Our Scottsdale Bankruptcy Lawyers Outline Essential Documents Needed To Declare Bankruptcy In Arizona
Sometimes, life circumstances out of our control cause us to fall into debt. When that happens, bankruptcy is there as a safety net to protect those struggling with debt from their creditors. Whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, there are certain documents you will need to prepare your petition, among other purposes. It can also be useful to have these documents ready before you begin the bankruptcy process, as they can help you determine your qualification, estimate plan payments, and more. Before scheduling a consultation with a Scottsdale bankruptcy attorney, read this list of documents you should be prepared to collect if you declare bankruptcy.
This can be a vital document to your bankruptcy preparation if you don’t have a clear idea of your average income. You will need to provide your income information from the past 6 months for the purposes of bankruptcy. Income is one of the main qualifying factors for Chapter 7. You will also only be able to estimate your Chapter 13 payment plan if you can provide your income information. Your Scottsdale attorney will help you figure out which pay periods’ stubs you will need to provide. Keep in mind that if it takes you a while to gather the rest of your documents, you will need to continue updating your attorney with more recent paystubs. Don’t forget to include information from side gigs and other secondary employment, as this can result in delays or dismissal of your case if discovered by your trustee.
You will need tax documents from at least the past two years. If you are behind on tax filings, you should complete these while preparing for your bankruptcy. These documents can take a while to produce if you don’t have them on hand, so you should request them as soon as you start considering bankruptcy.
Your attorney will probably have a form or packet for you to fill out upon retaining. Your Scottsdale attorney will need several items of basic information, like your address, email address, former addresses, and more. It can be far easier to provide this information to your attorney in writing, rather than struggle with spelling and verbal misunderstandings. Your attorney may use a relatively lengthy form, so it’s better to complete it sooner rather than later in case an emergency arises.
Driver’s License & Social Security Card
It’s best to make sure you have these forms of identification, or acceptable substitutes, ready before filing your bankruptcy petition. A passport, state-issued identification card, or other approved photo identification can be used in place of your driver’s license. An original W-2 can be used instead of your social security card, as it should contain your social security number. Be sure to bring an original W-2 to your 341 Meeting of Creditors, as the trustee might not accept a copy.
Bank Account Statements
Bank account statements are an important document for the trustee to review. Most states limit how many accounts are exempt in bankruptcy, as well as how much can be in them on the day your petition is filed. Your trustee may also review them for reckless spending, transferring funds in an attempt to conceal them from the bankruptcy court, and more. You will need to provide at least six months’ worth of bank account information. You will also need to provide information about closed bank accounts from the past year.
Deed To Your Home, Vehicle Registration, etc.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets will only be protected if they have certain amounts of equity in them. Your Scottsdale attorney will need to know detailed information about your property to confirm it will fall within the applicable limitations, known as exemptions. Similarly, you may want to have documents for your mortgage and auto loan handy while beginning the bankruptcy process. If you have co-signers on these loans, you will need to provide their information as well.
Child Support Orders
It’s important to know exactly how much you pay in child support, because this expense can be used in the Means Test. More mandatory expenses against your monthly income could help you qualify for Chapter 7, or lower your payments in a Chapter 13.
Investment Account Statements
Many retirement accounts are protected in bankruptcy, but some accounts will only be protected based on their balance or your profession. Like taxes, these documents can also take a while to produce. You probably won’t need to have these statements available during your consultation, but a general idea of their balances will be useful.
The bankruptcy court needs to know if you are discharging any debts that were accrued while married in a community property state. Your spouse may be a co-debtor on some of your debts, or your spousal support payments could affect your eligibility or plan payments. It’s better to have these documents on hand if you don’t know the exact dates of your marriages, divorces, and exact spousal support terms.
Personal injury claims, civil judgments, and other lawsuit information should be provided to your attorney as early in the bankruptcy process as possible. Your attorney should be able to confirm whether documents from your prior legal matter are relevant to your bankruptcy.
Medical Bills & Other Bills That May Not Be On Your Credit Report
Your attorney will list most of the debts you will discharge in bankruptcy by pulling your credit report. Some debts may not appear on your credit report due to their recency or the type of creditor. You should submit unpaid bills, especially those you suspect aren’t on your credit report, to your Scottsdale attorney along with the rest of your documents.
If you rent your home, you likely won’t need to provide your Scottsdale attorney with your full lease. However, you may need to review your lease to make sure the information you include in your bankruptcy petition is correct. You will need to include your address, the owner’s information, and a description of the lease, including its termination date. You may also need to apply an exemption to protect your security deposit. You can also list your intention for the lease in your petition. If you wish to move out, you can reject your lease in bankruptcy. If you wish to remain in your home, you can assume the lease. You should also exclude your landlord from the creditor mailing matrix so that your landlord isn’t informed about your bankruptcy filing.
Contact Our Scottsdale Bankruptcy Attorneys For a Free Consultation
There are several other documents that may be necessary to prepare your bankruptcy petition. You also don’t need to have all of these documents on hand for a bankruptcy consultation, but it will help your attorney give you a more detailed preview of what your bankruptcy will be like. Our dedicated staff and attorneys in Scottsdale will help you with every step of the bankruptcy process, from your free initial consultation, to gathering your documents, all the way through the conclusion of your case and beyond. We offer payment options that work with every budget- eligible clients can file their cases for Zero Dollars Down! To get started with your free consultation, contact us today or use our online form to schedule.
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