Filing for bankruptcy will give you immediate financial relief. As soon as your bankruptcy petition is filed creditors have to stop all collection activities or face sanctions from the Court. The Automatic Stay stops wage garnishments, harassing phone calls, lawsuits etc. However, you must have your financial documentation in place before a petition can be filed. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy the more organized your financial documents are the quicker you can file your petition and benefit from financial relief. A Trustee is appointed by the Court to oversee your bankruptcy case, many Trustee's have a minimum amount of documents that they want to see, but they can ask for any documentation that they would like. At minimum you must provide the following documents for your petition to be prepared:
- 6 months of pay-stubs;
- 3 months of bank statements for all bank accounts;
- 2 years of tax returns-with W-2's. If you have not filed taxes, you will be required to do so before a petition can be prepared;
- A copy of the deed to your house (if applicable), whether you are keeping it or not, together with a statement which shows the current total balance on the loan;
- Copies of vehicle titles (if applicable), whether you are keeping the vehicle or not, together with a statement which shows the current total balance of the loan;
- Any paperwork if you have co-signed on any loan;
- All bills; at least two mailings from all creditors or collection agencies, which include their mailing address, your name, account number, and balance. If you cannot supply actual bills and/or letters, a credit report is another source of your debts;
- Statements from any retirement accounts (401k 403b IRA etc.) and
- Copies of any judgments/wage garnishments, bank seizure notices. If you have a garnishment, it will remain in effect until the Petition has been filed.
Keep in mind that the above is a minimum amount of required documents, depending on your circumstances you may be asked to provide additional documentation. In addition to financial documentation you are required to take a credit counseling course prior to your petition being filed.
Every individual has unique financial circumstances which means each bankruptcy case is unique. You should have an experience bankruptcy attorney by your side to help you navigate through this process.