If you find yourself in a situation where you have too much debt that it has become impossible to manage and you have tried everything you can think of, it may be time to consider the option of bankruptcy. Most people don’t even consider bankruptcy as an option due to the stigma that it carries, but it is tool that is there to provide relief and a fresh start for those who really need it. If you are considering filing bankruptcy, there are a several things you should do before you file.
Adjust your debt payments if needed
It is advised that you do not pay above the normal balance that you owe to any creditor six (6) months before you file, you may be doing it in good faith but to the court it may look like favoritism to a specific creditor. You can also elect to not continue paying your unsecured debts, if you have any. However, you should try to pay on any recently incurred debts; the courts do not look favorably on incurring significant debts and not making any payments on them right before filing bankruptcy.
Keep detailed records of collection attempts
It is advisable to keep some sort of log detailing any collection calls by creditors, this can include the name, date, and time the creditor tried to collect. It may seem a bit tedious but it could also be beneficial for you since you have federal rights that protect you from harassment from collectors.
Refrain from extravagant or luxury expenses
It is important that you do not make any big expenses or go all out simply because you are planning on filing for bankruptcy. Doing so can be harmful to your eligibility to and it can be seen as fraudulent. Making large purposes with the intent of not paying back and planning on filing bankruptcy is considered taking advantage of the system and can lead to that specific debt not be discharged in your bankruptcy. Instead of spending the money you have on luxuries, it is better to spend it on necessities such as food or housing. Creditors and the court usually define luxuries as: electronic items (expensive cell phones, TVs, car stereos), jewelry, furniture, expensive clothing, and expensive automobiles.
Get all your required documents together
It is important to be prepared in advance, since time is important. During your bankruptcy process, the court will appoint a trustee to your case. The trustee will be the one that you will interact with and turn in any documents that they ask for; it is advisable to remain on good terms with the bankruptcy trustee since they are the ones who will state to the judge whether you should get a discharge or not. Some of the important documents to have include credit bills from the last six (6) months, bank statements from the last six months, pay stubs or proof of income for the last six (6) months, your driver’s license and social security card, tax returns for the last two (2) years, a title report stating any liens that could be on your property , copies of your deed or mortgage, paperwork from any property transaction for the last two (2) years, and a statement that shows any profit or loss if you own a business. If you own a business, the bankruptcy trustee in your case will usually ask for copies of business records such as: QuickBooks files, business bank statements, and business tax returns.
Take a credit counseling class
Anyone that files for bankruptcy must take an approved bankruptcy credit counseling course within six (6) months of the bankruptcy filing date. This is mandatory according to bankruptcy law and a certificate of completion must be filed in your case. The good thing is that there are a few of ways of taking the class. You can take the class in person, over the phone, or online using the internet. Ask an experienced bankruptcy attorney of if you have any questions about signing up for the class. A competent experienced bankruptcy attorney should be able to refer you to a very low cost credit counseling course that satisfies the court’s requirements for filing bankruptcy. Our office provides a Spanish language translator if needed for taking the class, and you can also take the class in our office if needed.
Speak with an experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney about filing your case as soon a possible
The bankruptcy process can be difficult to maneuver if you do not have the right knowledge and experience. There are many circumstances that can affect your eligibility of filing for bankruptcy, and then it needs to be determined which Chapter you can file under. It is possible to represent yourself but it is not advised if you have no prior experience with bankruptcy courts as they can be quite difficult. Retaining an experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney can help you a great deal with a Georgia bankruptcy case filed under Federal and Georgia laws. How can you identify an experienced bankruptcy attorney? One way is to ask how many cases they have actually filed in their name and attended the required court hearings for. Meeting with an attorney that has filed several hundred cases is good place to start.
Begin thinking of your life after your discharge
Once your debt has been discharged you are free to start over on clean slate, financially at least. It is a good idea to have some goals ion some mind to work towards to. Most people make claims such as living solely on cash from then on, which is nice but also a little inconvenient at times. It might be a good idea to try to start re-establishing some credit. Whatever your goals are, just keep them in mind as you continue to work towards your future. An experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney should have some helpful information about how to improve your credit score fairly quickly after a bankruptcy. But it is also important to not barrow money unnecessarily just to improve your credit score following a bankruptcy.
Discussing your case with an experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney
We have filed hundreds of bankruptcy cases in the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia. These include personal and business cases of varying degrees of complexity. Call us today at 770-609-1247 to discuss how we can assist in your case and to schedule a free consultation. Contact >