Interviewer: None of those options are smart ones. Is there anything people can do, or things to avoid doing, before they file, to make sure everything goes smoothly?
Avoid Making a Large Payment to One Creditor Prior to Filing
Court: Yes. In general, you want to not change the status quo by giving one creditor a large payment. That can cause problems. You want to not give your family money or sell them any of your assets. That can cause problems as well.
Prior to Filing, it is Important to Have a Complete List of Your Creditors
It looks like you’re trying to buck the system or hide an asset and that can be detrimental. You want to make sure you keep track of all the creditors you have. It’s good to just save the bills that they send you.
I usually just have people save their bills and bring them in to me, so that I know for sure everybody that’s contacted you. Keep a list at your house, maybe by your phone, of everybody that calls you. Get names; try to remember specific amounts that you owe everybody.
Prior to Filing, You Will Need to Bring Your Past Tax Returns and Pay Stubs to Your Attorney
You’ll also need some paperwork, make sure that you have your taxes in order, and your pay stubs and information. Those are the main steps you need to go through before you file.
You Will Not Have Protection from Your Creditors if You Fail to Include Them in Your Bankruptcy Filing
Interviewer: Yes, I imagine the whole reason is that you don’t want to forget to include someone in your bankruptcy filing, because they can still try to collect.
It Is Possible to Amend Your Filing but It Requires an Additional Fee
Court: Yes. If you forget to include a creditor in your bankruptcy petition, it’s something that can be fixed if you realize it. Then we can go and amend your petition. It costs you extra money though, and nobody really wants to do that.
If You Discover a Creditor Some Time after You File, that Debt Might Not Be Discharged
If you forget and you don’t remember until that creditor contacts you, then it can cause a lot of problems if it may have been some time since you filed. In a worst case scenario, this creditor’s debt might not be discharged.
You want to make sure that you get everybody’s name you can possibly remember that you owe money to.
A Qualified Bankruptcy Attorney Can Procure a Unique Credit Report to Ensure Accuracy in Naming Your Creditors
There’s another thing a bankruptcy attorney can help you out with that you won’t be able to do yourself, and the bankruptcy petition preparers won’t be able to do either. Bankruptcy attorneys have special credit reports that we run, that give us the correct addresses and the correct names of all your creditors.
Your Bankruptcy Attorney Has Experience Contacting Debt Collection Companies
We also know all the collection attorneys around town and all the collection bureaus. We have their right addresses, and we understand what happens when a debt is assigned to a collections attorney or a collection firm.
We know how to send the right notice to those people so that you don’t end up missing that creditor and still owing that debt.