5 Ways to Make Your Bankruptcy Smoooooth….

by John Skiba

The financial situations that lead up to bankruptcy are usually pretty stressful.  Collection calls, law suits, wage garnishments, all bring uncertainty and strain most people to the breaking point. The bankruptcy process doesn’t have to follow this same path.  In fact, what I tell most clients is if we (notice I said we) do a good job in preparing your bankruptcy, the actual process usually goes pretty smoothly.  Here are 5 things you can do to make sure your bankruptcy is smooth and successful:

1.     Be Detail Oriented

This one can be tough.  The typical chapter 7 bankruptcy filing consists of about 45-60 pages of documents.  These documents are full of information about your income, assets, expenses, debts, and financial transactions.  The amount of detail that is required is extensive.  This is where a problem can arise.  Many people who are dealing with big-time debt problems simply become overwhelmed.  They try to keep up with everything for a while, but eventually it gets to the point where collection letters aren’t even opened anymore and they have no idea who is actually trying to collect from them and how much.

We can overcome this, but you are going to need to provide as much detail as possible to your bankruptcy lawyer.  If you lawyer asks you to provide dates or dollar amounts, do your best to provide the actual date and the precise dollar amounts.  If you recently sold your boat for $3,200, don’t tell your lawyer that you sold it for about “three grand”.  The more detailed you are in the beginning, the less likely you will have problems down the road.

2.     Disclose Everything – No…Seriously, EVERYTHING

Fear and trust.  These are the two reasons, in my opinion, that people don’t disclose assets.  They have a fear of losing the asset during the bankruptcy and/or they don’t have trust in their attorney to do what is necessary to protect their stuff.

First, you must know that it is a felony to conceal an asset in a bankruptcy.  And when I say felony I am not talking about the FBI Warning-at-the-beginning-of-a-DVD felony, I am talking about the type of felony where people really go to jail and pay huge fines.

Second, in almost all situations if I know about an asset prior to the filing of a bankruptcy we can either protect it through local exemption laws or we can plan for you to buy it back from your bankruptcy estate.  However, if I learn about it for the first time after your case is filed my hands will likely be tied at that point and there is a good chance you will lose the asset and possibly face other sanctions.

When it doubt disclose.  Tell your attorney EVERYTHING.  This is no time for secrets.

3.     Respond to Requests from Your Lawyer, Your Bankruptcy Trustee, and Your Judge

Even though you are hiring a bankruptcy lawyer to help you through this process, you need to be aware that your active participation is mandatory.  You are going to be required to provide your lawyer with documents and information to assist them in completing your bankruptcy petition and schedules.

Likewise, once your bankruptcy case is filed you will be assigned a bankruptcy trustee who will administer your case.  Your trustee will also ask for things like pay stubs,  bank statements, and tax returns.  If you don’t comply with these requests your case will at a minimum be delayed and possibly even dismissed.

Basic rule – help me to help you.

4.     Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

There are times when me must do what are called “emergency” bankruptcy cases.  The typical emergency occurs when there is a foreclosure sale set on your home or your wages are now getting  garnished and you need it all to stop – now.  But if truth be told, pretty much all emergency bankruptcies could be avoided with some planning.  If you are facing foreclosure on your home or if you have been sued reach out to a bankruptcy lawyer and find out what your options are.  That way if you need to file quickly you will already have the background information and have gathered the necessary documents to get your bankruptcy filed.

The problem with emergency bankruptcy cases is your attorney won’t be able evaluate all issues prior to filing your case.  And once the case is filed, the attorney’s hands may be  tied.

5.     Breathe.

The financial and life situations that lead to a bankruptcy are stressful.  You have dealt with the collection calls, the snotty letters, the lawsuits, wage garnishments, sleepless nights, and everything else that comes with overwhelming debt.  Filing bankruptcy will provide you some shelter from this collection storm you have been going through.  Soon after your case is filed you will notice something you have experienced in a while.  Silence.  The phone will stop ringing and you will have an opportunity to catch your breath.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy typically only lasts about 4 to 5 months.  Take this time to regroup and move forward.

Work with your bankruptcy lawyer closely and your bankruptcy will proceed smoothly and truly give you the fresh start you seeking.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© John Skiba, Arizona Consumer Law Group, PLC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

John Skiba

Arizona Consumer Law Group, PLC on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.