Information Needed To File
On this page you will find many of the documents you will need in order to file and some of the actions you will need to take. It is not an absolute necessity that you have ever single thing the first time you come to see us, but, the more prepared you are, the quicker your case can be filed if you choose to file.
Documents that are needed to properly process your bankruptcy:
1. Copies of Tax Transcripts or Tax Returns. The Bankruptcy Code requires that everyone who files a bankruptcy must present evidence that they have filed tax returns for the most current year and the three years immediately preceding. As of the time of the writing of this page, April 2016, that would be the 2015, 2014, 2013 & 2012 tax years; every year on April 15th, the newest year is added to that list and the oldest dropped. If you are not required to file taxes because you did not earn enough in a particular year or for some other reason, we can prepare an affidavit to file with the Court to that effect. A Tax Transcript is a printout of the information from your actual return that is provided by the IRS. You can obtain your free copies of those years by calling 1-800-829-1040 or by going to http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript. We recommend that you call or log on to order these as soon as possible. The call and the transcript are free. Normally, they can also be accessed online immediately, but there are times the site is down. Please bring copies of your actual returns if you don’t have transcripts prior to your appointment.
2. Payroll stubs for the most recent six months of income ending in the month prior to the month your case is filed. Payroll stubs for most people are the actual stub you get from your employer each payroll period. A printout of them works if it itemizes the income by pay period and accurately itemizes all deductions. This information is needed to complete the means test that helps to determine which Chapter you can file under and what your payment will be if you are in Chapter 13. This applies to all income received. For example: Child Support, Alimony, Food Stamps, Housing Assistance, Disability, Social Security, Unemployment, et al.
3. A copy of the most recent statement from any and all creditors to whom you owe money. You must bring us copies of each person or company to whom you owe money regardless of whether you wish to keep paying the debt or not. All persons to whom you owe money must be listed. That said, you will often have the ability to determine what happens to that debt after filing. That kind of information is why you come to us. If you don’t have a statement, please write down the name and address of the creditor, account number, total balance due and (if this applies) monthly payment. If you are being sued, a copy of the Complaint filed against you or other document that shows who is suing you, the Court in which it was filed and the attorney for the moving party will be needed. Please remember that willful failure to list all creditors in a bankruptcy filing is punishable by severe fines from the bankruptcy Court.
We will always need copies of the most recent statements you have showing the balance due on your home notes and vehicle notes (vehicles include cars, trucks, atv’s, rv’s, boats, motorcycles, etc.). Finally, a recent credit report is always helpful. If you do not have one, we will run a consumer liability report for every case we file. We also need to know the mileage on your vehicles.
4. We will need to make a copy of your driver’s license (or other picture ID) and Social Security Card (or other government document with your Social Security Number) to verify that we have confirmed your identity when consulting you. The government is checking this much more closely as identity theft has become a major problem.
5. You will need to complete as fully and completely as possible the client information sheet prior to your office visit. Filling this form out ahead of time will help to reduce the amount of time that your office visit will take. Also, please follow these links to the official bankruptcy Schedule of Income & Expenses and Statement of Financial Affairs. Completion of these schedules (either by filling in the blanks or writing/typing your answer on a separate page) will also help greatly speed up the processing time for your paperwork.
6. Anything else you find concerning. Please do not hesitate to bring in anything that concerns you whether you think it applies to bankruptcy or not. Let us decide whether it applies or not. If your name is on the deed to someone else’s property or you co-signed for someone else’s car, that matters and we need to know so that you can best protect that person (if that is a concern to you).
7. Copies of Divorce Decrees.
8. The name, address and phone number (if available) of anyone to whom you (or your spouse) pay child support or alimony or any other kind of Court Ordered Support payment.
9. If you have any interest in mineral rights, please provide that information.
10. Most recent real & personal property assessments.
This list is not all inclusive and we may need more or less documentation depending on what we discuss in your consultation. However, I hope this helps you to understand how detailed we have to be in preparing your paperwork and why bankruptcy has become so complicated that you need an experienced law firm to handle your case. If you have questions about anything on this page, please do not hesitate to call or email.
Please don’t let this list deter you from coming in though. The preparation of your paperwork is our job, we just need the best information possible to do the best job for you.