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Planning for Bankruptcy

It is an ironic thought that a person should plan for bankruptcy because some people automatically assume that a person who needs to file bankruptcy is not a good planner. In the majority of bankruptcy cases, however, poor planning is rarely the cause for needing to file.


With the enactment of the BAPCA in 2005, debtors filing bankruptcy are required to file an extensive amount of documents. Thus, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy in the near future, you should gather as many of these documents as possible and have them ready for your attorney and/or the court. The following is a list of documents needed to start the bankruptcy process:

-          Copy of your driver’s license and Social Security Card

-          Copy of your last 6 months of paystubs (evidence of income includes spousal income for purposes of calculating household income)

-          Copies of previous 4 years tax returns (tax transcripts can be ordered from the IRS if you do not have these)

-          Copies of credit reports from all three agencies

-          Recent bills/statements from creditors

-          Recent bank statements (recommend having at least six months available)

-          Certificate of approved credit counseling course provider

-          Completed bankruptcy questionnaire provided by the attorney

-          Copies of insurance declarations page – home and auto

-          Copies of title to all vehicles, jet skis, trailers, or boats that are in your name

-          Proof of any other income

-          List of creditors

Due to the volume of information debtors need to provide to file for bankruptcy, it is recommended that you create a file to store this information if bankruptcy is a possibility in the future. Having most or all of these documents will help facilitate the bankruptcy process.


All of the necessary bankruptcy forms are available on the US Courts website (http://www.uscourts.gov/FormsAndFees/Forms/BankruptcyForms.aspx). The following is a checklist of all the necessary forms for a chapter 7 petition.

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