How To Prepare For Your Meeting With A Bankruptcy Attorney

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So you’ve decided to meet with a bankruptcy attorney to learn about your debt-relief options. What do you need to bring to your appointment?

When you set up your consultation, your attorney will tell you what papers to bring. Some attorneys will ask for very little, while others will ask for stacks of documents. In general, here is a list of documents you should be prepared to have available:

– Pay stubs from employment for the past six months. These will help the attorney determine whether you are above median or below median for your household size.

– Tax returns for the last two years. Used to see if there have been significant changes to your income.

– Real estate tax bills. If you don’t know the fair market value of your house, the tax bill may give you a ballpark figure.

– Vehicle titles and recorded documents from the county land records. These will show if your creditors have properly perfected their liens against your assets.

– Recent billing statements. These will help your attorney understand how much you owe and how many creditors you have.

– Credit report. If you don’t know who you owe money to, a credit report is a great place to start. You can get a free credit report once a year from any of the three credit reporting agencies here: AnnualCreditReport.com

– Court documents if you’ve been sued or a foreclosure has been started. This will help the attorney decide if you’re under some kind of time crunch.

Your attorney may ask for more or less. Personally, I don’t require any documents for our first meeting, although I may ask for most of the items above if you decide to hire me. I tell clients to bring anything that will help them answer my questions. For example, if you know how much your house is worth, I don’t need to see the tax bill at our first meeting.

Image credit: Joel Bez/flickr

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