The decision to file for bankruptcy should never be taken lightly, but if you are exploring that step as a solution to severe financial difficulty, take the time to tackle the details early in the process.

Your first step should be to schedule an initial consultation with a trained and trusted bankruptcy attorney. As you probably know, there are various types of bankruptcy, and specific requirements, timetables and limitations that vary from one state to another. Your legal adviser will answer all your questions, and tell you about the checklist of documents you will be required to provide. You might also gain insight into other possible options. No matter where you currently are along the path toward bankruptcy, remember that the actual filing takes time. There is no “one size fits all” form of bankruptcy, and you must be comfortable working with your attorney throughout the process.

Some specific documents you should pull together include:

  • Pay stubs and detailed information on all sources of income, whether from salary or self-employment, disability or social security, for you and your spouse, for at least the past six months.
  • If you own a business and are considering a business bankruptcy, you will need income and expense statements for the current year and the two preceding years, as well as detailed information on assets and liabilities.
  • Tax returns and backup information for the past two or three years.
  • A detailed list of all debts and obligations, monthly payments and balances, whether they are secured or unsecured.
  • Statements of cash on hand; current balances in savings and checking accounts; current statements of any investment accounts and retirement funds and any judgments or deficiencies (including those related to alimony and child support payments); insurance policies and amounts, current payments, if any, and current cash value.
  • A description of any real property you currently own, including cars, jewelry, art, furniture and personal belongings. Also, you must disclose any real property you may have sold or transferred rights to in the past two years; to whom, when, and for how much.
  • Any property, credit cards or property (such as a vehicle with a loan that you pay monthly) that you might wish to exclude from the bankruptcy.

The more documents and details you bring to an initial meeting, the easier it will be to obtain pertinent and definitive advice.

While considering bankruptcy, it can also be a way to get back on your feet financially after a rough period or catastrophic event. Remember that Clark & Washington is a proven bankruptcy resource for Georgia residents.