What steps should I take before filing for bankruptcy protection?
This is an excellent question, and there are many different answers. Here, I—Attorney Carmen Dellutri—will describe the top five things you should do when you are considering filing for bankruptcy protection.
- Find the Best Bankruptcy Attorney you can. Please note that I did not say the cheapest. Also, do not pick one because he or she is the oldest and advertises that they have 40 years of experience. These are not good indicators of the best bankruptcy attorney in town. Do not just pick the attorney who your friend used two or three years ago. Make sure you go on the Internet and do your research. If you want, I will gladly send you a free book titled: How to Find, Interview, and Hire the Best Bankruptcy Attorney. This book breaks down all the steps that you need to take to find the best bankruptcy attorney in town. Once you find the best bankruptcy attorney in town, you will then set up an interview either by phone, Zoom, or in person.
- You want to show up to that meeting fully prepared. You will want to have your paystubs for the last six months, and your spouses, if necessary, your tax returns for the last three years, a list of all your creditors, their mailing addresses, and account numbers, monthly statements, if possible, six months of your bank statements from all financial accounts just for a start.
- Make a list of all your assets. Start with real estate, move onto motor vehicles, boats, RVs, motorcycles and then work on household goods and furnishings, musical instruments, jewelry, and clothing.
- Make a list of all your monthly expenses, starting with mortgage or rent (HOA), electric, insurance, utilities, Internet, cell phone, clothing, cleaning supplies, pet care, gas, car maintenance. I suggest going back one (1) year in your checkbook to see where your money goes.
- Make a list of questions to ask the attorney. If you are concerned about losing your home, ask the attorney. If you are concerned about losing your car, ask the attorney. If you are concerned about the cost, ask the attorney. If you are concerned about how long the bankruptcy process will take, ask an attorney. If you are concerned about which chapter under the bankruptcy code to file, ask the attorney. Listen to what the attorney has to say, and if you feel comfortable with this attorney, ask for a copy of the fee agreement. Before you sign the agreement, read it, and ask questions. If you are comfortable signing the agreement, go ahead and sign it and get started. If you are not comfortable with the attorney after the interview or after reading the agreement, thank him or her, and set up another appointment.
At The Dellutri Law Group, a portion of our practice involves helping consumer debtors through the bankruptcy process. We offer a complimentary strategy session for anyone who is thinking about going through the Bankruptcy process. We are very thorough in our analysis, and we will tell you whether filing a consumer bankruptcy case is a good idea for you. Many people are shocked to learn that Bankruptcy would be their worst option. But we will leave you with a game plan going forward so that you can make the best possible financial decision for you and your family.
If you are interested in filing for bankruptcy in Florida, call (800) 391-4337 or fill out online contact form today to schedule an initial consultation! We have offices in Fort Myers, Naples, Orlando, Port Charlotte, and Tampa.