Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Bankruptcy Consultation: What To Expect; What To Bring

 Last Updated: September 8, 2020.

So you set up an appointment for a bankruptcy consultation. What next?

First of all, relax. People tend to get nervous, or anxious, when needing to speak with an attorney. Remember that any attorney that agrees to represent you will be your advocate. The consultation is so the attorney can understand you particular situation, and advise you as to what your various options are regarding the filing, or not filing, of bankruptcy.

I know what you are thinking, “not filing”? Make sure you ask the attorney if he or she practices under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Yes, there are some alternatives to filing bankruptcy you may want to try.  You should discuss this with your bankruptcy attorney.

What to Bring:
      1. 7 months pay advises (Gross Earned Income and Net Income).
      2. Payoff figures on secured assets (approximate)
      3. Value of secured assets (approximate)
      4. Number of payments left on assets, if less than 60.
      5. Year, Make, Model, and mileage of vehicles and motorcycles.
Generally, my consultations last approximately an hour, with some being a little longer. It is helpful to have the items on the above list. A short discussion of each is as follows:
      1. Pay advises, such as pay stubs, or other document reflecting the gross income and withholding you have had during the past 7 months, for you and your spouse (even if the spouse is not filing). If you and your spouse live in separate households, make sure to let the attorney know, as special rules may apply to your situation.
      2. Payoff figures are needed to determine how much longer you have to pay, and how much, if any, equity you have in the property.
      3. Value. This is need in many situations to, again, determine how much equity is in the property. The equity is important because is helps determine what assets you have from a bankruptcy perspective.
      4. Number of Payments. This is important should your income be more than the median income for a household of you size in the state in which you live, to determine which form of bankruptcy you may be able to file. It may also be useful in advising you what to expect depending on when you file.
      5. Year, Make, Model and mileage. This is useful in determining value and other useful information, such as deductions, when filing. Again, it can help in being able to advise you as to what to expect through the various forms of bankruptcy, or in some cases, what to expect if seeking other forms of debt relief.

While a consultation can still be done without these items, being the documents ask for often helps in facilitating the consultation and enables the client to receive much more accurate information regarding their particular case.