The following are steps to take to ensure that your initial consultation with your bankruptcy attorney goes well:
- Find the Right Attorney
A few things you must consider about filing for bankruptcy… If the price on an advertisement is too good to be true, it probably is. Some attorneys tend to offer a low price to get you into the door and then will charge you for odds and ends that will likely make your bankruptcy case rather expensive. Also just because an attorney says they have 30 years experience, it doesn’t mean they have ANY EXPERIENCE filing for bankruptcy. Go online to look for reviews, ask friends, ask other attorneys, ask the local bar association to see who they could recommend for a bankruptcy attorney.
- Get Three Years Worth of Tax Returns
Your attorney will likely ask for three years of your tax returns so bring a copy of them with you. If you don’t have a copy go to your local IRS office and ask for a tax transcript or go to your accountant to get a copy. You will need copies of your tax returns to file for bankruptcy.
- Proof of Income
You will need to provide your attorney with proof of income for the last six months. Paystubs, copies of checks, direct deposit slips or anything to show how much money you made will be applicable. If you have a spouse, whether or not he or she is filing you will need to provide their income as well.
- Detailed Expenses List
Write down a detailed list of all your household expenses (rent/mortgage, power, internet, cable, insurance, food, school, gas, car payments, etc.) and provide it to your attorney. These expenses will help determine which bankruptcy you qualify for.
- Asset list
Write down what your current assets are and their approximate values. Assets will include anything worth money including (cash, bank accounts, stock accounts, 401k, furniture, jewelry, cars, boats, etc). Be specific, especially for vehicles because the attorney will want to know make, model, mileage, and condition.
- Driver’s License and Social Security Card
Your attorney will need a copy of your driver’s license and social security card, so it’s a good idea to have them hands during your initial consultation so the attorney can make a copy of them on the spot.
Bring in copies of any lawsuits you are a part of. Typically in bankruptcy cases they are lawsuits in which a credit card or debt collector is suing you or a foreclosure lawsuit. Your attorney will need to see them.
- Creditor Mail
Bring in all copies of anything you are receiving in the mail from your debt collectors. It is routine that your debts have been sold off from one debt collector to another, so it is imperative that your attorney know who owns the debt and how to list them in the bankruptcy petition.
The above list is a good road map of what to bring with you to your first bankruptcy appointment with an attorney. Shmucher Law, PL handles individual and corporate bankruptcies in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties and has offices throughout South Florida so if you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 954-309-5559 or 305-741-5553.