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What to do before filing for bankruptcy

For Florida residents who cannot repay their debts, bankruptcy can be a way to get a financial fresh start. One of the first things they should do is to make sure that they have explored all of their other options such as credit counseling and debt consolidation.

After they have determined that filing for bankruptcy is a viable option, they should look at what type. Most individuals choose either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will allow a debtor to discharge most unsecured debt, but it requires a liquidation of non-exempt assets. Chapter 13 is a type of restructuring where obligations are repaid over a period of three to five years pursuant to a court-approved plan. There are different eligibility requirements for each chapter.

When preparing to file under either chapter, people will need to compile a list of all of their property and a list of all debts. Usually, a list of debts can be obtained by requesting a credit report. It is important to be completely accurate when listing assets and obligations in a bankruptcy, because any inaccuracies could subject the debtor to severe sanctions.

People who are thinking about applying for this form of debt relief may want to have the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney. Bankruptcy laws can be complex and change often, and the eligibility and other requirements are subject to change as well. An attorney who has represented many clients during this process can be an asset in terms of compliance with filing deadlines and other bankruptcy court requirements.

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