Here’s a list of the documents you will likely need to assemble before–or soon after–meeting with a reputable bankruptcy attorney.
In an ideal world you’ll meet with your attorney with all (or most) of these documents assembled and ready for her to peruse. But don’t panic if you’re not quite there. Your attorney will work with you and wait for you to get these documents together.
Some attorneys will charge you fees to assemble your documents, some don’t, sometimes it depends on how disorganized your records are (you should ask). If you’re facing foreclosure, tell your attorney, so he or she knows that it might be time to cut to the chase and file an emergency petition on your behalf.
If you have primarily consumer debt:
For husband and wife, even if only one person files bankruptcy:
Copies of your paycheck stubs covering all dates of employment within the last six completed months. (Example, if planning to file bankruptcy in March, documentation would be needed for September 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009.)
If unemployed, documentation (stubs) must be provided for all unemployment assistance received within the last six completed months.
If self-employed and not on payroll, copies of all personal bank statements must be provided for the last six completed months with draws from employment highlighted.
A list of all creditors, including addresses, account / loan numbers, date debt incurred and the amounts and description of each debt; Please note if each creditor is business, business but personally guaranteed, or personal. (This information will likely be captured by the questionnaire your attorney provides you prior to in-person consultation.)
A detailed list of the your monthly living expenses, i.e., food, clothing, housing, utilities, taxes, transportation, medicine, etc. (This information will likely be captured by the questionnaire your attorney provides you prior to in-person consultation.)
Copies (front and back, all statement pages) of last 3 months of credit card statements.
For each secured debt, such as a car loan or home mortgage, copy of the latest statement showing the balance due on the debt.
A copy of a recent appraisal for your home. Zillow.com is a good place to start. You can also use the property tax assessment, and if you know if recent sales of comparable houses near you, you should also provide those numbers.
For vehicles: Copy of unexpired DMV registration
For vehicles: Copy of Kelley Blue Book value using “Trade-In” value.
Income tax returns for the last two years: Personal and Corporate: including W-2, 1099, and K-1 information, and also 1120/1120S and 941 (Quarterly payroll taxes)
Copies of last six months of bank statements (for all personal accounts)
Copies of your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You should obtain free credit reports using https://www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Please type this URL carefully and watch out for the up-sell of your credit score or credit monitoring. You will NOT need your credit score to file bankruptcy and this may not be the time to add onto your monthly expenses with credit monitoring.
If you have a business you will also need to provide:
Copies of Income and Expense Balance Sheet (Profit and Loss statements) for past 1 year – broken down into monthly statements.
Cash Receipts and Disbursements Journal for past 1 year
Accounts Receivable with all associated documents (if applicable)
Copies of last two inventories with date of inventory and name of person who took inventory (if applicable).