“How Do I Prepare for Bankruptcy?”
Are you struggling with debts that you cannot afford to pay? Do you worry about how you will pay the rent, mortgage payments, and electric bill? Are creditors harassing and threatening you? If so, you may be overwhelmed, frightened, and stressed. Many people don’t know what to do when they are faced with financial problems. They have heard about bankruptcy, but they have no idea where to start to prepare for bankruptcy.
Our bankruptcy lawyer helps individuals prepare for bankruptcy. We analyze your financial situation, explain various debt relief options, discuss the pros and cons of bankruptcy relief, prepare and file your bankruptcy forms, and provide support during every step of the bankruptcy process.
What is the First Step in Preparing for Bankruptcy?
The first step in preparing for bankruptcy is to meet with a bankruptcy attorney near where you live. If you live in New Jersey, you should consult a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney. If you live in New York, you should consult a New York bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy is an affordable debt relief option for many people, but you need to make sure that bankruptcy is right for you.
A bankruptcy attorney needs to review your income, assets, debts, expenses, and financial transitions to determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. The attorney must also determine whether there may be any issues that may arise during a bankruptcy case that could result in loss of property or other problems.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney in New Jersey or New York can often devise a bankruptcy strategy to overcome any issues or problems, but the attorney has to know everything about your finances first. Your initial bankruptcy consultation is the time to discuss all financial matters with an attorney as you prepare for bankruptcy.
Preparing for a Bankruptcy Filing
If you decide that bankruptcy is right for you, the next step is to prepare for the bankruptcy filing. Each bankruptcy case is different because each debtor’s financial situation is unique. However, there are some basic bankruptcy steps that each debtor must complete when preparing to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
Gather Proof of Income
You are required to complete a Means Test before you can file for bankruptcy. The Means Test determines whether you have sufficient disposable income to repay some of your debts. To complete the Means Test, we need proof of income for the past six months, such as pay stubs, pay advances income statements, commissions, retirement statements, and Social Security statements.
The Means Test compares the average income of households in New Jersey or New York (as the case may be) to your average income. If your income is below the median income in your state, you qualify to file under Chapter 7. However, if your income is above the median income, you must complete the second portion of the Means Test to determine whether you have sufficient disposable income to file under Chapter 13.
The Means Test determines whether you can file under Chapter 7. It is a complex bankruptcy form. Our office prepares and calculates the Means Test for you after you provide us with proof of income. We utilize every allowable deduction to reduce your income as much as possible.
Preparing a Creditor List
Your credit report is a good place to begin to prepare a list of creditors, but it is not the only source of information. Going through your monthly statements, recent letters from debt collectors, bank statements, and other documents may be necessary to ensure you have a complete list of your debts. Our office can assist with some of this work, but ultimately it is up to you to make sure we have all creditors to prepare your bankruptcy forms.
Preparing a List of Assets
You are also required to report all assets and property that you own when you file for bankruptcy relief. Property includes, but is not limited to, cash, real estate, vehicles, financial accounts, firearms, clothing, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, personal property, household goods, jewelry, and business equipment. We understand that it can be overwhelming to list all property that you own. Our office provides you with forms that can assist you in listing your assets and property.
Each item on your list must have a value. For more expensive items, it can help to use a tax appraisal or other appraisal to determine the value of the asset. The fair market value of vehicles can usually be calculated based on the NADA or Kelly Blue Book value. Copies of bank statements and other financial statements can be very helpful when valuing other assets.
Again, our legal team assists you with this step as you prepare to file bankruptcy. We do not expect you to prepare for bankruptcy alone. We are a team.
Completing the Debtor Education Course
While our legal team prepares your bankruptcy forms, you need to complete the Debtor Education Course. This required bankruptcy course can be completed online in less than two hours for a small fee. Each individual who files for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 must complete this bankruptcy course before filing the bankruptcy petition. There is a second course after you file. We will provide links to you so that you may take courses online at times convenient to you.
Signing Your Bankruptcy Forms
We handle preparing all the necessary bankruptcy forms for filing with the bankruptcy court. Your New Jersey or New York bankruptcy lawyer reviews each bankruptcy form with you to ensure the information reported on the form is complete and accurate. Bankruptcy forms are signed under penalty of perjury, so we want to make absolutely sure before the forms are filed that they are true and correct.
After you sign your bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statements, our office files the forms electronically with the bankruptcy court. We receive a bankruptcy case number immediately upon filing, which means you receive bankruptcy protection quickly.
Once your bankruptcy case is filed, your next step is to complete the Debtor Education Course and wait for your 341 First Meeting of Creditors. Our legal team prepares you for your bankruptcy hearing and continues to be available to you whenever you have a question or concern about your bankruptcy case.
Contact a New Jersey or New York Bankruptcy Lawyer for a Free Case Review
Preparing for bankruptcy does not need to be frightening or overwhelming, especially when you have support from an experienced New Jersey or New York bankruptcy attorney. It is our goal to help you obtain the debt relief you need without causing you additional stress or anxiety. We are here to provide guidance and support through each step of the bankruptcy process.
Contact the Law Offices of Jay Silverberg by calling (888) 355-0666 to schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer. There are affordable debt relief options available. Let us help you get out of debt and on the path to financial stability.