Am I Ready For Bankruptcy
If your bills have been piling up and you are being harassed by collection agencies, it may be time to consider filing bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy will discharge your dischargeable debt including credit card debt and will allow you to keep your home and many of your other possessions. Best of all, filing will allow you to get your life back on track. If your wages are being garnished and you feel there is nowhere to turn regarding your debt, this may be a sign that you are ready to file for bankruptcy. To learn more, it is best to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney how will analyze your situation and provide you with the legal advice that is necessary to make a responsible and smart decision for you and your future.
Do I Need A Bankruptcy Attorney
Consumers may choose whether to hire an attorney or represent themselves in filing bankruptcy, but as the numbers cited above from the American Bankruptcy Institute clearly demonstrate, hiring an attorney is a huge advantage.
The math on this subject is overwhelming:
- Only one in 25 consumers using an attorney is denied a discharge when filing Chapter 7. One out of three who files on their own, do not receive a discharge.
- Only about one in 50 consumers filing for themselves in Chapter 13, receives a discharge. Hire a lawyer and your chance for success is better than four-out-of-10.
The reasons are fairly obvious. Bankruptcy is a complex subject. Creditors want to get paid by consumers who say they dont have the money. Lawyers on both sides are trying to convince judges that their client is right.
If you are not experienced in filing legal documents or arguing your case persuasively, you could lose on ridiculously simple mistakes. An experienced attorney knows what papers must be filed and what deadlines must be met. An experienced attorney knows the judges involved and what arguments they must make to get the result.
Not only that, completing the paperwork incorrectly can have disastrous results. Its entirely possible that the Chapter 7 trustee can sell your house because of a paperwork error! Those types of mistakes do not typically occur when using an attorney, but occur frequently for people filing on their own.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Your 341 meeting, or meeting of creditors, will take place about a month after your bankruptcy case is filed. Youâll find the date, time, and location of your 341 meeting on the notice youâll get from the court a few days after filing bankruptcy. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all 341 meetings are held either by video conference or via telephone until at least October.
The main purpose of the 341 meeting is for the case trustee to verify your identity and ask you certain standard questions and most last only about 5 minutes. Your creditors are allowed to attend and ask you questions about your financial situation, but they almost never do.
ââ You must bring your government-issued ID and social security card to the meeting. If you donât bring an approved form of both, the trustee canât verify your identity and the meeting cannot go forward. You should also bring a copy of your bankruptcy forms to the meeting, along with your last 60 days of pay stubs, your recent bank statements, and any other documents that your trustee has asked for. ââ
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What To Bring To Your First Bankruptcy Attorney Appointment
Before coming to the office we recommend you gather the following documents to bring to your first appointment. These documents will help us to understand your financial situation and to provide the best guidance for debt relief options.
- Pay stubs for the last 60 days.
- Additional pay stubs from dates:
- Tax Return: most recent federal and state.
- W-2s, 1099s, for all jobs from the last two years.
- Attorney Fee: Cash or Money Order
Additional Documents to Bring if Applicable:
- IRS Account Transcript: for all years taxes are owed. Call
- FTB Pre Bankruptcy letter. Call 845-4750 and request that they fax the letter to us at 464-8069.
- Arrears: current statement of arrears owed on mortgages.
- Appraisal: if lien stripping.
- Spousal Waiver: if married filing alone.
- Wage Garnishment Orders.
- Property You No Longer Own: real estate sold, transferred or foreclosed in last 10 years. Name of lender, date of sale, amount of sale.
If You Own A Business or are Self Employed:
- Income and Expenses Form.
- Gross business income for the last two full calendar years . Guaranties and co-signed debts: Names and addresses of co- signors.
Posted on June 10, 2014 | Appointments
Complete The Bankruptcy Forms
The bankruptcy forms include at least 23 separate forms, totaling roughly 70 pages. The bankruptcy forms ask you about everything you make, spend, own, and owe. Youâll also include some bankruptcy basics, like what type of bankruptcy youâre filing under and whether a bankruptcy lawyer is helping you.
If you hire a lawyer, they will complete the forms for you based on the information you submit to their office. If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer but don’t feel comfortable completing the forms on your own, see if you’re eligible to use Upsolve’s free online bankruptcy service or schedule an appointment with a legal aid provider in your area.
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What To Bring Your Bankruptcy Attorney
Putting the Pieces Together
Here is a list of what to bring your bankruptcy attorney. Please bring these papers and items to our office when you come to meet with your bankruptcy attorney or Jill Michaux. Do your best to find these papers. They are very important. We know it is difficult to come up with all these documents, but, unfortunately, we cannot file your case without this information. If you are missing documents, please email or call us at 785-354-1471 to see if there is a work around. Thanks.
_____ Certificate of and worksheets if you have already done this. If you have not done this, please wait and discuss this step with us. We will help you. The bankruptcy case cannot be filed until we have the credit counseling certificate. Please do not take this course until we tell you to do so.
_____ Bills and statements from ALL creditors and collectors, including your living expenses, even if you want to pay them or not discharge in the bankruptcy. We must know about all creditors including your friends and relatives and your friendly creditors. Write down the names and addresses of anyone who might say you owe them. Google is a good way to find addresses.
_____ Pay stubs or printout from all employers and proof of any other income for the last seven months.
_____ Bank statements for all accounts for past seven months.
_____ Federal and state tax returns for 2017 and 2018
_____ 2021 W-2s and 1099s, last pay checks of the year 2021, and pay checks in 2022
How Much Does It Cost To File Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy allows individuals and businesses in debt to make a fresh start. However, this start will come at a price. At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, our Port St. Lucie bankruptcy attorneys receive many calls from the public, and one common question is, How much does it cost to file for bankruptcy?
To file a bankruptcy petition in Port St. Lucie, you need to pay a filing fee.
The filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Port St. Lucie is $335. However, if you earn less than $1,595 per month, you can ask the bankruptcy court to waive the filing fee. If youre not eligible to have your filing fee waived, you can request to pay your filing fee in installments. This enables you to file your bankruptcy petition and stop all collection actions against you while your bankruptcy proceeding is pending in court.
The filing fee for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Port St. Lucie is $310. While you cannot have a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing fee waived in Port St. Lucie, you can request the court to pay your fee in installments. Note, that when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may have to pay additional fees, such as a $45 fee for a mortgage modification request, or a $25 fee if you change your Chapter 13 claim to Chapter 7.
When filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Port St. Lucie you may have to pay additional costs, such as fees for obtaining your credit report or attending a credit counseling class.
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Legal Records To Bring
If you have any pending litigation involving you or your spouse, you must disclose this to your attorney. Previous judgments will have debts that could factor into your bankruptcy. These will help your attorney determine which bankruptcy type is best. Pending court orders for judgments should also be brought to the attention of your attorney right away. While you will receive the automatic stay when you file, these actions are already in the process of completion therefore, your attorney must act on them immediately.
Some legal records to bring include:
- Files from past litigation.
- Judgments or liens already entered against you.
- Pending judgments and liens.
Before Doing Anything Else Decide If Filing Bankruptcy Is Right For You
Before jumping in, you need to determine whether filing bankruptcy will help you. Bankruptcy is a powerful debt relief tool that’s helped many people, but you’ll have to decide if it makes sense for your financial situation.
A bankruptcy discharge does not wipe out certain non-dischargeable debts like most student loans, child support obligations, alimony, and recent tax debts. If you have any cosigners, they will not be protected by your personal bankruptcy.
If you have great credit when your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is first filed, your . Most people are able to rebuild their credit and have a better score within a year of getting their bankruptcy discharge.
Anyone can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy without a lawyer. Here is an overview of the steps you’ll need to take to obtain your fresh start.
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What Paperwork Will I Have To Fill Out
My office does not send out paperwork packets. I work with my clients on the petition so that I know what you mean and you know what I mean. I also see you face to face and if I am not satisfied with the answer for some reason, we can talk about it and clarify the issue. If the response is just written, I will know from my gut feeling if I am being told the truth. If I feel that you are lying to me, I will eject you from my office.
The other benefit to working with you on the petition is that I can ask you the questions that I know the trustee will ask. We can respond on the petition and address the trustees concerns so that the question is answered now as opposed to lengthy interrogation at the trustees meeting.
The best benefit is the time that it saves both of us and my knowing of what is on the petition. Otherwise you could waste a weekend or more on a paperwork packet and some paralegal blindly typing in incorrect information which would require me to reedit the entire petition. I have seen situations involving other attorneys where the attorney has no idea what is contained in the petition as the trustee becomes curious and perturbed. Not a pleasant experience to watch.
I will have you complete the household good list/value sheet. It wont take long. I prefer to list the furniture separately as it lets the trustee have a better idea of the assets you own. It is crucial that I get this list back as I cannot complete the petition without it.
Can A Consumer Seriously Consider Doing This Pro Se
If you have a great deal of time, patience and commitment not to mention an understanding of legal proceedings and language it is possible to file for bankruptcy pro se and be successful.
It is not advisable, but it is possible.
Bankruptcy cases are tried in federal courts and that creates a problem right away. To file a case, you need to complete and file your petition in a certain way or it will never get on a judges docket.
There is the matter of filing all paperwork necessary for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Excluding even one document can result in your bankruptcy case being dismissed.
The U.S. Court System has made the process a little easier by furnishing a fillable PDF form that can be used in presenting a Chapter 13 filing. Eventually, they expect to have all necessary forms available online and that presumably will make it easier for pro se filers to handle filing their own case. But even this doesnt solve every problem. The paperwork being available is only one Issue. You have to know how to fill it out correctly.
Then there is the matter of arguing your case before a judge, who knows the law, procedures and remedies for situations and could choose to dismiss your case at anytime if you dont follow those.
So, yes, you can consider filing a bankruptcy case yourself, but know that youre doing so at your own risk.
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Questions Youll Be Asked
In order to help you best, your bankruptcy lawyer will needto know about your life and finances. They will want to know what has broughtyou to consider bankruptcy, such as credit card debt, difficulty paying amortgage, medical bills, and so on. They might also ask:
- If youre married
- How much money you and your spouse make
- How much money youve made over the last sixmonths
- If you own a business
- If you have any assets, and if so, what they areworth
- If youve recently sold or transferred anyproperty
- If you owe back taxes
- If you are behind on child support or alimonypayments
- If any creditors have judgments against you
- What you hope to achieve through bankruptcy
Dont Be Shy Or Embarrassed
Many clients also find themselves getting emotional duringtheir first meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer. You might feel loss, anxiety,sadness, anger, fear, or even relief. Your lawyer understands that itsnatural to feel emotions as you start your bankruptcy journey, so dontfeel ashamed if they come up during your first meeting.
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Bankruptcy Lawyers Woodstock Dallas Gainesville Atlanta
Our firm is made up of two experienced lawyers: Ira D. Gingold, who has been a bankruptcy attorney since 1971 and Court-appointed Bankruptcy Trustee from 1971-2013, and Jamie L. Gingold, who has been practicing bankruptcy, real estate and business law in Georgia since 2001.
We have five office locations throughout the Atlanta metro area. To schedule a free consultation, please call us at or e-mail us today.
Harnett County Bankruptcy Lawyers
Anyone can find themselves in short-term financial difficulty. But sometimes a cash-flow problem doesnt resolve as we expect it will, and a small problem grows until the house payment, car loan, credit cards, utility bills, medical bills, and other debts have gone unpaid for too long.
When everything you have worked for is at risk of being submerged by debt, it is time to reach out to a skilled and experienced Harnett County bankruptcy lawyer to discuss how to make a fresh financial start. The board-certified bankruptcy attorneys of the Sasser Law Firm have helped more than 7,000 individuals and businesses file for bankruptcy protection in North Carolina.
We can put our 15-plus years of experience to work for you, too.
The Sasser Law Firm has the knowledge, the resources and the commitment to tackle the toughest bankruptcy cases. We are experienced bankruptcy lawyers who are equipped to handle the most complicated cases. We advocate for our clients through all available appeals, when necessary.
If your debts are overwhelming and you are ready to discuss the options to seek relief, call our Harnett County bankruptcy lawyers today. We assist residents of Lillington, Dunn, Erwin, Benson and other Harnett communities with consumer and business bankruptcy cases including bankruptcies related to farming. We can provide you with a case review quickly and begin charting your path to financial stability.
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Expect Sound Legal Advice From Your Bankruptcy Lawyer
In general, your retainer agreement will outline the services your bankruptcy attorney will provide. Your attorney’s job is also to provide you with competent advice throughout the bankruptcy process.
First, you can expect your attorney to tell you whether filing for bankruptcy would be in your best interest. If it is, you should also learn:
- whether Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or another type will help you achieve your financial goals
- what you can expect during the bankruptcy process, and
- whether your case involves any particular difficulties or risks.
Most importantly, if you have any questions, you can expect your attorney to respond to your calls or emails promptly.
Expect Your Bankruptcy Lawyer To Prepare And File Your Paperwork
Filing for bankruptcy requires you to complete a lengthy packet of forms. Almost all bankruptcy attorneys have specialized software that prepares and files your required bankruptcy paperwork with the court.
You’ll provide your attorney with all of your financial information, such as income, expense, asset, and debt information. Your lawyer will use it to prepare the official forms and then go over the completed paperwork with you to ensure accuracy.
You might have to provide additional forms or documents with the court or the trustee, too. Your attorney will make sure to do so promptly because missing a bankruptcy deadline can cause:
- delays in the process
- dismissal of your case, or
- other adverse consequences.
For these reasons, one of the responsibilities of your bankruptcy attorney is to know the local rules and filing procedures.
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