People choose to file for bankruptcy because it helps them take control of their financial future. It offers hope and gives a clear cut plan for managing an existing financial crisis. It also starts a flurry of activity and requires you stay focused and get a lot of tasks completed in a short period of time. If you have decided to file for bankruptcy and you are just beginning the process, this list of to-do’s can help you stay on track and enjoy the benefits of a successful bankruptcy process.
Start by getting organized. Create a file for the paperwork related to your bankruptcy. You’ll be collecting paperwork to submit to the bankruptcy court and receiving paperwork you’ll need in the immediate and distant future. You want to be sure everything is easily accessible and organized so you can find it at the drop of a hat.
You’ll also want to organize any financial information that is not part of your bankruptcy. Some debts are not dischargeable in a chapter 7 bankruptcy, so it’s important to get a handle on what you still owe and how you will manage those payments. You can keep information about non-dischargeable debts close to your bankruptcy information in a separate file.
Create a Budget
Once your bankruptcy is in progress, you’ll want to create a budget, unless the bankruptcy court is doing so for you in a chapter 13 filing. Even with chapter 13 you might have some money you control, such as what you are allotted to pay for groceries and monthly expenses. Creating a budget for any and all money you are responsible for managing keeps you focused on your big picture financial goals and shows you are really trying to turn over a new financial leaf.
Request Copies of Your Credit Report
Chances are you’ll have access to an up-to-date credit report at some point during the bankruptcy filing process, but if you do not receive one now is the time to request your free copy. You should also request a copy on an annual basis. You should never assume everything on your credit report is correct just because you are in the process of filing for bankruptcy. Much of the reporting process is automated and mistakes happen, so you want to be sure your credit report is accurate. The last thing you need is your credit further damaged with mistakes.
To get your free copy of your credit report, visit Annualcreditreport.com.
Finally, determine which debtor’s education courses are available to you, schedule your enrollment, and create a file for the information you receive that’s related to the course. You’ll need to show proof you completed the course, and you also might have notes or other materials from the course that can help you manage your finances in the future.
There’s a lot to manage when you file for bankruptcy, but the work you do now to stay organized and on top of everything will pay off in the future. If you have questions or you would like to know more about bankruptcy, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696.