Bankruptcy can give you a fresh financial start by eliminating certain debts. For example, debts resulting from credit cards, medical care, and repossession are often eliminated in bankruptcy. Furthermore, filing bankruptcy can stop creditors from taking collection action such as repossessing a car, foreclosing on a home or continuing a lawsuit. In fact, the automatic stay in bankruptcy which prohibits creditors from taking collection action after someone has filed bankruptcy leads some petitioners to file an emergency bankruptcy petition. However, before you can file bankruptcy, whether it’s an emergency bankruptcy or a regular filing, there are some tasks you must complete.
You must complete credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency. These courses are often available online. Your attorney will probably be able to get you a discounted course, so this expense will be minimal.
Tax Returns, Bank Statements & Pay Stubs
There are some essential documents you should have in hand before filing bankruptcy. At a minimum you should have copies of your pay stubs and bank statements for the past 6 months and tax returns for the past 2 years.
Pay The Attorney Fees
In chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney fees are due in full before a petition can be filed, otherwise the attorney would be a creditor in your bankruptcy and their fee likely discharged. Therefore, to prevent an ethical conflict and for obvious business reasons all chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys require payment of their fee in full before filing the bankruptcy petition.
In chapter 13 bankruptcy you will repay some of your debts in full or in part over several years. Therefore, some bankruptcy attorneys allow you to pay a portion of the fee before filing and the rest through the chapter 13 repayment plan. How much the attorney will charge before filing depends upon the attorney.