Once you've made the decision to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, you might begin to feel anxious to get things over with. That is only natural considering that you want to get on with your financial fresh start. In most cases, your bankruptcy case will be complete in a few months. However, you can prevent delays by attending to the below issues.
Gather Paperwork for Your Bankruptcy Lawyer
Even if you have yet to meet with your lawyer, you can gather the documents your lawyer is sure to ask for:
- List of all creditors, their contact information, and the current balance you owe.
- Your most recent tax year return. If you have not yet filed taxes and they are due, file them immediately.
- List of property including real estate, vehicles, recreational vehicles, bank accounts, and other items of value. Include titles and deeds if you have them.
- Proof of income using the most recent pay statement or similar.
Don't File Too Soon
You can file for bankruptcy as many times as you wish but you cannot file as often as you might wish. If you have not waited the minimum time between filings, you should be prepared to wait longer. Speak to your bankruptcy lawyer about switching the chapters for a timelier way to file and get some debt relief. You can, in some cases, change over to a different form of bankruptcy later.
Pay Attention to Income Issues
Income can be a stumbling block for some filers. Income should be at or below the filer's state of residency median level. However, only the last few months of income are considered. If your income is too high now, consider waiting a few months if your income has dropped or you expect it to drop. Also, speak to your bankruptcy lawyer about using the means test to file even if your income is too high.
Problematic Property Actions
The bankruptcy trustee, who oversees your case, is tasked to identify filer assets with the goal of using them to pay creditors. What many filers don't realize, though, is that the trustee can look back over several months prior to the date of the filing and locate assets. If you sold or gave away property during a certain time before you filed, the trustee could hold things up while they investigate and take back any property disposed of in that manner. Speak with your lawyer about any sales or transfers of property to avoid problems during the bankruptcy. Learn more about a Chapter 7 bankruptcy by speaking with your bankruptcy lawyer.