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What Documents Do I Need to Bring When I First Meet with My Bankruptcy Attorney?

Filing for bankruptcy isn’t always easy. One of the biggest burdens under the “new” bankruptcy law that was forced upon debtors and their attorneys in 2005 was the requirement to produce volumes and volumes of documents. In addition to the formal schedules and statement of affairs, you’ll need to get together a lot of paperwork to file bankruptcy. One nationally known attorney from Utah has said that before the law was changed, he would tell his clients that you paid your attorney to run around the courthouse. Now, under the new law, you pay your attorney, and both the debtor and the attorney get to run around the court house.

What Documents Do I Need to Bring When I First Meet with My Bankruptcy Attorney

In our experience, the presentation of the documents only serves to verify the truth of the matter, and that is that the overwhelming debt is much too onerous to deal with, and the need to file a bankruptcy is even more necessary. The frustrating part of the practice of law, in this regard, is the time-consuming task of gathering documents that state what is already obvious. Even so, submitting these “due diligence” papers is a major part of debtor bankruptcy practice today.

So, what sort of documents will you need for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, at your initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney and beyond? Read on.

Bankruptcy Consultation Documents: What to Bring to Your First Meeting with Your Lawyer

The most important, mandatory documents to bring to your initial bankruptcy consultation are a list of your outstanding debts and a list of your assets, focusing on major assets, such as houses, cars, boats, trailers, timeshares and the like. We rarely ask for the actual bills from the creditors, as we routinely download a credit report, which captures most of the needed information.

Then, a recent pay stub is the next important item, plus a rough budget for your household’s income and expenses. These would be bare-minimum documents for an initial review.

What Documents You’ll Need If You File Chapter 7 or Chapter 13

If you and your attorney decide to go forward with your case, you likely will be provided with a detailed checklist of all the other myriad documents needed, such as loan payoffs, copies of titles, copies of tax returns, six months of pay advices, deeds of trust, proof of insurance, and on and on.

The United States Courts website has a full list of the Official Bankruptcy Forms that may be needed for filing bankruptcy, which include your Chapter 13 Plan, means test forms for Chapter 7, financial affairs and income statements, applications to waive filing fees, orders on reaffirmation agreements, orders for relief in involuntary cases, notice to creditors, financial management course certification, and more. Individual debtors will file forms that begin with the number 100, while non-individuals will file forms beginning with the number 200.

Thankfully, though, most of these documents can wait to be produced during the retainer and filing process, and need not be brought to the initial consultation. While debtors certainly are able to file for bankruptcy on their own without the help of an attorney, it’s generally not advised. Bankruptcy can be complicated, outside the dozens of forms involved, and just a simple mistake with a document or overlooking an asset can get your case tossed and your debts will not be discharged.

Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney Today for a Free Consultation

If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy, you are not alone. Lawyers can help you decided whether or not you even need to file a bankruptcy, but if you do, they’ll let you know which chapter would be most appropriate. They can also tell you whether or not you’ll be able to keep your most treasured assets, including your house and car, and advise you about tax consequences and how to address bills during bankruptcy. They’ll also help you fill out all of the necessary forms correctly and make sure you’re not missing anything the bankruptcy court requires.

Free Consultation with Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have filed over a thousand cases. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Michael Anderson

About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.