I get this question all the time. The answer depends on how quickly you
are going to want to get filed. Of course, it never hurts to bring everything
your attorney will need to get your documents completed. The more documents
you have, the better your attorney can assess your situation and give
you a breakdown of what bankruptcy can do for you. I have attached a good
list, but your attorney will probably have a complete list of what will
be needed, just ask with a brief email.
However, many clients simply bring themselves. A good bankruptcy attorney
has a questionnaire to ask you all the necessary questions when you meet.
Our office, just as any experienced bankruptcy firm, will have a checklist
and packet for you to fill out if the best choice is bankruptcy.
Here’s a list for the overachiever or person that wants to get filed
right away. These will likely be needed before you can file your case,
but not crucial to that first meeting:
- Pay stubs for the past nine months. Every pay stub is necessary for your
attorney to do the proper math on whether you qualify for bankruptcy.
- Credit reports. Three bureaus are best, found at www.annualcreditreport.com.
You can bring a Credit Karma or other company report, but the important
thing with creditors is notice. Make sure the credit report has full name
of the creditor and the mailing address, and if a creditor is not on the
reports be sure your attorney has that creditor in the documents. If you
cannot access your credit report or don’t want to, simply set aside
some money for your attorney to download the credit report.
- Collection statements. Any mailings from any creditors is helpful. Stack
up creditor statements and only keep the most current.
- Judgments. You could go to the courthouse of your county and search your
name to find any judgments if you don’t already have them or they
don’t show up on your credit report.
- Last filed tax returns, both IRS and state
- Most recent loan statement for any car, home loan, or other secured loan.
- Kelley blue book private party & trade-in value printout for each vehicle
owned. Getting accurate values for all secured items is vital in bankruptcy.
- Divorce order for any divorce in the past eight years.
- Profit and loss for any business for the past twelve months. Break them
into monthly statements.
All of these are important to getting the case filed. Don’t stress
if you don’t have them yet, speak with your attorney about the timetable
on getting them.
The important thing about the first meeting is that you show up ready to
discuss your situation and bring what you have. Don’t stress about
the meeting, it’s like talking to a friendly neighbor. That neighbor
just happens to be an attorney that can help you get free from debt and
help you get back to financial freedom.