No one sets out to have financial problems. Unfortunately bad things happen to good people; job layoff, loss of spouse, health issues, your business collapses, overspending or a combination may have contributed to your current situation. I know it may seem like the end of the world, but it may be time to consider bankruptcy.
How To Begin the Bankruptcy process
- Realize and acknowledge you are having financial problems.
- Make a list of all of your debts, assets, and income.
- Seek advice. No, not from your neighbor down the block (unless he is a lawyer). Find an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Either before or once you have sought legal advice
Be prepared to make the following lists
- your current sources of income
- major financial transactions for the last two years
- itemize monthly living expenses
- debts (secured and unsecured)
- automatic payments
- property (all assets and possessions)
You will discuss
- the filing fees
- what bills, if any to stop paying
- what to do with bank accounts
Paperwork you will be expected to gather
- collect your tax returns for the last two years
- deeds to any real estate you own
- title to your vehicles, boats, ATV, motorcycles or motorhomes
- documents pertaining to any loans you may have
Once you have gathered all of the information, with the help of your attorney, the petition for bankruptcy can now be filed. You will describe your current financial status and recent financial transactions. It is important at this stage to determine which property may be exempt from seizure based on the Pennsylvania exemptions.
Cautionary note: If your creditors or the judge thinks or finds out that you have not been entirely honest in your bankruptcy filing, it could jeopardize the outcome of your petition.
Do I need to have an attorney?
The right to file for bankruptcy is provided for by federal law, and all bankruptcy cases are handled in federal court. It is possible to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer by representing yourself, however, it is risky and difficult, not to mention emotionally draining. If you go it alone, you won’t have the benefit of having an attorney is familiar with the process, and can run interference for you with any debt collectors and the bankruptcy court trustees.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post. We understand this is a very sensitive topic and I hope you will have the courage and conviction to call us to discuss your unique individual situation. We are here to help you find a solution and navigate the entire process. We specialize in Chapter 7, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings and will be looking out for your rights every step of the way. With our experience in Real Estate law, we can also help you successfully navigate a foreclosure as well.
Future blog posts we will discuss:
Pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy
Life after bankruptcy