Be Honest. I can only represent you effectively (and ethically) if I knows all of the facts.
Ask questions until you feel comfortable that you understand the answers which your bankruptcy lawyer is providing you.
No Scams. Penalties for fraud can include a denial of discharge, criminal sanctions, and the loss of the right to claim exemptions. Honesty and cooperation with the Trustee will avoid claims of fraud in your bankruptcy case.
Answer all questions to the best of your ability. I will charging you a reasonable, fee based on the assumption that you will provide me with all the accurate financial information needed and that I will not have to ask for it.
Contact me regarding acceptable tax refund policies. Tax refunds are part of the Bankruptcy Estate and can be requested by the Trustee if the refund is received before filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is still in your possession at the time of filing. Refunds can also be lost if received after filing.
Name all of your creditors. We will pull a credit report, but some of your creditors will not be on your report. You will need to name all creditors in your schedules, even those which you intend to pay back (such as friends/family) and those you must pay (such as taxes or child support).
File your tax return as usual. Current, accurate tax returns will need to be provided to the Trustee in your bankruptcy case.
Call my office if a creditor continues to contact you after your bankruptcy case is filed.
Continue making your regular monthly payments on your mortgage, car loan, etc.(assuming you wish to keep the secured collateral item). Some secured creditors (especially car lenders) might stop sending you a monthly statement; this does not excuse you from remembering to timely make the monthly payment.
NEVER ignore requests for documents from the Trustee appointed to your bankruptcy case; he can have your discharge denied for lack of cooperation.
DON’T incur any debt in anticipation of filing for bankruptcy.
Stop using your credit cards. When planning to file for bankruptcy remember credit card purchases exceeding $500 within 90 days of filing may result in a non-dischargeable debt.
STOP paying your dischargeable, unsecured debts (such as credit cards) after you have decided you are filing bankruptcy, but before you file. You are just throwing money away. Learn to deal with the telephone calls… or refer the creditors to your bankruptcy lawyer.
No borrowing or withdrawing funds from retirement accounts such as 401k, IRAs, or other accounts to pay-off debt until you speak with a bankruptcy lawyer to determine if bankruptcy is necessary.
DON’T refinance your home, take out a home equity loan, or reverse mortgage until you speak with a bankruptcy attorney to determine if bankruptcy will still be necessary.
No cash advances from any source. Cash advances exceeding $750 within 70 days of filing a bankruptcy case may result in a non-dischargeable debt.
DON’T sell, transfer, or give away any of your property prior to or during your bankruptcy.
NO large payments immediately before filing your bankruptcy. Any payment over $600 to a relative or business associate within a year before filing your bankruptcy case can create a preference. A payment over $600 to an unsecured creditor within 90 days before filing your bankruptcy case can create a preference.