How to File for Bankruptcy and Is It Really Worth It?
Filing for bankruptcy might initially seem like a daunting prospect.However, it's crucial to understand that the actual bankruptcy process is not the frightening aspect. What's truly worrisome is the situation you're currently facing. When you're overwhelmed by debt, incessantly hounded by phone calls, and too stressed to even glance at your mail, that's where the fear lies.
Are you worried about keeping your car, home, or wages? Bankruptcy is a legal tool that can protect you from these threats. As soon as your case is filed, everything comes to a halt! You're granted a chance to breathe and reset your financial status. In essence, if debt is overwhelming your life, bankruptcy is an efficient tool to reclaim control. So, the short answer to whether bankruptcy is worth it is, "Yes."
When is It Time to File for Bankruptcy?
Determining the right time to file for bankruptcy can differ from one individual to another. If you're experiencing any of the issues mentioned above, it's definitely time to consult a bankruptcy attorney. At DebtStoppers, like most firms, the consultation is complimentary. Other signs might include carrying large balances over a long period, increasing credit card debt or personal loans, or experiencing significant life events such as a major health issue, job loss, or divorce.
While it's challenging to provide a definitive answer to when it's time to file for bankruptcy, I believe that knowledge is power. If debt is causing stress in your life, it's always wise to consult with a bankruptcy attorney, understand your rights, and formulate a plan.
How to File for Bankruptcy?
Although some people file bankruptcy pro se (on their own), hiring an attorney is highly recommended. In addition to the convenience it offers, hiring an attorney can prevent costly mistakes often made by pro se filers, which at best might result in lingering debt or lost assets and at worst, could lead to case failure or loss of home or car.
Collect Your Documents
The list of required documents might initially seem daunting, but it's not as overwhelming as it appears. You will need the last four years of tax returns, which your attorney should be able to order. You'll also need your pay stubs from the last six months and your bank statements from the past two to six months. Identification and proof of social security will also be necessary.
Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney
The selection of a suitable attorney will be discussed in detail below. However, it's essential to emphasize the importance of hiring an attorney for the success of your case. Most attorneys will offer a free consultation to discuss your case. Be candid about your expectations, concerns, and what you can afford. They are there to assist you and should be able to work with almost any budget.
File a Petition
Your attorney will prepare a bankruptcy declaration on your behalf. This petition will list your debts, assets, income, and any significant transactions you've been involved in over the past few years.
Meeting of the Creditors
Contrary to its name, this meeting typically involves only you, your attorney, and the trustee. The meeting is brief and allows the Trustee to confirm the information listed in your petition and schedules.
How to Choose the Right Type of Bankruptcy?
This is where you should devote some time and consider hiring a specialist. While attorneys are technically allowed to represent clients in any field of law, they ideally should focus on their area of expertise. For instance, at DebtStoppers, we specialize in bankruptcy. We understand the nuances of bankruptcy law, know the judges, the trustees, and the creditors. This expertise enables us to provide you with reliable and predictable results.