If you and/or your loved ones are in an unfavorable financial position i.e. buried in debt, keep in mind that filing bankruptcy affords you a great opportunity for cleaning the slate. It can be intimidating, especially if it is your first time, but we have put together a few steps you can take in order to stay ahead of the game.
One of the most important things to remember is to never, ever ignore letters from debt/bill collectors. While these letters can be daunting, you must always stay on top of any future payments due. However, once you are in the process of filing bankruptcy, you are protected by the automatic stay from bill collectors. The next thing you should do is obtain a copy of your credit history report from Transunion, Experian and Equifax. Then you will be able to list all debts that you have. This list of all your creditors is vital when it comes time to filing.
Also, prepare a list of all of your assets. For example, you will need to report any household appliances, cars, clothing, jewelry etc., even if these assets hardly get used. As previously mentioned we know that filing bankruptcy can be a daunting task, but by staying aware of what you need in order to file your case your experience will be a smooth one. Lastly, always remember that you are filing bankruptcy to start over, to create better credit and financial security for yourself and your family and to know that you have the absolute and legal right to do so.
Most bankruptcies filed in the United States are either chapter 7 or chapter 13. If you are unaware of what that means, chapter 7 is designed to wipe out general unsecured debt such as credit cards or medical bills. In order to qualify for this type of bankruptcy you must have little or no disposable income. Filing bankruptcy under a Chapter 13 is designed for debtors who have a regular income are able to pay back a portion of their debts through a repayment plan allowing them to catch up on things like mortgage or car payments. Unlike debtors filing bankruptcy under a chapter 7, those who qualify to file a chapter 13 get to keep all of their property/assets and the amount needed to be paid back depends on income, expenses, and types of debt. Regardless of the chapter you will be filing, stay positive because we are in this together and we will be helping you with every step along the way.