Financial troubles can be caused by all sorts of changes in life. If you're drowning in debt and are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are a few things that you'll need to do to prepare for a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer. Here, you'll find a short list of things to get you prepared for the consultation.
Inquire about a Fee
Before you do anything, contact the lawyer and ask if there is a consultation fee. Most bankruptcy lawyers do provide a free consultation because they know that you're already in trouble financially. If they charge you for the consultation, ask if that money goes towards the total fee for services – some will put it towards the balance of what you'll owe to complete the filing.
Prepare Your Documents
If you're organized when it comes to documents in your household, this shouldn't be too big of a task, but if you're not organized, this could take some time and become very aggravating quickly.
You will need:
- The prior 2 years' income tax forms
- 2 months of proof of income
- All credit card bills
- Any bills coming from collection departments
- Medical bills
- Utility bills
- A list of high-value assets
- Home value and tax information
- Any information about lawsuits that you're involved in
Honestly, the more documentation you can provide at the consultation, the better prepared the lawyer will be to provide you with accurate information.
Find a Babysitter
If you have kids, this probably isn't an appointment that they'll want to sit through. Try to find someone to care for your kids. These appointments can take an hour or two depending on how many documents your lawyer will have to go through. In some cases, you may be able to drop off the documents ahead of time so that the lawyer can sort through them and get a good idea of what's going on, so when you go for the consultation, you can bring the kids because it won't take as long.
Bankruptcy laws are changing all of the time and vary from state to state and county to county. Find a bankruptcy lawyer that is local to you so that they fully understand how the laws and limitations work for your individual circumstance. Who knows, maybe he or she will be able to help you through your financial troubles without you losing the things you want to keep – or they could even guide you through finding a way to avoid bankruptcy altogether. For more information, contact a local firm like Martinez Law Firm.