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How to prep for your first bankruptcy consultation

Are you ready to meet with a bankruptcy attorney? If so, it is imperative that you are prepared for your first consultation. Your attorney will be a professional; however, in order to garner an accurate appraisal of your financial status, he or she needs a little help from you. What should you do to make your first meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer successful?

Be truthful.

It is not easy to discuss financial matters with a complete stranger. Money can be very personal. Yet, the more candid you are in your first meeting, the easier time your lawyer will have in advising you through the bankruptcy process. If you desire to uncover all legal options, it is important to be clear and honest about your current standing. Do not worry: A good lawyer will never judge you. An experienced attorney will protect you and use your candidacy as a means to resolve your legal predicament efficiently. 

Gather important documents.

You may be wondering how candid you need to be. Before your first meeting, it is helpful to collect all relevant documents that reflect your financial history and status. A legal advocate will take time to sift through necessary materials to ensure all bases are covered. Before your first appointment, you should gather the following information, if applicable:

  • Basic contact information (name, address, email address, phone number, etc.)
  • The number of your dependent children and their ages
  • Information regarding prior residences in the state (dates, addresses, length of stay)
  • Previous bankruptcy filings
  • The purchase date, value, loan balance and purchase amount of any real property, vehicles or other personal property on which you have a loan
  • The remaining balances on all unsecured debt (loans, credit cards, student loans, medical bills, etc.)
  • The amount of any owed back taxes
  • The value of any tax refunds
  • If married, your income and your spouse's income
  • Pending lawsuits and judgments filed against you
  • Details and obligations of any divorce settlement
  • Repossessions or foreclosures
  • Claims against other parties
  • Anticipated changes to your current financial situation

Take the time to collect any information that properly reflects your past, current and future financial standing. This includes payment stubs, credit card statements, overdue bills, bank statements, collection agency statements, late notices and anything else you may think of. If you are unsure of whether something is monetarily relevant, you should bring the information to your legal professional.

If you are open with your lawyer in the initial stages of filing, he or she will have an easier time moving you through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To learn more about what to expect, speak with a local bankruptcy lawyer. In the meantime, start gathering information and documents.

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