Before filing your bankruptcy case, it is important to decide if bankruptcy is your best option. Depending on the specifics of your financial problems, we will gather and discuss as many of the facts in your case. We will want to know all aspects of your financial situation and what your desired outcomes are. It may be difficult to discuss all the circumstances you are facing in bankruptcy. However, if you are to take full advantage of the protections offered you under the United States and Arizona bankruptcy laws, we must know everything, including who and what you owe, whether or not you are behind on your payments, and any other financial information.
One part of the bankruptcy process is the court will notify all of your creditors when you file. If you fail to tell us that you owe money on a car loan and that you are behind on your car payments, the company might repossess your car because it wasn’t notified of your bankruptcy. If you haven’t told us about a debt, it’s possible that you will still be responsible for the debt after you receive a discharge. Even if it was a loan that could have been discharged as part of your bankruptcy, you might still be responsible for paying it back.If you are owed a tax refund that you haven’t received, we can plan for how to best handle your bankruptcy. All of these are examples of critical information we need from you when we begin to work on your case.
One of the ways we ensure that we have all of the information we need to advise you on your best legal options is through our “free workbook” and “documents needed list” available here. http://www.trezzalaw.com/get-started/ When we sit down at our initial consultation we will want you to have thought about some issues. For example, what are the kinds of debt that are causing the most stress for you or your family? How much income do you have available that is not already set aside for required or unavoidable expenses? What are the biggest assets you have? How did you get debts and is there property that you used as collateral for any of your loans? How close are you to foreclosure or repossession of property?
By having you think about these things prior to our consultation, filling out the workbook and gathering the documents needed, we ensure that we, as your attorneys, have all possible information to best represent you in your bankruptcy case. Remember that we are relying on you to give as much information as you have so that we can discuss your options.
Claiming All of Your Property
Some of our clients will forget all the different kinds of property they own. Often financial stress is so overwhelming it can be difficult to remember everything. As you consider your bankruptcy, try to remember all the different kinds of property you own.
For example, if you needed to pawn some of your property before you came to meet with us, we will need to know this. Do you have old bank accounts that you haven’t used in some time? Do you have a tax refund coming? Do you normally receive tax credits such as the child tax credit? Do you have alimony or property settlements from your divorce that haven’t been paid? Has someone died recently and you will have some money coming from life insurance or an inheritance (no matter how small)? Did you pay a security deposit for the home or apartment you are renting? Do you own life insurance or credit insurance that can be cashed in at the time of your bankruptcy?
These are examples of the kinds of property that are often overlooked in the bankruptcy process that can cause headaches if we don’t know about them prior to filing your case.
Claiming all of Your Debts
It might seem obvious that you will want to make sure and tell us about all of your debt. However, it is common for clients to forget about some debts they owe. For example, you might have a lease on a house or other rental property. The amount you owe on the rest of the lease would be important for us to know about. Perhaps you are making installment payments on a piece of land and it will be important for us to know this in case we are able to modify the terms of the installment loan. If your lease terms seem to be unfair, we may be able to modify those terms as well.
If you owe money for child or spousal support or on a property settlement from your divorce, these are important debts we need to consider in your case. We will want to know if you recently make any large or multiple purchases on your credit cards. Have you co-signed on a loan that is being paid by someone else? If you’ve been sued by someone for unpaid debt, did you receive what is called a judgment lien? A judgment lien might be put on your property by the courts if you owed someone money and they sued you.
As we create a bankruptcy strategy for you, it is even important for us to know if you purchased any appliances or other personal property on credit. It is possible your creditors will claim an interest in that personal property and knowing all the facts surrounding those kinds of purchases will allow us to protect you when possible.
Sometimes our clients will want to pay off a particular debt or don’t want to disclose the debt. We often get asked whether or not they can leave it off the list of debts and creditors. Even if you owe money to family or friends, all of these debts must be listed on the bankruptcy paperwork (referred to as “schedules”). When you sign the schedules you are certifying to the court that the information you are providing is complete and accurate. We can discuss strategies and timing for filing bankruptcy no matter what your circumstances.
As part of gathering complete information in your case, we may look to other sources such as your creditors, tax returns, credit reports, pay stubs, and bank statements. We might need prior year tax returns, past appraisals and title searches as well. Because the real estate market has declined significantly in Arizona, we might also look to get a current appraisal or use on-line websites to get a better picture of the value of your home. We can also do the same for your cars.
Because prior bankruptcy cases can affect your current case with us, we will want to have that information as well. Filing dates, whether or not the case was dismissed, and number of earlier cases, are all important facts for us to consider as we work together on your Arizona bankruptcy.
The Need for Accurate and Complete Information
Remember that when you hire us as your Arizona bankruptcy attorneys, we are working on your behalf. Because we have worked with thousands of clients over two decades, we have heard many of the concerns you may have about the bankruptcy process. We are your advocates and we can only do our job when you give us all of the information and facts. It can be difficult disclosing this information to us, but we provide the best legal representation when we work as a team, lawyer and client. To schedule your free consultation with us, contact our office in Tucson or Phoenix today.