Filing for bankruptcy no longer has a negative stigma
Baltimore, MD (Vocus) October 4, 2010
The latest national data shows this year's bankruptcy filings as of August at more than 1 million -- up 8 percent from the same period in 2009, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research and information organization.
During this recession, the housing crisis and high unemployment rate have prompted more people to file for bankruptcy who may never have considered the option before. Filings from 2008 showed more people with high income and high education levels resorting to bankruptcy petitions, according to an annual survey of consumer-bankruptcy filers' demographics by the Institute for Financial Literacy, a nonprofit that provides bankruptcy-related counseling and education services. Those demographic trends appear to continue.
“Filing for bankruptcy no longer has a negative stigma,” said Joe Cosentini of Persels & Associates, a national law firm that handles personal bankruptcies. “We understand the needs and circumstances of those who are unfortunately in debt. We are here to tell you that you are not alone- the recent and ongoing economic crisis has left many individuals in debt.”
With the number of people filing bankruptcy rising, what financial records do consumers need to have before they file bankruptcy?
Crucial Steps to Take Before Filing for Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy is a complex procedure and consumers need to contact a bankruptcy attorney to help them with the process. The attorney will need to know great detail about a consumer’s finances: recent income, debts, and the things the consumer owns or is buying, among other things. When thinking about bankruptcy consumers should begin to gather paperwork that will assist the attorney in effectively analyzing the situation.
The following is a list of things consumers should have before speaking with an attorney:
All financial records. This includes copies of the following: Six months of bank statements for all bank accounts
Six months of paystubs
Latest statements/records of all assets, including 401(k)/retirement statements, etc.
Most recent bills from every creditor
Most recent payment coupons for vehicles (lease or purchase), real estate, and student loans
Bills, invoices or receipts for purchases in the last year
Files from previous litigation, including especially any judgments that have been entered against you
Files from previous attorneys
Any divorce decree or other court order that requires you to pay child support or maintenance
Any other divorce or court decree entered in the last 24 months
Canceled Checks for any expense you cannot otherwise document
ALL a consumer’s correspondence with or regarding creditors, especially threat letter
ALL insurance policies
Tax returns for the last four years
A consumer’s lease or mortgage
Any promissory notes you have signed
Other documents relating to debts you owe other people
Any proof that anyone owes you money
Any lawsuits with which you have been served
A copy of a consumer’s driver’s license
If a consumer is in financial trouble the best thing to do us assess the situation honestly, forget embarrassment, and talk to a lawyer or credit counselor sooner rather than later. Consumers should turn to experts to get advice on options and, if bankruptcy is the right one, these experts can help with a strategy to maximize what to keep and minimize what to lose.
Some consumers worry that bankruptcy is the end of their financial dreams, but done correctly it might just turn out to be a new beginning.
About Persels & Associates
Persels & Associates, LLC, and its entities are pioneers in the field of offering "unbundled" legal services to individuals who cannot afford traditional legal services. As Americans credit debt rose, Persels & Associates bridged the "gap" between consumers and their debtors. Today, Persels & Associates employs 25 central office staff attorneys and over 160 additional attorneys in the 48 states while representing over 50,000 clients nationwide. For more information, please visit http://www.perselsandassociates.com.