What you should and should not do in bankruptcy.
The legal right to get a fresh start under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code comes with responsibilities. Even if you’re not sure that bankruptcy is right for you, try to keep the following ideas in mind as you deal with your debt problems. Following these do’s and don’ts will protect your future ability to take full advantage of your rights under bankruptcy law.
For detailed advice about your situation and options, there’s no substitute for talking to an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Contact us at Woodruff Law offices in Marietta to schedule a free consumer bankruptcy consultation.
Important things to DO while considering filing for bankruptcy
- Stay current on your home mortgage or car loan payments, unless you are willing to give those assets up to the creditor.
- Contact a lawyer before you make any major financial decision or commitment.
- Sell assets for fair market value rather than deep discounts if you need to raise cash.
- Make sure that you list all of your debts and that this list is accurate; you cannot discharge a debt that isn’t listed on your bankruptcy schedules.
- Be honest with your bankruptcy lawyer about your income and assets; otherwise, you could jeopardize your discharge or even be indicted for bankruptcy fraud.
- Find out the fair market value of your home and vehicle. If you own a home or car, it’s a good idea to know how much these assets are worth. If you have more than one mortgage on your home, we may be able to assist you in removing the second (or any subsequent lien) through bankruptcy.
- Have an inventory of what you own. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your nonexempt assets can be sold or liquidated to pay your creditors. Therefore, before you file for bankruptcy it is a good idea to understand the nature and value of your assets in order to determine whether or not these assets are subject to liquidation in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Important things to NOT DO when considering filing for bankruptcy
- Avoid using your credit cards for six months prior to filing for bankruptcy, especially cash advances because you might have to pay back an otherwise dischargeable debt.
- Don’t pay more than $600 on debts owed to creditors, family members, or friends.
- Don’t borrow from your 401(k) account to pay bills.
- Don’t pay down any unsecured debt within 90 days of your expected filing date.
- Don’t make more than one payment at a time on any debt if you’re leaving other bills unpaid.
- Don’t shelter your assets by transferring assets to others for less than fair market value.