Bankruptcy can be an intimidating process and like many things that are intimidating, it helps to feel prepared. The more you know in advance, and the actions you take to prepare for what will occur during bankruptcy, can help things go smoothly and allow you to relax and focus on what needs to be done.
There’s one important thing you need to understand about bankruptcy before you begin: filing allows you to put aside the helpless, out-of-control feeling you’ve had for some time. It allows you to take control of your financial future and create a plan that helps you feel better about your situation. Gone are the days of worrying and feeling stressed about your finances. Now that you have chosen to file for bankruptcy, you can relax and focus on what needs to be done to improve your current financial situation.
Getting Started with Bankruptcy
One of the most important things you can do if you are considering bankruptcy is to speak to an experienced attorney. He or she can explain the process and help you determine if you are eligible to file. There are different types of bankruptcy, so an attorney will also review the qualifications and benefits of each, making it easier for you to determine your best choice.
Once you’ve decided to file, you’ll need to gather and submit documents related to your finances. Your attorney will help you with your bankruptcy petition, which is the document that alerts the bankruptcy court to your desire to file. Additionally, you’ll be required to gather and submit:
Plan to submit at least your last two years’ worth of tax returns. If you haven’t filed taxes you’ll need to report that to the court along with an explanation for why you did not file. If you have unpaid taxes, you might need to remedy that problem before you can proceed with your bankruptcy filing. In most cases, back taxes are not covered by a bankruptcy filing, so do not assume any money you owe to the IRS will be taken care of when you file.
The bankruptcy court needs to know what you own. You’ll need to provide information about property including your home, vehicles, and other assets of significant value. Your bankruptcy attorney can help you determine what needs to be reported to the court and provide information about the documentation needed.
In addition to property, you’ll also need to submit information about your bank accounts. The court needs to have a clear understanding of your personal worth, which will be used to determine how your bankruptcy case will be handled. It’s important for you to be completely honest and not attempt to hide any assets or money you have – this can result in not only the rejection of your bankruptcy request, but also put you in a worse situation than before you decided to file.
You’ll have the opportunity to ask the court to make exemptions in your case, but the request must be submitted formally using the right documentation. There are both federal and state exemptions, which vary from place to place. Your bankruptcy attorney can help you determine possible exemptions in your case and help you prepare your request.
For more information about what might qualify as a federal bankruptcy exemption, see this list.
Finally, you’ll need to provide proper identification. The bankruptcy court wants to know you are who you say you are and they’ll want proof, including your identification card, social security number, and proof of marriage or divorce.
Preparing for bankruptcy can feel frustrating and overwhelming, which is why it is so important to have an attorney helping you through the process. For more information or to discuss how you can prepare for your bankruptcy, contact the Tampa Bankruptcy Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696