Ready, Set . . . File for Bankruptcy?
New clients frequently ask, “How soon can I file my bankruptcy?” Practically speaking, it is possible to file a bankruptcy case very quickly. But unless there is a real emergency, such as an upcoming foreclosure sale, it usually makes sense to take a more deliberate approach. I utilize a three-step approach to the preparation and filing of a bankruptcy case.
I typically meet with my clients at least three times before the bankruptcy case is filed. While this may seem like a significant time commitment, these meetings provide valuable opportunities to get to know each client’s case. As a result, I am able to build strong relationships with my clients, provide personalized legal advice, and identify issues to resolve at the outset of the bankruptcy case.
The Starting Line: Let’s Talk
The starting line, so to speak, is the initial consultation. I utilize the initial consultation to meet each client face-to-face and learn about the client’s financial situation. After discussion and evaluation, I will recommend a plan of action which might include the preparation and filing of a bankruptcy case.
Even though I may recommend a certain course of action, there is rarely a situation where there is only one option. Therefore, I do my best at the initial consultation to compare and contrast the various options my clients have. This advice helps each client make an educated decision regarding how to proceed with their case.
The Mid-Stretch: Get Down to Details
If the client wishes to file a bankruptcy case, the second meeting will primarily be for review of documents and information requested at the initial consultation. These documents include information on the client’s debts, assets, and financial history. Some of these documents include tax returns, pay stubs, vehicle titles, mortgage documents, credit reports, lawsuits, and financial account statements.
Using these documents, a draft of the bankruptcy case is created.
The Finish Line: Review and File
The third meeting is for final review and signing of the bankruptcy case. At this appointment, the case is reviewed from beginning to end. After a complete review, the bankruptcy case is ready to be filed.