Do’s and Don’ts of Bankruptcy    

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Bankruptcy may be an option if you have difficulty paying your bills. Here’s a list of what you need to do and not do in order to avoid making common mistakes and maximize your legal benefits if you decide to file for bankruptcy.

The Do’s

  • Get competent legal advice. Filing for bankruptcy is a significant personal decision. The bankruptcy laws are complex, and it is almost impossible to fully understand them without speaking to an experienced bankruptcy attorney. It is important to get the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you take any financial steps.
  • Your attorney will need to get to know you and your financial situation during your initial consultation at Bruner Wright P.A. These questions must be answered honestly and completely by you in order for your attorney to represent you effectively and give the best advice possible.
  • Provide all documents requested by your attorney. We will give you a list of all the documents that are required. Although collecting all the documents can take time, it is important that we have every item on that list.
  • Be honest with your bankruptcy petition. Before you sign the petition, please read it carefully. By signing your bankruptcy petition, you are declaring that the information contained in it is correct and true. You are signing the petition under penalty of perjury.
  • Fill out your Federal Income Tax Return. These documents will be required by our Florida bankruptcy lawyers to represent you effectively. These documents will be requested by the bankruptcy trustee. You could lose your discharge if you fail to give copies of your tax returns.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t worry! Millions of Americans have filed for bankruptcy protection. If you cannot pay your debts, it is not considered a crime. It is not an indicator of failure. By filing bankruptcy, you can seek relief from debt collectors, wage garnishments, and foreclosures!
  • Avoid accumulating debts before you file for bankruptcy. The court could deny your bankruptcy or refuse to discharge the debts.
  • If you aren’t fully informed about all legal issues, don’t hire a non-attorney bankruptcy preparer. Non-attorney “bankruptcy preparers” can’t give legal advice. Also, they can’t analyze your situation. Sometimes, unmeritorious petitions can be filed that are eventually dismissed. This could result in you losing important legal rights.
  • Do not try to conceal cars, homes or other assets from bankruptcy by transferring them to family members or friends. This could be considered bankruptcy fraud. Because of this you may be dismissed by the court or denied discharge.
  • Do not borrow from your retirement account or home equity line to pay your credit card debts. This could lead to unnecessary tax bills or even the loss of your home.
  • Understand the consequences before you file bankruptcy. While a “skeleton petition”, which can be used to stop foreclosure on your home, it can also affect important legal rights. Although bankruptcy can help you get debt relief and a fresh start in your life, it is important to understand your legal rights before you file bankruptcy.

This post was written by Trey Wright, a lawyer with extensive experience as a bankruptcy lawyer in Pensacola! Trey is one of the founding partners of Bruner Wright, P.A. Attorneys at Law, which specializes in areas related to bankruptcy law, estate planning, and business litigation. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the ABA and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.