A Bankruptcy Attorney Can Advise Clients On Proper Documentation

Ever since Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention And Consumer Protection Act it has become a lot more complicated to file for bankruptcy. Many people filing bankruptcy after being inundated with questions and having to gather up documentation have come up with the conclusion that the BAPCPA was created by Congress to discourage Americans from filing bankruptcy. Although, the changes made it more complicated, individuals in financial trouble should not get discouraged and just grind it out with the help of a bankruptcy lawyer.

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Initially, when an individual in financial trouble comes in to visit a bankruptcy attorney for advice, they are only required to give basic financial information. This information given to the bankruptcy attorney will help the attorney determine whether a person qualifies to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy or not. It's not that the bankruptcy lawyer is being nosy, every bankruptcy filing is different and to represent the client in the best fashion it's important to ask these tough questions.

Where the real information gathering begins is after the individual hires the bankruptcy attorney and gets a list of the documentation needed to file for bankruptcy. Most of these documents are required by the bankruptcy attorney before the petition can be filed. Typically, the attorney will ask for, the past six months pay stubs for all wage earners living in the household. Next, they will need to see three years of tax returns for the individual filing for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court requires the individual filing bankruptcy to provide a copy of their driver's license and Social Security card when attending the 341 meeting or meeting of creditors. It's pretty obvious that the bankruptcy attorney will want copies of these also. Before filing the bankruptcy petition the debtor will have to take a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course and show the court proof of this with a completion certificate at the time of filing.

There are other things that the bankruptcy attorney will ask for and can vary from attorney to attorney is a copy of the individual's credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. This will help the bankruptcy attorney make sure that all debts are included in the bankruptcy petition prior to filing. Sometimes there will be debts that don't show up on the credit report and the individual filing bankruptcy needs to make sure that that information is given to the bankruptcy attorney. Some attorneys will request a valuation report for an automobile or a home. This isn't always necessary, but sometimes it is asked for.

The bottom line is, filing bankruptcy is a very paper intensive process and the days of the debtor giving the guess valuations of their property is over. It's probably a good idea to make a folder of receipts and even go online to make copies of similar property valuations so you would have some proof to show the bankruptcy trustee. Having a bankruptcy attorney help the debtor through the process takes away a lot of the pain. Since the bankruptcy lawyer typically works in the same court district, they will know what the bankruptcy trustee expects from the debtor.

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