- Take a deep breath! Even thinking about talking to a bankruptcy attorney can stir up emotions. Try to think about feeling at ease as you take the first step toward the financial freedom you have been dreaming about.
- Provide full disclosure of all relevant information to your bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney can not effectively protect your interests and assets without your truthfulness and honesty.
- Save all of your financial documents. This includes tax returns, bank account statements, paycheck stubs, collection letters, and receipts for all purchases and household expenses no matter how large or small.
- Continue making full and timely payments on anything you intend to keep. This includes mortgage payments, car lease or loan payments, necessary utilities, and insurance premiums.
- Never transfer property or assets to anyone without first speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Giving away your property or anything of value on the “eve of filing for bankruptcy” may be considered fraudulent. A thoughtless transfer of assets may subject you or the transferee to a lawsuit to recover the value of the asset for the benefit of your creditors.
- Don’t fail to disclose anything that you own, or anyone to whom you owe money. If you do not fully disclose your creditors or even the smallest of asset (whether you believe it is valuable or not), you stand to lose your assets, and you risk losing a discharge of your debts. All bankruptcy documents and testimony are given under the penalty of perjury.
- Don’t incur a large amount of debt immediately before filing a bankruptcy. Using large amounts of credit or transferring large amounts of money before filing for bankruptcy are indicators of fraud. Spending with the appearance of fraud can lead to negative consequences in your bankruptcy case.
- Don’t tarnish your fresh start. It is important to act responsibly with your credit after receiving your bankruptcy discharge. Closely monitor your spending and make a budget to help keep track of your finances going forward. Consult with your bankruptcy attorney about ways to improve your new credit after receiving your discharge. Finding the road to financial freedom is half the battle. Staying on the right path once you’re there is up to you!