Not Just Forms
When filing bankruptcy, you’re going to need to complete this thing called a Voluntary Petition. It’s as easy as that, and as complicated as that. These forms are “only” a few pages long. Actually, they’re a few dozen. And they require between 50-100 pages of schedules and forms with them.
Firstly, which schedules do you need? You’ll usually need one that lists all of your personal property. Cars, boats, TV sets, clothes, everything. You’ll also need to list all of your debts, each credit card, every mortgage, every medical bill that you thought you forgot about. List all of your assets, your income, and your monthly expenses. Doing all of this can — and will — take hours. Just pulling together all of the information scattered about will take you a while. Not to mention the many decisions on each page. More research, more time.
Secondly, if you have a business, you can probably double the time invested. You’ll need business bank statements, and income and expense statements for the past 6 or 12 months.
Additionally, having a credit report probably wouldn’t hurt.
Mistakes are Costly
There are many judgment calls to make when completing the bankruptcy petition. Make the wrong call and your case will be discharged or worse! You can lose your car or other valuable possession to pay the creditors you wanted to get away from. The knowledgeable experience of a bankruptcy attorney is really valuable. Only a bankruptcy attorney can tell you if you pass the means test and should file bankruptcy under Chapter 7.
After you fill those out, you’re going to need to find out all the forms that are used by your local bankruptcy court. These local forms vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Forms included with software packages you pick up at the local computer store are not complete or up-to-date, as these local forms change regularly for all the various jurisdictions across the country.
Once all forms are complete, and you feel good that you’ve done everything correctly, you are now ready for your one chance to discharge all debt. Go to the local bankruptcy courthouse and file your paperwork. The fees can be around $310-$335 just to file. Your creditors will be notified, and then you wait for your Meeting of Creditors (341a). If they object to some of the statements you put in your petition, you may have a separate hearing on those issues. The trustee will closely scrutinize your papers, and you will be put under oath.
Go With a Pro
It really is in your best interests to not navigate this path on your own. Have a helpful and knowledgeable guide lead the way. Go with a Los Angeles attorney who only does this type of law for a living, and is full of the helpful bankruptcy information you need, to make filing bankruptcy easy.
Contact a Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer now!