Filing for bankruptcy is one of the most difficult decisions a person can make. If you decide bankruptcy is necessary, the Morrissette Law Firm can help you through the process. Contact us at (405) 208-8835 for a free consultation.
Once you have made the choice to file, it is important to have all of the information about your personal finances organized and ready to present to the court. The following tips provide an outline of what to do – or what not to do – prior to the bankruptcy case.
1. Stop borrowing money – Debt incurred after you have decided to file bankruptcy may be exempted from discharge, meaning the court will not include this debt in the bankruptcy discharge. Worse, taking out large loans or running up credit card charges just before filing could qualify as fraud. Don't take out loans, borrow money from friends or family, and stop using credit cards.
2. Don't give large gifts – Transferring large amounts of cash or property before a bankruptcy is likely to appear to the court as fraud. This can include real estate, stocks and bonds, and even personal property like electronics, vehicles, and jewelry.
3. Check your credit – In order to find all of the information regarding your finances, you should obtain credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies. These can be obtained for free through www.annualcreditreport.com once every 12 months. These reports should provide a nearly-complete picture of your outstanding debts.
4. Know your financial picture – When building your bankruptcy case, your attorney will need tax returns for at least the last two years, statements and account information from any loans or credit accounts, foreclosure and/or lawsuit documentation, repossession documentation, medical bills, insurance policies, retirement account information, bank account statements, and a list of all personal property and investments. Bankruptcy boils your financial life down to a story told with numbers, so you want that story to be as complete and thorough as possible.
5. Keep your attorney updated – You hired a professional to help you through this difficult situation. They need good information to give you the best advice and assistance, so let them know if you are contacted by a creditor, you change jobs, or you move to a new address. Most of all, don't miss scheduled meetings or court dates.