What should I do to prepare to file bankruptcy?

If you are considering bankruptcy, the first thing you should do is contact an attorney to discuss what options are available for your specific situation. However, there are certain things which you can do to prepare for bankruptcy before you meet with an attorney.

Stop using your credit cards

Any charges you make or money that you borrow with the intention of having the debt wiped out in bankruptcy instead of paying it can prevent you from discharging that debt or even be considered as fraud. You should consult an attorney before incurring any additional debt.

Do not sell or give away any of your property

Transferring property on the eve of bankruptcy can be considered a fraudulent conveyance and can disqualify you for bankruptcy protection altogether.

Consider which debts to pay

You should continue to pay your mortgage or rent and utilities. However, if you are considering bankruptcy, you should contact an attorney before paying your credit card and other debts. Making large payments on credit card and other types of debt just prior to bankruptcy may complicate your case and may even be a waste of money. Discuss with an attorney which debts you should pay.

Organize and gather important documents

Pull together documents that evidence your debts (credit card and loan statements, etc.) and your assets (deeds, appraisals, bank statements, etc.). Other documents that will requested by your attorney will include  six months of paystubs and the last four years of tax returns.

Take a deep breath

You are not the first person to need help handling your debt. Over 15,000 individuals and families filed bankruptcy in Massachusetts last year. Get ready to take full advantage of your fresh start and plan how to avoid the mistakes you may have made in the past.