Preparing to meet with a RI Bankruptcy Attorney
WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT FROM YOUR INITIAL CONSULTATION
In order to make the most of your initial consultation, you need to bring:
- Your most recent statement from all of your bills (one per bill) and the most recent collection letter that you have from each bill (one per creditor account)
- Vehicle, mortgage an d other installment payment books/statements (even if you want to retain the collateral)
- Pleadings from any lawsuits or proceedings against you
- Utility bills only if you have an arrearage
- Your last two years tax returns. If you don’t need to file taxes, plan to get a letter from the IRS indicating that you do not file.
- 6 months’ pay stubs.
- Spouse’s income (even if he or she does not intend to file with you)
- Award letters for any other income (unemployment, retirement, social security) and a list of any other income not otherwise covered
- Two months’ bank statements and a list of all 401ks, 403bs, stocks, bonds, pensions/IRAs, profit sharing plans, mutual funds, bank statements, any life insurance policies that you have, trusts which you are a beneficiary of, assets held in trust for you, inheritances due you and civil claims that you may have against others (ex: auto accidents). Also bring supporting documentation of these as well.
It is often best to bring your spouse/significant other even if a joint petition is not desired. This will help facilitate the answering of everyone’s questions and often put us in the best position to fully respond to questions the attorney will ask (ex: the expense schedule for the household).
It is your obligation to include all of your creditors (even family and friends who you can not prefer over other creditors) on your Bankruptcy Petition. If you do not have all information on a creditor, contact them to get it (name, address, account number, approximate balance, type of account, date account was opened). This same information is necessary when paying off an account balance so you may find that telling them that you are contemplating sending them a lump sum payment may make them more cooperative in supplying you with the information that you need. You also are entitled to one of each of the three major credit bureaus per year free of charge. Try (877) 322-8228 or www.annualcreditreport.com to get a report to bring to the consult.
You Will Need to Know
- Approximate dates accounts were opened.
- Amounts owed to creditors, their addresses, account numbers, and type of accounts held.
- Prior addresses (2 years).
- Average monthly household expenses (in detail).
- Year make model of cars or descriptive details of any other property of note.
- Approximate value of all assets.
- Contact information for joint debtors or anyone with a common or mingled interest in any asset (possessory, split legal/equitable title, or otherwise).
- Amounts of payments to secured creditors and values of collateral.
- Information (who/what/where/when) closed bank accounts or deposit boxes as well as any assets transferred, sold, pawned, or donated. The look back on gifts can be up to 4 years.
What paperwork will I have to fill out?
Our experienced attorneys will often spend the time to fill out the question/information package which constitutes the pre-draft of the Bankruptcy Petition with you as part of our retention. Most law firms do not spend the time to do this with their client base. The only additional paperwork that you will need to fill are the client information sheet (basic contact information and part of every intake) and a retainer agreement.
Payment of the Retainer and Filing Fee
We accept debit cards linked to an active bank account as well as cash and checks. You can also (often) pay the retainer in installments. If you choose this option, be advised that will do an amount of work on the Petition commensurate with the fraction of the retainer which has been paid. We will not file the Petition until fully retained with few exceptions (Ch 13). You may also be gifted the retainer by a friend or relative who may pay by cash, check, or debit/credit card on your behalf.
What happens next?
Once our office is in possession of all the information required we will finalize the final version of the Bankruptcy Petition and ready it for filing. Your attorney, as part of this process, will contact you to schedule an appointment to execute the Petition. These appointments last under 10 minutes as a rule. During this appointment, the attorney will inform you regarding what to expect at your 341 or creditors’ meeting. Once the Petition is filed, you will be sent correspondence by our support staff indicating your Petition number (official Notice of Commencement) and generally advising you of when and where the creditors’ meeting will be held.
Once you have received your discharge, you will be invited back to our office for an optional appointment for any follow-up questions that you may have. Clients often take advantage of this session to learn the steps generally advised to best start top reestablish credit.