There is a lot of misinformation on the internet that makes filing for bankruptcy sound more stressful than it really is. If you are thinking about filing for personal bankruptcy, please call my office to schedule a no-hassle free consultation. I will advise you on the both the draw-backs and benefits of filing bankruptcy without pushing you in either direction. I will provide you the facts and educate you about the possible outcomes but leave it to you to decide whether to come back.
If you have valuable assets, you should discuss whether you will be able to retain all or some of your valuables with an attorney. Most of my clients keep all of their assets. Some may lose a portion of their next tax refund. Do not make the mistake of transferring assets to friends or family in order to protect them from the bankruptcy trustee. There may be ways to protect your assets through pre-bankruptcy exemption planning. If you have retirement accounts, especially 401(k)s, consult with an attorney before you cash out your retirement. Don’t make the mistake of cashing it out and leaving it in a bank account to cover expenses before filing. Most retirement accounts are protected unless you transfer the funds to an account. If you are expecting a tax refund, it is generally advisable to spend the refund prior to filing bankruptcy. If you are seeking to purchase a vehicle, you may want to wait until after you file to take out a loan for a vehicle. Purchasing a vehicle shortly before filing has its own implications. Consult with an attorney regarding how to proceed. There are many auto lenders who will work with individuals who have just filed bankruptcy. Many of these auto lenders offer dependable vehicles at fair interest rates and will reduce the interest rate over time.
If you decide to file bankruptcy, make sure to find an attorney you are comfortable working with and who offers a fair fee agreement for her services.
You should have a plan rebuild your credit before you file because you can start rebuilding credit within three months of filing. If you are behind on your student loans, you should make arrangements with your student loan provider to bring your loans in good status. One possible avenue is an income based repayment plan or temporary deferment. What you don’t want is to have any negative remarks on your credit report after you file bankruptcy. If you have an auto loan with a monthly payment that is more than 15% of your monthly income, you may consider surrendering the vehicle to the bankruptcy. The last thing you want is to have a repossession post filing.