Questions about the Bankruptcy Process Pre-Filing?
FAQ-The Bankruptcy Process-Pre-Filing
Is there anything I should let you know during our first contact?
Yes. If a party is taking immediate action against you, for example; your home is set for foreclosure, your wages or bank account are about to be garnished, you have a judgment against you or property is in danger of repossession, we need to know when you contact us.
What should I bring to my first appointment?
It depends. If your situation is rather urgent; for instance, your wages are set to be garnished or have been garnished; your home is set to be foreclosed, you are being sued or a vehicle or other property is set to be repossessed or has been repossessed, you will need to bring everything necessary to help us file your case quickly. This will include a list of your assets and debts, proof of income and last 2 years tax returns. We will also need information regarding the party who is taking immediate action against you, as well as their contact information and their representative’s contact information.
If my situation is urgent, how quickly can you file my case?
Depending on when you come in for your appointment, when you take the credit counseling class, and whether you are able to pay the retainer, we can file your case that day or the next day.
How long will my appointment last if my situation is urgent?
It depends, but you should plan on 2 to 3 hours. This is because we need to interview you to make sure bankruptcy is right for you, prepare a “shell” bankruptcy petition, register you for the credit counseling class, run your credit report and go through the documents with you as well as explain next steps. In an urgent appointment, we are cramming lots of steps into one appointment.
What is a "shell" petition?
A “shell” petition is frequently filed when a person, and occasionally a business, has an urgent situation. A “shell” petition allows the filer to file the first few pages and the last few pages of the bankruptcy paperwork; but schedules, statements and the plan are not filed. This gives the filer immediate bankruptcy protection due to the automatic stay. In our district, the filer has 2 weeks to file the remaining paperwork. Prior to the 2-week deadline, we will need to set 2 more appointments to make sure we have all necessary documents to prepare the schedules, statements and plan; and to give you time to sign and review everything in our office.
What should I bring to my first appointment if my situation is not urgent, but I would like a bankruptcy consultation?
Bring what you have available to help us evaluate your situation. This might include a list of your debts, letters from creditors, lawsuits, etc. If you have unusual or significant assets, you might consider providing documentation related to the assets. For example, some clients own more than one house or have access to a trust fund. If you don’t bring anything, that’s fine. We will ask you many questions, and based on the answers you give, we will ask you to provide documentation later.
What happens after my consultation?
We will set a second appointment. At the end of the consultation, we will make a list of documents you should bring to your second appointment, such as pay information, asset information and tax returns. We will also provide you with a folder with documents you should complete and bring back with you. During you second appointment, we will review these documents together. This will help us type your bankruptcy paperwork. If you haven’t already paid your retainer, you will do so during this appointment so we can use those funds to purchase your credit report and credit counseling class. At the end of this appointment, we will schedule another appointment so that you can sign the documents we have prepared.
What happens during my third appointment?
During your third appointment, we review the documents that have been prepared for filing and you sign them. Hopefully, have completed the credit counseling class prior to this appointment.
What happens after my third appointment?
As long as we have received all necessary documents and information, you have paid the retainer and you have taken the credit counseling class, we are ready to file your case.
If I own a business, or am filing as a business, will the appointments be different?
Yes. Usually, business clients have 2 paperwork appointments and 2 signing appointments. Business clients typically need more than one paperwork appointment to gather all necessary documents. Business clients also need more than one signing appointment because the documents need multiple revisions. Some business clients require more than 2 signing appointments.
Can business clients file a shell petition?
Yes. However, we may have to file a motion to extend deadlines because it might be impossible to file all remaining documents within 2 weeks.