In 2013 alone, there were an estimated 1,071,932 bankruptcy filings in the United States — 728,833 were Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, and 8,980 were Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings. But for every single case, at least one individual had to go through the process of filing for bankruptcy and navigate those murky waters.
Luckily, bankruptcy lawyers are there to provide much-needed bankruptcy help.
1. Assess Your Finances
During your bankruptcy process, your trustee, creditors, and advisers will give you advice and tell you what to do and what not to do. Make sure to review you finances, debts, and expenses beforehand so you understand exactly where you actually stand.
2. Pull Your Credit Report
Many people feel relieved when the debt collectors stop knocking and calling, and think that their debt might have magically gone away. This is not so. In fact, it is more likely a calm before the storm. Remember, your creditors can petition for your bankruptcy in court. Look at your actual credit report to see exactly what you owe and how it affects your credit report.
3. Inform Debt Collectors and Creditors
Since your creditors won’t legally be allowed to contact you once you have filed for bankruptcy, it is a good idea to inform your creditors that you have filed for bankruptcy and under which district.
4. Get Credit Counseling Certificate
Obtaining a certificate of successful completion of a credit counseling course is required before filing bankruptcy. The counseling can take place up to six months prior to filing, so get it done sooner rather than later. Plus, this counseling session will directly benefit you and will help you move onto a new phase in your financial life.
5. Get a Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy laws are quite complex, and many consumers are unable to file by themselves. Don’t take the risk, or make the process any harder on yourself than it needs to be, and get help filing for bankruptcy.
No matter what, filing for bankruptcy should be something that allows you to gain more freedom and a chance to restart your personal or business finances. Follow these tips and get the help you need.