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How to File for Bankruptcy

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Authored by Kristian Keefer in Legal
Published on 01-28-2009

If you are having serious financial problems and are delinquent on several credit accounts, you might be considering bankruptcy. There are many rules that regulate Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The structure of bankruptcy has changed a great deal over the past several years. You should consult with an attorney if you need to file for bankruptcy so that you can be educated about all aspects of your potential bankruptcy.

There is now a test equation that is used to identify people who can or cannot file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for certain assets to be sold to pay off debts. People who do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will need to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which requires them to pay off their debts but under a payment plan and timeframe that is reasonable for the debtor.

Before filing for bankruptcy, you need to determine if this is the best option for you. Speaking to an attorney specializing in bankruptcy law is a good option. You can also do some evaluating of your options on your own. Keep in mind that although bankruptcy can help you with your current desperation over your financial problems, it will have a long-term impact on your credit history. Bankruptcy can be listed on your credit report for up to ten years. It can be difficult to obtain mortgages, credit cards or other credit accounts if you have a bankruptcy on your report.

In order to file for bankruptcy, you will want to gather all necessary paperwork. Gather copies of your credit accounts. Write down every credit account so that your lawyer can help you determine what debts can and cannot be included in the bankruptcy. For example, student loans typically cannot be discharged even if you are approved for a bankruptcy.

Keep copies of bills from your creditors. Make sure you have the account balance information and the billing address for your creditors. Write down all account numbers as well.

You will need to write down all your assets. Do not attempt to hide any assets because doing so is a crime. If you are eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy some assets will probably be exempt and you will be able to keep rather than liquidize those assets. A trustee that is assigned to oversee your case will determine which assets can and cannot be liquidized to fulfill your terms of the bankruptcy.

Obtain copies of your last several pay stubs and last year’s tax return. If you must file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your income will be factored into determination of your repayment plan. Even if you earned money in a freelance job or doing side jobs, you will need to write down this income.

Take your papers with you when you go to your lawyer to file for bankruptcy. They will have all necessary papers you need to complete and sign in order to file your bankruptcy. The lawyer will tell you then next phases of your bankruptcy and work with you until you are approved or denied to enter into bankruptcy.

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