Filing bankruptcy is a big step to take, and it’s a move that will empower you to take back control over your financial life and future. Like any big step in life, you should only file when you've had time to prepare and cover some necessary bases. Below, four of these essential preparations are discussed in more detail.
4 Steps to Take Before Filing for Bankruptcy
1. Identify What Type of Bankruptcy Is Best for Your Situation
Most consumers choose from one of two types of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is an elimination of unsecured debt, while Chapter 13 is a debt consolidation where the filer repays what they owe via a long-term payment plan. Consult with your bankruptcy attorney to identify the best option for your situation. Chapter 7 is often better for filers with little or no income, and Chapter 13 is ideal for those with enough resources to meet the terms of a payment plan.
2. Take a Means Test
A great way to decide which type of bankruptcy you should file is to take a means test. This simple process weighs what you owe against your income to determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the more appropriate avenue to pursue. Those who file Chapter 7 are actually required by law to take a means test, though it is optional for Chapter 13 filers. For those undecided, it can be a helpful tool.
3. Obtain Credit Counseling
Obviously, no one pursuing bankruptcy wants to make the same financial mistakes twice. Credit counseling offers a way for filers to educate themselves about money matters and learn the skills of effective financial management. Under existing bankruptcy laws, both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filers must successfully complete a credit counseling course before their case can be filed with the courts.
4. Gather Pertinent Information
When filing bankruptcy, an attorney needs to have all documentation relating to a client's debts. This may include credit card bills, letters and legal actions from creditors and debt collectors, mortgage statements, and any other financial paperwork. Compile and organize all of this information before meeting with your lawyer.
The Law Office of James B. Mallory III, serving the Iredell County, North Carolina, area, is here to guide you through filing bankruptcy at every stage. Attorney Mallory will help you find the debt relief options that give you a fresh financial slate from which to begin again. Call (704) 872-1911 or visit the firm online to schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney today.