After getting a better understanding of your financial troubles and have considered alternatives, you've decided the best solution for your situation is to file bankruptcy. The process is an important step that can help you get the new financial start you deserve but what you do before, during and after the process can make a big difference in the success of your filing.
The following steps are recommended options that can help you create your own checklist to help you get on the right foot when beginning the process:
- Choose legal representation by working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Learn how bankruptcy can help your situation by discussing concerns with a reputable legal expert.
- Take time to ask questions about the process so you know what to expect. This may include asking about which chapter is best for your unique situation and how to meet eligibility requirements to begin the filing process.
- Know what debts are secured, unsecured and dischargeable. Keep in mind, it may be best to stop making payments on unsecured debt or credit; it's likely it will be discharged.
- Don't attempt to transfer, give away or hide assets; this could jeopardize your case in the future.
- Bankruptcy may help you retain assets through exemptions allowed by the state: learn what assets are protected from creditors.
- Discontinue use of credit cards to avoid adding on more debt. In some cases, frivolous use may be considered fraud.
- Make plans for your financial future after bankruptcy; more like your financial recovery stage. This may include opening a savings account, obtain a secured credit card or set other goals that will help you maintain control of your finances. Having financial plans created ahead of time gives you something to look forward when your bankruptcy case is completed.