Alright readers, we’re launching a new series called: Preparing for Bankruptcy. If you are a reader in the mist of a bankruptcy or considering bankruptcy, this is the series for you.

We’ll aim to provide you with everything you need to makes this confusing, convoluted decision easier than expected. Nobody likes the idea of bankruptcy but sometimes, it’s the only option for financial freedom - own it.

As you are preparing for bankruptcy you will want to take time to make sure you have all the documents you will need. By taking everything you need to your Attorney’s office you will ensure your case gets filed as quickly and accurate as possible.

Some of the documents your attorney, and later your assigned bankruptcy trustee may ask for may seem like overkill, however they just need to get an accurate picture of your financial past and present. With that said, let’s dive in…

Documents You’ll Probably Need for Bankruptcy

  • Paystubs and all income for 6 months prior to your appointment: This is for you and your spouse even if you are the only one filing bankruptcy. This includes any source of income that comes into your household. Social Security, Pensions, Part Time jobs etc. Also bring current statements of any Health Savings Accounts, IRA’s and Retirement Funds.
  • Business Records: if applicable for any businesses you own
  • Tax Records: with your W-2’s for at least 3 years back
  • Bills: Current documentation on every debt you owe to anyone. Credit cards, Medical Bills. If you owe someone money, bring proof. If you have a debt that has gone to collections try to being documentation from the original debt holder. You should also bring proof of any child support payments or alimony payments you make.
  • Loan Paperwork: For any Mortgages, Automobiles, and Personal Loans. Bring original paperwork if possible. You may be asked to provide statements showing the values of any real estate and automotive property you own.
  • Bank Statements: You may need up to a year of back bank statements for all of the accounts you may hold.
  • Identification: Bring picture ID, Social Security numbers for everyone in your household
  • Proof of your Pre-Bankruptcy counseling if you have already completed it
  • Insurance policies for your Home and Automobiles

If you think you may need proof of it, bring it with you for your appointment. It is a safe bet that if you earn it or owe it you need proof of it. Neglecting to list all your debts or income can affect your bankruptcy case.

It may take you a good amount of time to collect your required documents, so confirm when you make the appointment what documents will be required in your case. If you know that you may be filing soon, start a file and gather this paperwork as you are preparing for bankruptcy so you will have it on hand. The best advice of all is to be honest and upfront with your Attorney and the Township trustee as you can, and provide what paperwork they need as quickly as possible. After all they are there to help.

Next, choose the right lawyer for your situation

In our next post of this series, we’ll cover why choosing the right bankruptcy lawyer for your situation is so critical and provide a few tips that should make this process a lot easier. If you live in Arizona, I personally know a great Arizona bankruptcy lawyer over at Scott Hyder Law, but the likelihood that you do is minimal so you’ll want to check into this next article so you can make the right choice for your life-changing decision.