When considering a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may wonder what information you need to provide to get a Chapter 7 filed. Maybe you haven’t kept good files or records of your finances. You might imagine that the required paperwork could be too much for you to handle. The surprising fact is that the Chapter 7 requirements you need to provide are actually quite simple. It shouldn’t be too overwhelming for you to get together in short notice. A lot of it can be right of the top of your head! Let’s take a closer look at what you need and how you can get it.
1. A list of all creditors and the amount and nature of their claims
If you have a lot of debt to many different parties, this list of creditors can seem like a huge task to get together. Not only do you have to provide every single creditor, you also need the amount and the nature of the claim (which means to describe the type of debt). Do you have time to think of every single account that you’ve had and write them all down? Do you have all the account numbers and specific amounts of debt? It’s not likely that anyone, whether they need to file a bankruptcy or not, would have all this information ready to go. It’s a good thing that all of this is kept in a very detailed record for you in your credit report! The credit report can provide all of this information all in one document. Your attorney can use the credit report to fill out your bankruptcy petition. Of course, you may need to add any other personal debts that might not appear on your report like the money you borrowed from your grandparents! You can always inform your attorney of any other creditors that don’t appear on your credit report to add to your petition, but most of your credit history will capture all the most significant debts.
2. The source, amount, and frequency of the debtor’s income
How much do you get paid every month? How often do you get paid? If you are unemployed, these income questions are simple. The answers will be zero and never! But some people have very complicated employment situations where income is variable depending on commissions or overtime hours. It may not be a consistent number each month and you may not be getting paid consistently on the same date each month either. Good thing your employer provides you with pay stubs and W2 forms. Pay stubs and W2s can be provided to your attorney and law firm to translate and process into data for your bankruptcy petition. Your pay can be averaged our by the total income amount on your pay stub to get an average number. If you don’t have these documents, you can easily request them from your employer.
3. A list of all of the debtor’s property
Pretty simple… Your car, your house, your bank accounts. You will most likely go through an exercise with your bankruptcy attorney to figure out the details of your assets and property, but the bankruptcy court is only interested in things that might have a significant value. A lot of what you own can be exempted so that you won’t have your property sold by the bankruptcy trustee. It is important for you to review all of your assets with the bankruptcy attorney to be clear on what can be exempted or not.
4. A detailed list of the debtor’s monthly living expenses, i.e., food, clothing, shelter, utilities, taxes, transportation, medicine, etc.
Let us know what you spend money on. These expenses are just going to be rough estimates of monthly bills. You don’t need to pull up a history of all your bills, but you will need to try to be as accurate as you can so that you can provide the court with a clear picture of your hardship.
And that’s about all the Chapter 7 requirements in a nutshell. So, don’t be nervous about your mess of financial records or lack of any financial records! It’s not that hard to do.