Your Do List
If you are considering Bankruptcy:
- Do file all required tax returns, both state and federal.
- Do remove any funds from a credit union that you have debt with (if necessary open up an account with another bank).
- Do remove any funds from any banks to which you owe money to for any type of debt
- Do tell us about every debt
- No matter how old
- Even if you don't want to include it in your petition
- Even if you don't agree that any debt is owed
- Even if someone else is supposed to make the payments
- Even if someone else is jointly responsible for the debt.
- The question is not whether you believe that you owe money to someone; the question is whether someone might claim that you owe them money, or that you did some sort of harm to them or to their property.
- Do tell us about everything that you own, even if there is no debt involved
- Even if someone else's name is somehow attached to that property and/or to a loan that is secured by that property.
- By far, the problems that arise the most often are caused by failure to tell your attorney about something in advance. We can deal with problems if we know about them ahead of time. Surprises that come too late in the process can lead to situations that are impossible to resolve.
- For instance, if you have a big tax refund coming, we can usually make sure you get to keep that money instead of giving all or part of it to the bankruptcy trustee.
- Another common problem involves lawsuits or personal injury settlements. If you file bankruptcy without disclosing the potential settlement or judgment, you can actually lose your right to pursue that claim.
- Do call us anytime if you have any questions, or if something unusual happens.
Your Don't List
If you are considering Bankruptcy:
- Don't: use a Quit-Claim Deed (a.k.a. "Quick Deed") for any reason, without specific advice from an attorney. Most of the time that is just asking for trouble.
- Don't: fall for any "foreclosure reinstatement loan modification" or "foreclosure loss mitigation" offer. There are a lot of scam artists who try to take advantage of people in desperate situations.
- Don't: buy, sell or give away any of your belongings.
- Don't: withhold anything from your attorney. Most complications arise as a result of incomplete information.
- Don't: leave out any creditor or debt.
- You are required to list absolutely every creditor.
- If there are people that deserve special treatment, just tell us so. There is usually a way to deal with it, as long as we know about it in advance.
- Don't: listen to rumors or well-intentioned advice from friends and family. You are paying your attorney for that service.
- Don't: pay ahead or pay off (or pay down) any significant debts; even very small ones.
- Don't: pay relatives, friends, or other "insiders" back for loans that you owe them
- Don't: take out any new loans, create any new debts, or make any more charges on existing credit accounts or credit card accounts.
- Credit card companies and automobile finance companies have become very aggressive in pursuing their rights against individuals making this mistake.
- On top of that, the new bankruptcy law, which became effective on October 17, 2005 includes several new provisions which give creditors additional rights in situations where a new debt has been incurred shortly prior to the filing of the case.
- Don't. wait until the last minute. Every bankruptcy lawyer in the country can recite horror stories about clients whose situations would have been relatively easy to deal with if they had just come in a few days earlier.