What are the steps one needs to take when filing bankruptcy? 22 Answers as of April 16, 2015

It seems that filing bankruptcy is will be a necessity for me. What are my steps to move forward? Do I first contact an attorney, is there paperwork I need to collect? Do I simply tell creditors I'm going to file Bankruptcy? Where do I start?

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GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
Start by meeting with an experienced BK attorney. Any lawyer worth his or her weight in salt is going to charge you a small fee to meet with you. But you will be able to sleep at nights. There is a very detailed process one must go through to properly handle these matters. The right lawyer will take the weight off your shoulders. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 4/16/2015
R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
The best thing to do is contact a bankruptcy attorney. He or she can explain the options available to you, how the bankruptcy process works and what you need to do. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation. My firm does. Contact me if you want more information.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 4/13/2015
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
Preparing for bankruptcy requires that you look at reality. How much debt can you actually eliminate if you file, and what amount of money can you afford to pay on debt after paying just your necessary living expenses. Pre-bankruptcy credit counseling can be very helpful in coming up with these numbers. Many bankruptcy attorneys have a preferred provider that will allow you to take this class without any up front cost ? try before you buy. So you may want to contact a bankruptcy attorney to help you to prepare to see a bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/13/2015
Novakov & Associates, PLLC
Novakov & Associates, PLLC | LINDA S. NOVAKOV
Most bankruptcy attorneys can provide you with a list of documents you will need, pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, copies of deeds, mortgages, car titles, etc. Many have a questionnaire that will be sent for completion prior to meeting with the attorney. Once all the information is gathered, the attorney can evaluate your situation and make appropriate recommendations.
Answer Applies to: Kentucky
Replied: 4/13/2015
EDWARD P RUSSELL | EDWARD P RUSSELL
Seeing a bankruptcy attorney is the first step. He or she will tells you everything that you will need. The attorney should offer a free introductory consultation.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 4/13/2015
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    You first see an attorney to discuss if you qualify and to make sure you have no unexempt assets that can be seized during the bankruptcy. The attorney will tell you what documents he/she needs and the bankruptcy courts will notify all your creditors when you file.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    The Law Offices of Ryan F. Beach, PLLC
    The Law Offices of Ryan F. Beach, PLLC | Ryan Beach
    First step should be to call an attorney to discuss your situation and a potential bankruptcy filing. Most bankruptcy attorneys will provide free phone and/or in-person consultations. After consulting with an attorney, you will know what your options are, the cost of your options, and what documents would be required.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    Go speak to an attorney in your area that specializes in Bankruptcy. He or She can explain what you can do.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Step 1:? Research Bankruptcy Attorneys to find one who is qualified, experienced and preferably a certified specialist. Step 2: Contact those attorneys to have a consultation. Step 3: Schedule an appointment with the attorneys Step 4:? Provide the attorneys with whatever consultation information they request (the better attorneys will ask you to provide more information).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    Contact an attorney, the attorney will set up a meeting and tell you what documents that they need. Typically, it will be your paycheck stubs, your tax return and your bills. Contact an attorney before you tell any creditors that you're considering bankruptcy. You don't want to give the creditors an incentive to rush in their collection efforts.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    By consulting with an attorney FIRST. You may, or may not want to file.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Eranthe Law Firm
    Eranthe Law Firm | Cate Eranthe
    Go see that attorney who is local to you and knowledgeable about bankruptcy. They will let you know what documents and information they need and can access your situation. I don't recommend telling the creditors in advance because they might just accelerate efforts to collect something before you file. The main thing (other than money) that has meaning to them is a case number after you have filed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    You should contact an attorney to discuss your filing options, then let the attorney gather the information from you in order to prepare a draft petition and see what works for you. Your attorney can notify the creditors once the case is filed.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    The Salas Firm
    The Salas Firm | Ron Salas
    Set an appointment with an attorney. It is not a simple process to explain.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Law Offices of A. J. Mitchell, LLC
    Law Offices of A. J. Mitchell, LLC | A. J. Mitchell
    As a first step, I recommend that you seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney so you can get all of your questions answered face to face.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Tokarska Law Center
    Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
    If you're going to try and do it yourself, which I cannot in good conscience recommend, then you'll have to do quite a bit of research about what forms are required, what the local rules are for your court. Some courts have information online, there are also self help books like Nolo. Be prepared to put in a lot of time to educate yourself on the process. The help books are mostly generic, so you have to supplement that information with your local court's rules, procedures, forms. I cannot advise you on how to handle this yourself, it simply would take too long. If you're going to hire an attorney, then you will want to schedule a consultation (most offer a free consult) to find an attorney you feel comfortable with. Typically, for the consult, I ask the prospective client to fill out an intake sheet. This sheet will provide me valuable information to assess the financial situation, discuss options: credit consolidation, settlement, chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankruptcy, or other type of bankruptcy if one is appropriate, consequences of filing, what debt is dischargeable, are all assets exempt, do you qualify for chapter 7. The intake sheet among other things asks for: your household income, the types, number, and amounts of your debts and asks specific questions that could trigger certain issues. I also ask that the person bring me some copies of their pay stubs or a profit and loss statement if they have earnings. This helps me figure out if the person is under or over the median income levels. Intake sheet also asks for the average monthly living expenses. Individuals over the median income must pass a means test to qualify for a discharge under chapter 7. Some debts are dischargeable, others not unless for certain conditions, others not at all so it's important to review: income, assets, debts, living expenses. If you contact a local bankruptcy attorney they should have a process in place and will tell you what to bring to the meeting. Good Luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    The best thing to start with is to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer convenient to you. Most of us offer at least a brief consultation at no cost or obligation. At that meeting you should be able to get information about the process, including the costs and the sort of information it will be necessary to compile.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    It is not that difficult process for an attorney that his experience in this field and if you don't have an very difficult case you can even try and do it yourself but if it is an old any way complicated I suggest you see an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Start with gathering up the last 6 months pay stubs or Profit and loss statements (do them by month). Th attorney will also need your 2013 and 2014 tax return (if done). You may find an attorney at NACBA.ORG. See the attachment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    Good question. First, find an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. While the yellow pages are not necessarily bad, it's best to find someone who has a good reputation in your community, or perhaps has represented a friend, neighbor, or relative to their satisfaction. Most lawyers who practice in bankruptcy have a questionnaire (some have more than one) which he or she will give you to take home, fill out and return to him for the preparation of the 40 or so pages which go with the petition. You can help move the process forward a bit earlier by putting together a complete list of all your creditors, their addresses, the account numbers if any, and how much you think they claim from you. If you do not have exact numbers, a good faith estimate will do. Be sure to be as complete and accurate as possible. (You will be signing the papers under penalties of perjury.) Also compile a list of all your personal property, which is everything other than real estate, including your consumer goods (i.e. the things which fill your house) and your estimate of their value. The test is what you have to pay for them in their current condition not what you first paid for them or what it would cost to replace them. So the values are often rather law for used goods. You should also include the balances and locations of all your deposit accounts, retirement accounts, IRAs and the like, every sort of investment, motor vehicles and any other property you may have. If you own real estate, list its address and your best estimate of value, which may or may not be the same as the value assessed by your municipality. Our office does a great deal of this kind of work, and we would be glad to discuss the situation with your further.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C.
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C. | Ken Parker
    Contact a Bankruptcy attorney who will discuss you case and tell you what paperwork you need to get together. Most Bankruptcy attorneys will do a free phone consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter | Daniel J Winter
    Yes, you call a lawyer, and most bankruptcy lawyers have free consultations. You need to gather your last 4 years of tax returns, 6 months of pay stubs or proof of income, and your bills, and bring as much as you can find to the appointment.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/10/2015
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