Tax Returns. The bankruptcy trustee must review the last two (2) tax returns filed. If you have lost your returns, complete IRS Form 4506. If you have not filed your tax returns, do so now. The bankruptcy case will automatically be dismissed if you fail to file any tax return due in the past four years.
Paycheck Stubs & Other Income Statements. Six months of paycheck stubs or some type of report provided by your employer showing wages for the past six months. Even though your most recent paystub tells us how much you have earned, bankruptcy attorneys must prepare a special report (called the “Means Test”) that shows your income for the past six months. Child support or Social Security or Retirement income statements are also necessary. In short, your attorney needs all documents proving your income. If you are self-employed, then provide a Profit & Loss Statement for the past 6 months.
Bank Statements. Six months of bank statements from every account you are on is required.
Credit Counseling Certificate. Before you can file bankruptcy you must obtain a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling certificate.
Bills, Lawsuits, Collection Letters, etc. Provide your attorney with copies of all your bills, collection letters, and lawsuits. In short, we need the name and address of every creditor. 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.
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 you are paying a Domestic Support Payment (i.e., child support or alimony). If your ex-spouse owes you money, that is an asset that must be reported on the bankruptcy schedules.
Retirement Accounts. Provide a recent statement showing the balances of your retirement accounts.
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.
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.
Home Appraisals & Tax Statements. Provide a copy of your most recent real estate tax assessment statement or home appraisal.