If you’ve recently received notice that your wages are going to be garnished, your home is about to go into foreclosure, or your car is going to be repossessed, you need to act now. Here’s what you can do to prepare for an emergency filing.
Nobody wants to receive a foreclosure notice in the mail, or see 25% of their paycheck disappear due to wage garnishment. While these events are stressful, we want you to know that there’s hope. Filing for bankruptcy is a way to stop these things, but it must be done immediately.
Regardless of whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13, there are certain things that you can do to be as prepared as possible when it comes to your bankruptcy consultation.
Here are six actionable items to help you prepare for an emergency bankruptcy filing in Louisville, Kentucky:
1.) Create a list of your creditors and how much you owe each creditor.
It’s important to know exactly how much debt you have, and to whom you owe that debt. Gather each of your bills and type up a list (or an Excel spreadsheet), then add the total amount.
For example, if you owe $4,000 to a hospital, $2,000 to a credit card company, and $6,000 to a debt settlement company, then list the name of each of those businesses with the correlating amounts, and type a total of $12,000 at the bottom.
If you’ve lost track of whom and how much you owe, pull your credit report so that you can see a comprehensive list. Your credit report will show you the names of all your creditors, as well as the total amount owed to each.
2.) Don’t use your credit current cards or open new ones.
If you’re planning on filing an emergency bankruptcy to stop a foreclosure, car repossession, or wage garnishment (or for any other reason), do not add more debt onto your credit cards. If you max out your credit cards or take out a cash advance right before you file for bankruptcy, it will be viewed as fraud.
At the very least, those last-minute charges will not be discharged in your bankruptcy case (which means you’ll be responsible for paying back the full amount). In a worst-case scenario, you may become ineligible for filing for bankruptcy at all. This means that your creditors will be able to come after you, and you’ll have no legal protection.
3.) Don’t transfer any money or property to family and friends.
Speaking of fraud, if you transfer/give any money, property, assets, or any other “gift” to family members or friends, you’ll end up in really hot water. Fraudulent transfer laws prevent debtors from giving gifts that take money out of their creditors’ hands.
For example, if you wrote a $5,000 cash advance check on your credit card account, and then gave it to your best friend right before you file for bankruptcy, the court will go after that money.
Furthermore, if your best friend spent that money, then they would be in trouble with the law too. Even worse, if your best friend is holding that $5,000 for you with the intention of giving it back to you after bankruptcy, this is viewed as the most blatant type of fraud. If both the giver and the recipient are actively trying to “cheat the system,” there could be devastating legal consequences.
Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t take weeks or months. It can be done in one day if all of these requirements are met.
4.) Gather and organize all pertinent financial documents.
If you don’t know which type of bankruptcy you qualify for, it’s important to at least gather all documents that pertain to both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. Once you have your consultation, Tracy will let you know if you need more documentation (more is needed for a Chapter 7).
Here are the necessary documents for a bankruptcy filing:
> Last six months of bank statements – Chapter 7
> Last six months of pay stubs or wage earning statements, as well as your spouse’s last six months of income information (even if they aren’t filing). – Chapter 7 and 13
> All pages of your last two federal and state tax returns (including 1099 and W2 forms). – Chapter 7 and 13
> A copy of each billing statement from each creditor. – Chapter 7 and 13
> Any paperwork related to creditor lawsuits or garnishments. – Chapter 7 and 13
> Deeds for any real estate/property and/or homes that you own. – Chapter 13 only
> Documents showing recorded mortgages, equity lines, and judgment liens against your home. – Chapter 7 and 13
> Titles or lease papers for cars, boats, motorcycles, motor homes, etc. – Chapter 7 only
> Any home appraisals or appraisals for jewelry, art collections, etc. (if applicable) – Chapter 7 only
> Certificate of stocks and/or bonds, as well as disclosure of any safety deposit boxes in your name. – Chapter 7 only
> Statements from retirement accounts (401K, 403b, etc.), savings accounts, and investment accounts. – Chapter 7 only
> The name and address of individuals to whom you owe child support, or any other form of domestic support obligation. – Chapter 7 and 13
5.) Set aside money for filing fees.
If you’re planning on filing for bankruptcy as soon as possible, you’ll need funds to pay your filing fees and legal fees. In Louisville, KY, filing for bankruptcy will cost anywhere from $350 to $1,500 depending on which type of bankruptcy you qualify for.
If you’re trying to save your home or your car, a Chapter 13 is usually the best option, as it not only helps you keep those assets, but is also cheaper than a Chapter 7 in regards to the fees.
A bankruptcy lawyer is required by the government to collect the filing fees before they can legally file your bankruptcy case, so it’s important to have that ready when it comes time to file.
In order to find out exactly how much you’ll need for your filing, you’ll need to contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in your area (which leads us to our final point).
6.) Choose a qualified Louisville bankruptcy attorney.
When choosing a bankruptcy attorney, you want someone who has several years of experience. Furthermore, you’ll want a lawyer who also has positive online reviews, or comes recommended through a word-of-mouth referral.
In addition to that, you want someone who will take the time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions. A compassionate and empathetic lawyer makes the filing process as stress-free as possible.
If the attorney you’re considering offers free consultations, that’s a good sign that they’ll give you honest feedback and advice regarding your current financial situation.
If you need immediate protection, you can call or text Attorney Tracy Hirsch on her cell phone at (502) 435-2593, and she’ll help you start the filing process as quickly as possible. Don’t wait — you can get protection from your creditors and save your personal possessions today!