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Bankruptcy Overwhelm: Why Organizing Your Paperwork is So Important

PaperworkPaperwork and Filing for Bankruptcy in Florida

Filing for bankruptcy sounds simple enough, but it’s actually a complicated legal proceeding that requires a great deal of organization. Unfortunately, if you fail to submit a document or you make a mistake on anything the court requires, it can result in the dismissal of your case.

Not only is it important to work with an experienced bankruptcy professional when filing, but you should also make organization a high priority. Any effort you put into organizing now will pay off in the long run as your case progresses.

The federal bankruptcy court requires 100 percent full disclosure of all of your assets, debts, and income. This means you’ll need to be completely transparent and have solid proof to back up any claims you make about your financial situation. What this proof entails varies from situation to situation, but you can assume that anything listed on your bankruptcy petition will need a corresponding document proving it to be true.

What are some of the most common bankruptcy documents you’ll need to include with your bankruptcy petition?

Bankruptcy Questionnaire

The questionnaire is the main part of your bankruptcy application. It’s where you’ll answer questions about your assets, your debts, and your income. There will be specific questions about your assets and debts, as well as inquiries into the financial transactions you’ve made within the last two to five years.

Your attorney will review this information and use it as a starting point for managing your bankruptcy.

Credit Reports and Bankruptcy

You’ll also be including your credit report with your bankruptcy petition and early on in the process your bankruptcy attorney will pull your credit report or you can request copies of your report before scheduling a consultation.

Viewing your credit report ensures all of your debts are included in your bankruptcy and allows you to dispute any debts that are listed that might be on your report in error. Ideally, you and your attorney will review your credit reports from all three of the major credit bureaus because it’s possible for there to be different information on each report.

For more information on reviewing your credit report, check out this information from Experian.

Proof of Income and Bankruptcy

Anyone who files for bankruptcy must show proof of income, provided they have an income. Keep in mind income might be more than just a paycheck.

The court will want to see proof of income for at least six months prior to your bankruptcy filing date.  If you are currently unemployed and have no income, but you were employed within the last six months, you’ll still need to provide pay stubs.

Business bankruptcy will require showing profit and loss statements or other tax documents as proof of income.

It is likely you’ll be asked for other information, including tax returns, bank statements, property titles, or mortgage statements.

Keep in mind that failing to provide any of these documents, intentionally or by accident, can result in the dismissal of your bankruptcy case. If you are planning to leave out a document or to hide an asset or money, you’re making a mistake that can not only get your case dismissed but also get you into legal trouble for fraud.

The sooner you begin organizing your finances the better the process of filing for bankruptcy will be.

For more information or to speak to someone about beginning the bankruptcy process, contact the Law Office of Robert M. Geller at (813) 254-5696.

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At the Tampa Bay law firm, the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A., we help people with consumer bankruptcy matters in the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg,  Florida communities such as Clearwater,     St. Petersburg, Tampa, Thonotosassa, Riverview, Lutz, Plant City, Brandon, Carrollwood, Wesley Chapel, St. Petersburg Beach, Lakeland, Mulberry, Dade City, Pinellas Park, Largo, Seminole, Odessa, Oldsmar and Lithia, and counties such as Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County and Manatee County.