How to Prepare for a Meeting with Your Bankruptcy Attorney
If your financial situation has gotten to the point where you think bankruptcy might be the best option for you, the time has come to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. But before you meet with your bankruptcy attorney for the first time, get prepared by doing the following:
- Know your assets. Write a list that includes the value of everything you own and everything you earn. Include your house, car, weekly or monthly income, any income from other sources such as savings accounts, money market accounts, pensions, etc., along with any other significant assets such as vacation properties, valuable musical instruments, hobby motorcycles, etc.
- Know your liabilities. Write a second list that includes all of your debts and expenses, including your monthly bills for rent, telephone, cable, Internet, car payments, mortgage payments, etc. Also include your total debt load—your total outstanding mortgage or car loan, any student debt, any medical debt, and any debt that has gone into collections.
- Find your records. It will help your bankruptcy attorney get a better picture of your situation if you can bring comprehensive financial records with you. When you go, bring your taxes from at least the past two years and recent credit card, bank, and mortgage statements.
- Read up: Websites like lawyers.com have a great deal of valuable information about bankruptcy. Read up before your meeting so you can ask informed questions.
Finally, think about what your goals are and what matters most to you. Would you be willing to sell your house to get out from under your mortgage payments, or do you just need a break from rapidly compounding interest rates and creditor harassment to get your finances back under control? Are there some assets with which you simply cannot part? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you give your bankruptcy lawyer the kind of information he or she needs to give you the best counsel possible.