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davidtrump

Step 1 & 2 - How to File Bankruptcy : A 10-Step Guide

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1. Collect Your Documents

Before getting started, you need to collect all your financial documents so you understand the current state of your finances.

First, you need to obtain a copy of your credit report from ExperianTransUnion, or Equifax to learn how much debt you owe. You can obtain your credit report from all three at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Some of your debts may not be listed on your credit report, like medical bills, personal loans, or tax debts. Make a list of any missing debts as you will need to list all of them on your bankruptcy forms.

In addition to your credit report, you will need the following documents:

  • Tax returns for the past 2 years

  • Pay stubs or other proof of your income for the last 6 months

  • Recent bank account statements

  • Recent retirement account or brokerage account statements

  • Valuations or appraisals of any real estate you own

  • Copies of vehicle registration

  • Any Other Documents Relating to Your Assets, Debts, or Income. Having these documents next to you will help you get an accurate picture of your finances.

2. Take Credit Counseling

An important first step to the bankruptcy process is credit counseling. Everyone who files for bankruptcy is required to take a credit counseling course that is approved by the Department of Justice.

Credit counseling courses like this one give you an idea of whether you really need to file for bankruptcy or whether you could get back on your feet through some type of informal repayment plan.

You will provide the credit counseling agency with your income and expenses. Together, you will review the options for repaying the debt, like debt consolidation, or debt settlement.

In many cases, this exercise only confirms that you don't have any feasible options for addressing the debt other than bankruptcy. But it’s a valuable exercise even still.

The course takes at least one hour and can be completed online or by telephone. The course fee ranges from $10 to $50, depending on the provider. But if your household income is under 150% of the federal poverty line, you should be able to get this fee waived.

Once you complete the course, you will receive a certificate of completion. Keep it. You will need to give a copy of this certificate to the court when you file your bankruptcy forms in Step 5.

upsolve.org

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