What to Do Before Filing for Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for personal bankruptcy, you may be feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by the process. Whether you are confused about the types of bankruptcy or are not sure how to proceed with the chapter you have chosen, there are lots of questions you may have.

What to Do Before Filing for Bankruptcy

Before you begin, here are a few things to do – or avoid – while you are preparing for bankruptcy:

Retain a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Before anything else, you should prioritize finding a lawyer. By working with an Illinois bankruptcy attorney, you will receive the guidance you need throughout the bankruptcy process. You will also have the support needed to help you remain focused on your goals and come through the process in better financial shape.


Take a Credit Counseling Course

Whether you opt for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be required to complete a credit counseling course. There is generally a small fee for this course, but if you are unable to pay this fee, you may be able to get the fee waived. Be sure to speak to your attorney about whether this may be possible.


Get Your Financial Documents Together

Not sure which financial documents you will need for your bankruptcy? Talk to your attorney about what is necessary. It may require some phone calls, emails, and other forms of outreach to get these documents together. The sooner you get started, the easier it will be.


Fill Out Your Forms and Pay Your Filing Fee

Regardless of which chapter of bankruptcy you are filing, there are forms to fill out and a filing fee to pay. Again, if you are not sure what is necessary for your bankruptcy process, talk to your attorney about specific forms and fees. These must be completed before you can move forward with the process.


Avoid Misusing or Transferring Assets

Do you have property or other assets that you are worried about losing as part of your bankruptcy? If so, you may be tempted to transfer these assets to a friend or family member. This may sound like a good way to protect the asset – but it is actually a very dangerous and dishonest move.

Transferring major assets is considered bankruptcy fraud. There are ways that you may be able to keep part or all of these assets legally throughout your bankruptcy. Talk to your bankruptcy attorney about these options. But do not try to “hide” these assets, as this will only lead to penalization for fraud.

Likewise, if you have money you are afraid of losing during bankruptcy, do not spend it extravagantly prior to filing. Again, taking a vacation or buying expensive luxury items right before filing bankruptcy can be considered fraud. Be careful with your assets before and during bankruptcy and always ask your attorney for guidance on how to use and protect them to avoid fraud.


Refer Questions to Your Bankruptcy Law Firm

As you can tell, there are plenty of things about bankruptcy that can cause confusion. If you have questions about your bankruptcy – or are receiving questions from creditors – refer those questions directly to your attorney.

While you are allowed to speak to your creditors yourself, the best course of action is always to refer them to your lawyer. Your lawyer will know what to say and how to field any questions you or your creditors may have.

Do not let bankruptcy cause you undue stress. Work with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer at the Law Offices of David M. Siegel to get the guidance and support you need.

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