If you are thinking about bankruptcy and haven't made a final decision about it yet, it's important that you know what is involved. If you are not a bankruptcy lawyer, you, more than likely, have not dealt much with bankruptcy law. Here are some quick tips to help you understand what you may go through.
Laws regarding bankruptcy vary by state, so you need to find a lawyer that can walk you through the entire process and help keep your rights protected. In several cases, you can keep your car and your home, but it's your attorney that will tell you what rights you have, what you can keep, and what you will need to surrender.
Once you have filed for bankruptcy, you will have to do your best to build your credit all over again. Do not be tempted to allow your credit account to have nothing on it, so it will appear to be fresh. This will send a bad signal to anyone who is looking at it.
Do your research before choosing a bankruptcy lawyer. Take advantage of free consultations, and meet with several different lawyers before picking one to work with. Make sure that you choose an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about the local laws, the preferences of trustees, and has a good working relationship with local judges.
Before you consider filing for bankruptcy, you should make a pre-determination if bankruptcy may be the right choice. First, make a list of all income, including, salary, child support, alimony, rent and any other sources you may have. Then, make a list of your bills. These would include mortgage, rent, car payments, monthly credit card payments, groceries and gas. If your monthly bill total is more than the income you bring in, it may be time to seek the advice of a bankruptcy attorney, who can help you make the final decision.
Consider seeking advice in an online forum before you make any permanent decisions regarding personal bankruptcy. From there, you will see many people who long ago went through what you are now facing. It can give you a great perspective to help avoid making their same mistakes, and learning their lessons without first suffering those consequences.
Never use a paralegal to guide you through the bankruptcy process. While some paralegals may have the necessary knowledge to provide all the answers you need, they cannot give legal advice legally. Because of this, you are not guaranteed in any way to receive accurate information or advice. An attorney, on the other hand, has a legal and ethical obligation to provide you with accurate information and sound advice.
Become educated about personal bankruptcy. You must realize that the IRS will tax forgiven debt in a bankruptcy. The rules can be confusing, so be sure you learn all that you can before you file. You can find out more about this by doing some research, either by talking to finance professionals or looking online.
Do not cosign on any type of loan during or after your bankruptcy. Because you cannot file for bankruptcy again for many years, you will be on the hook for the debt if the person for whom you are cosigning is unable to meet his or her financial obligation. You must do whatever you can to keep your record clean.
Talk to a credit counselor before deciding to file for bankruptcy. You have to attend an approved credit counseling session anyway in order to file, and a qualified counselor can help you evaluate your options and determine whether bankruptcy is in your best interest. Ask your credit counselor any questions you may have about what type of bankruptcy to file or its effects on your credit.
Write down every debt you have. You will need this list when you file, so it is important for it to be as compete as possible. Double check all of your records so that you do not overlook anything. Take care not to miss any debts that you need to disclose, or you will be responsible for paying them back after you have filed for bankruptcy.
It is certainly true that the prospect of bankruptcy is a topic feared by many. Much of the worry and hesitation surrounding the filing personal bankruptcy stems from insufficient knowledge on the part of consumers. By studying the guidance and advice in the piece that follows, it is possible to better understand what bankruptcy means and does for debtors, and how best to optimize the process.