1. Tax Returns.     2 years of tax returns.  If you have lost your returns, complete IRS form 4506.  You can obtain that form on the IRS webiste at www.IRS.gov.  If you have not prepared your tax returns, do so now.  The bankruptcy case will automatically be dismissed if you fail to file the returns within 30 days after filing bankruptcy. 
  2. Paycheck Stubs & Other Income Statements.  Provide 6 months of pay stubs.  If you have thrown these away, obtain a payroll report from your employer.  Bankruptcy attorneys must provide proof of your past 6 months of earnings, and even though your most recent paystub tell us how much you have earned, it does not prove an average of the past 6 months.  Child support or Social Security or Retirement income statements are also necessary.  In short, your attorney needs all documents proving your income.
  3. Bank Statements.    Six months of bank statements from every account you are on is required.  You must identify the source of every deposit.  Write down the source of the deposit (paycheck, child support, Social Security, gift, etc) next to the deposit.
  4. Credit Counseling Certificate.  Before you can file bankruptcy you must obtain a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling certifiate.  The cost of these courses varries from $25 to $50.  You may take the course online.  A list of the approved credit counseling agencies may be found at http://www.justice.gov/ust. 
  5. Bills, Lawsuits, Collection Letters, etc.   Provide your attorney with copies of all your bills, collection letters, and lawsuits.  Write down the name and address of bills you are missing.  The basic power of bankruptcy is to Notify your creditors that you filed and that they can no longer contact you.  If the creditor is not notified the bankruptcy is ineffective.
  6. Divorce Decrees.  It is extremely important to provide your attorney with a copy of your divorce decree.  Special notice must be given to your ex-spouse if the decree is still “active.”  If child support is still being paid or if co-signed debts still exist or other divorce obligations are still active, notice to the ex-spouse is absolutely required. Also, if your ex-spouse owes you money, that is an asset which must be listed in the bankruptcy.
  7. Retirement Accounts.    Provide a recent statement showing the balances of your retirement accounts.
  8. Claims Against Others.  List all claims for injuries, worker’s compensation, auto accidents, etc.  Warning:  If you fail to list a claim you have against someone else on the bankruptcy schedules, you may forfeit the claim.  If you can sue someone for any reason, tell your bankruptcy attorney and list the claim on your list of property.
  9. Life Insurance.    If you have a life insurance policy that has a “cash surrender value” provide a statement of the surrender value.  Whole or Universal policies usually have a cash value.
  10. Home Appraisals & Tax Statements.  Provide a copy of your most recent real estate tax assessment statement or home appraisal.