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Affiliated Attorneys, LLC Blog

Monday, September 24, 2018

Information You Need to Start the Bankruptcy Process

Filing for bankruptcy can be extremely complicated. Your attorney will need a complete picture of your finances to determine which type of bankruptcy will work best for you and whether you qualify for certain types of bankruptcy. Appropriate pre-bankruptcy planning will also depend on your current financial status and when certain obligations will come due.

To prepare for your filing, you will need to gather information and obtain specific paperwork regarding your assets, income, and debt obligations. Your attorney will be able to provide a tailored list necessary for your situation, but you can use the following suggestions to get this process started.

Tax Information

Your income tax returns contain an array of helpful information about your finances which is a great starting point for your attorney in many circumstances. If you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are often required to have at least two years of prior tax returns to provide to the trustee. In Chapter 13, you usually need four years of returns. You can obtain tax information directly from the IRS if you do not have your prior year returns. You may also be required to explain why you did not file in the past, even if you were not required by law to file.

Income Information

If you are currently working, you should obtain copies of your current W-2s and pay stubs. It is a good idea to have at least six months of income information to provide to your lawyer. If you are self-employed, you will need profit and loss information from your business for the past two years at a minimum. You may need to obtain bank statements as well.

Asset Information

You should have documentation or valuations for all of your assets, including investments and real estate. In fact, it is a good idea to have an itemized list of all of your larger household items as well, such as jewelry and furniture.

If you have a mortgage on your home, you should have updated information regarding how much you owe, your payments, and any default documentation. You may also need to obtain proof of homeowners’ insurance as well.

If you own a vehicle, you will need documentation regarding that asset as well. Information for your car should include any amounts that you still owe on it, your monthly payments, and an estimated value of the vehicle. You can obtain an estimate of what your car or truck is from the Kelley Blue Book or the National Automobile Dealers Association.

In addition, it is necessary to gather any documents regarding:

  • Bank accounts;
  • Retirement accounts or pensions;
  • Investments;
  • Trust interests; and
  • Any other asset you may hold

Debt Information

You should also collect account information for every debt obligation you have. This includes both long-term debts and your regular monthly expenses. If a payment varies from month-to-month, it is a good idea to have at least six months of information regarding that particular expense. This information will be helpful in creating an average you can use in your bankruptcy documents.

 


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Serving Southeastern Wisconsin, with offices in Milwaukee and West Bend, Affliated Attorneys, LLC represent clients throughout Milwaukee County, Washington County, Waukesha County, Dodge County, Ozaukee County, Racine County, Sheboygan County, Jefferson County, Fond du Lac County and Walworth County.



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