What Can I Expect in My Bankruptcy Consultation?
So you’re ready to file bankruptcy, and you’ve set up your first bankruptcy consultation. You may be a bit nervous, and scared. One question that may be on your mind is what to expect in your bankruptcy consultation. What will be asked of you, and what should you bring?
The first thing to do is relax. Your attorney is your friend. Your attorney will not grill you and is not there to pass any kind of judgment on you. Whatever your financial situation, and whatever reason you may be filing for bankruptcy, there’s a good chance that your attorney has represented a lot of other people in your situation (or worse).
If your attorney does ask you questions that sound like you are being challenged, that’s because your attorney is trying to make sure you won’t have a problem when your case is filed.
In some cases, your attorney may give you paperwork to fill out before your consultation. You should fill the paperwork out completely. That paperwork may ask for a lot of details, some of which you will have to research to find out—for example, account numbers, model numbers for property you own. exact account balances, lists of property you’ve sold or taken out of your name, or expected future income.
Don’t cut corners. Fill out the paperwork as best as you can. Remember that the bankruptcy court will require you provide the same information as you’re providing to the attorney (if not more), so you’ll have to do all the research anyway.
Write Down Questions
Take time before your consultation, and write down questions as you think of them. No question is too silly. Don’t be shy. You can ask about your future, your past and future financial choices, or how the bankruptcy may impact your family members.
Some documents that you may be asked to bring to your consultation include (many of which you’ll eventually have to provide to the bankruptcy court) include:
- Proof of income, such as pay stubs, but also of other income, such as bonuses, or money received from second jobs
- Bank accounts statements: you should be ready to explain to your attorney any unusual or sporadic deposits or withdrawals of money that may appear in these statements
- Credit card statements
- Proof of ownership and loans for cars and houses (or, if you rent, your lease agreement)
- Accounts statements for all debts, even those that are current and not in default
- Paperwork related to divorce or domestic support obligations, if any
- Paperwork from any lawsuits that you are involved in, if any (whether you are suing someone, or you are the one being sued)
- Paperwork from your business, if you have one, like articles of incorporation, or bank statements related to your business