy forms are oftentimes found online and can be downloaded to give prospective debtors an idea of what paperwork will need to be filed. As with any lawsuit, the first document that is filed called the petition. Again, knowing your rights and responsibilities with regard to filing bankruptcy can be a challenge for the lay person. Consulting with a reputable bankrtupcy attorney even if you know which type you qualify for and will file would be a good idea to make sure that you've covered all your bases.
There may be resources such as online bankruptcy information that can educate one on what to expect during the procedure of filing chapter 7 bankruptcy. Essentially, any bankruptcy begins with the filing of petition or a characterization of debts. The petition can be the most complex part of the bankruptcy process, thereby requiring the assistance of a bankruptcy lawyer. Petitions may be filed under Chapter 7, which is a liquidation of assets to eliminate debt or Chapter 13, which is a reorganization and repayment plan. There are other chapters, such as Chapter 11 which deals with business reorganization and still others that deal with farms, municipalities and businesses. Researching these files and documents can assist in making a determination according to your invididual needs.
Filing bankruptcy is a way for people to essentially start fresh after sometimes devastating circumstances. There can be many and various reasons for filing bankruptcy. The cost for filing bankruptcy includes the petition or forms to commence the action can range from $150 - up, depending upon which state you live in and the court costs associated with filing the petition. Filing for bankruptcy may provide a way for old debts to be erased and thereby help someone regain control of their financial future and on the path to a better financial situation.
To prepare for your meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer, there are several things that you will want to gather beforehand and take with you to make your time more productive. According to bankruptcy law, filers will have to first file a petition to declare their intent to file. Some documents that will make your first meeting with the bankrutpcy lawyer more productive include:a month's worth of paystubs for you (and your spouse); a copy of the deed to your home showing exactly how the title appears on record; a list of all stocks and accounts held in your name(s); information on your gross income over the past two years; the most recent statement or bill from each of your creditors, listing the balance owed; tax notices for each year that is unpaid; information on any vehicle loans, including pay off statements; balance information on each loan secured by your home; information regarding any pending lawsuits or judgments filed against you; a total of any unpaid property taxes; if you own/operate a business, the business's most recent tax return and profit & loss statement. This information will give the bankruptcy lawyer a picture of how to proceed with your case.
Whether managing personal finances or business finances, it is important to remember that your debt structure should be an accurate reflection of your ability to repay what debt you do incur. There are essentially two types of debt: secured and unsecured. Secured debt is debt tied to real property, such as a house, a car, etc. Unsecured debt comes into play with things purchased by credit card where there is no real property or items tied to the debt. Should you find yourself in a situation where your unsecured debt is overwhelming, consulting and researching debt reduction companies and assistance may be a good idea as an alternative to bankruptcy.
Debt settlement can be an alternative to filing bankruptcy for certain invidividuals or businesses. In essence, consolidating or settlement of debts means that creditors agree to take a lesser amount than what is actually owed in order to aid the debtor in repayment of the debts. This type of action can oftentimes prevent someone from having to file bankruptcy.
There are a couple of options when it comes to filing for bankruptcy. The types of bankruptcy include of course personal bankruptcy and corporate bankruptcy. Within the those categories are Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Be sure, when contemplating the filing of bankruptcy, that you consider the consequences of each and which type best alleviates the debt structure and obligation while preserving as many of your assets as possible.
Additional things to consider when preparing for your first meeting with your bankruptcy attorney: any documents regarding any loans that you are a co-signor on; any lawsuits pending or about to be filed against you; any inheritance or lump sum monies soon; will you be entitled to a tax refund during the year. Events and relationships will play a part and be a factor in determining which chapter you will file under as well as when the best time to file would be for you. In addition to gathering all the financial documents both personally and business related, these factors may help the bankruptcy lawyer make a clear and concise determination as to what the best course of action for you will be.
A debt consolidation loan may be considered to restructure overwhelming debt load for either an individual or business instead of bankruptcy. An important consideration to take into account when obtaining a debt consolidation loan is to make sure that your situation is such that once your loan has been approved, you do not fall back ito the same trap as before, ie overspending your resources. Taking care of the problem after the debt consolidation loan is obtained will get you and your family onto the right financial road.
Fees for hiring a bankruptcy lawyer to assist in filing the necessary petition and documentation for a bankruptcy proceeding can vary, sometimes only a flat fee is charged. Be sure when hiring a bankruptcy lawyer or bankruptcy law firm, that you interview this professional, as you would anyone else you would want to work for you. Getting referrals from your local bar association or even online legal matching services is a good idea. Be sure that you know what all their fee does include. Be sure you know whether their fee includes any disputes that might arise with the appointed trustee, any matters involving avoiding liens or assisting with matters that cannot be discharged under the bankruptcy action.
The information superhighway, also known as the Internet, can be a great resource for individuals considering bankruptcy. There are numerous articles and bankruptcy forms online to aid in researching bankruptcy laws and regulations. Because jurisdictions can vary from state to state as to where a petitioner will be able to file bankruptcy, and laws may differ slightly with regard to procedure, make sure that you are clear as to which state and jurisdiction you're pulling forms from. Educating yourself about the laws and types of bankruptcy can answer many questions before you consult a bankruptcy lawyer or bankruptcy law firm.
When interviewing a potential bankruptcy law firm, here are some things to keep in mind. Ask for referrals. Referrals are always good because you will often uncover a bankruptcy lawyer who has a reputation for being qualified and easy to work with, as well as those bankruptcy lawyers to avoid. Just like any other professional providing a service, this potential lawyer will be hired to represent your best interest. Make sure that they are accessible and easy to work with. Ask the potential lawyer how long they have been practicing bankruptcy law. Writing down your questions before your first meeting will be helpful and eliminate wasted time during the meeting. Feel free to ask the potential lawyer whether they feel that your case involves complicated matters. The outcome of your case might affect the fees that are incurred. Ask to meet the lawyer's staff. These are the people that you will be dealing with on a more one-to-one basis.
Debt can be overwhelming, whether it's due to an illness, loss of job or income, or overspending. There are a lot of individuals that face this type of crisis at some point. Filing bankruptcy can be an alternative to individuals who are facing this type of situation. If you are savvy in the legal arena, you might do well to file forms and such on your own. However, if you are unsure of the laws and the timelines that must be followed, contacting a bankruptcy lawyer to assist in filing the petition and helping you with the paperwork necessary to complete the action. There are legal websites that offer legal matching services to assure you hire a competent attorney, experienced in bankrtupcy law.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|