What to Expect From a Bankruptcy Consultation?

What to Expect from a Bankruptcy Consultation

The idea of meeting with a bankruptcy consultant to discuss personal bankruptcy makes a lot of people anxious or embarrassed. The very aspect of filing for bankruptcy can induce stress, anxiety, and feelings of shame in many people. Bankruptcy consultants and attorneys are aware that this is a sensitive and emotional period for their clients. They also know that most bankruptcies usually stem from uncontrollable circumstances such as losing a job, paying high medical expenses or suffering from an unaffordable mortgage.

A bankruptcy consultant is there to help their clients navigate these trying circumstances and devise a solution to help them overcome it all together. It’s important to learn how a bankruptcy consultation goes, its main objectives and how to prepare for one when you’re meeting with your bankruptcy consultant to ensure the process goes along smoothly.

What to Expect During a Bankruptcy Consultation?

A bankruptcy consultation serves to understand a client’s financial situation, determine whether declaring it is a viable option and begin developing a solution to resolve their financial issues. You can expect most initial bankruptcy consultations to last 30 minutes to an hour. During the consultation, you’ll be asked different questions about your income, financial assets and debt. Even if questions like these may seem extremely uncomfortable and personal, a consultant needs to inquire about this data to properly evaluate your situation and determine your options.

Information about your past and present financial situation will help the consultant determine whether bankruptcy is an option for you. If it is, they will then explain the process of bankruptcy and the chapter of bankruptcy that’s the best choice for your specific situation. Lastly, the consultant will outline the stages of filing for bankruptcy and give you an idea of how much filing will cost. Seeing a consultant will help you envision a proper plan that will likely help you calm your anxiety and take a step toward solving your situation.

How to Prepare for a Bankruptcy Consultation?

Filing for bankruptcy is a daunting notion, and approaching a bankruptcy consultant or attorney to discuss it is even more so. You want your financial situation to become as stable as soon as possible, which requires your consultation to progress successfully. To prepare for a consultation, it’s always a smart thing to write down any questions or concerns you might have regarding the bankruptcy process, your financial situation, etc.

Try to be as accurate with your information as possible during an initial bankruptcy consultation, since your consultant’s appraisal of your situation and options depend on it. It’s important to mentally prepare yourself for all possible outcomes during your initial consultation. Even if you consider your situation to be bleak, remember that you’re taking a step toward overcoming it.

What Documents Should You Bring to a Consultation?

Your bankruptcy consultant requires some important information to assess and determine the best option for you. Already having a general idea of what to bring to your initial consultation can help your consultant evaluate your situation better, even at the first meeting. To get the ball rolling more quickly, here are some important financial records to bring to your initial bankruptcy consultation:

  • W-2 or 1099 salary slips
  • Social Security statement
  • Profit/loss statements from the last six months
  • The last three bank statements
  • Loan agreements and invoices
  • Tax returns from the last two years
  • Latest mortgage statement
  • Creditor notices and letters regarding any lawsuits
  • Foreclosure notice
  • Debt payment receipts

If you think a specific document might help your consultation, consider bringing it along just in case.

What Should You Discuss in Your Bankruptcy Consultation?

A bankruptcy consultant works with you to identify the best course of action for your financial issues and to assist you in escaping mounting debt. Similar to how they will be asking questions about your situation to understand it better, you should also have a list of things to discuss with them so that all parties are on the same page. The following is a list of questions you should consider asking your bankruptcy consultant to better understand your situation and how they will aid in solving it:

  • Is filing for bankruptcy my best option?
  • Should I file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?
  • What has your experience been so far as a bankruptcy consultant?
  • What other things are included in the total costs for filing for bankruptcy?
  • How long will my bankruptcy procedure take?
  • What will happen after I’m through with my bankruptcy?

Since you’re considering bankruptcy, you might also have some pressing notices, procedures or ongoing concerns. It’s extremely important to notify your consultant about them during your initial meeting. These may include:

  • Any domestic support that you’re required to pay, including alimony and child support
  • Any ongoing legal processes on your end
  • Qualification factors and potential problems that you consider might prevent your case from progressing
  • Any additional assets such as property, vehicles, retirement funds and insurance policies

What are the Goals for a Successful Bankruptcy Consultant?

You should know that every bankruptcy case is different. Your situation will determine the best financial option for you. Once you’ve provided the general information about your financial situation required by your consultant, the next step will be to discuss the various possibilities accessible to you. After your initial consultation, your consultant will work with you to map out a way to solve the most pressing issues. Here are the main goals that are often the main focus of a bankruptcy consultation:

  • Identifying whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • Determining the best strategy to protect your present assets as you work your way to become debt-free
  • Examining the possible expenses of declaring bankruptcy
  • Setting the duration of the required payback period
  • Specifying the steps you must take to file for bankruptcy

Making the Most of Your Bankruptcy Consultation

Feeling overwhelmed by the bankruptcy procedure is quite normal during a consultation. However, you will feel a lot better as you get a systematic set of guidelines to follow to make the filing procedure go smoothly and quickly. By following the set steps diligently, you increase your chances of getting a fresh start and escaping the crushing debt following you.

After completing the bankruptcy process, you can focus on improving your credit score and make up for the losses next. It’s vital that you consult an expert bankruptcy consultant or attorney instead of tackling this critical process on your own. A professional bankruptcy consultant can help you protect your assets as you pay off your debts and lay the groundwork for future financial success.

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