Clients are normally nervous when they are going to see an attorney, even us, as friendly as we are at Steidl & Steinberg. We will make you feel very comfortable when you come in and you will most likely wonder why you were so nervous. But all clients wonder: what kind of information do we need in discussing a bankruptcy with an attorney?
What if I don’t bring enough information in with me? What if I bring the wrong stuff? Normally one of the attorneys will have spoken with you before the bankruptcy consultation and will let you know what you need to bring. In most cases it is modest:
1. Who You Owe Money To
Your attorney would like to know who you owe money to, and how much money you owe to each creditor. The bills generally are not necessary and list of all you owe is good. Sometimes you can get help by looking at your credit report, available for free, at annualcreditreport.com.
2. Your Monthly Household Income
We would like to know how much money is coming into your household every month. If you are working, a typical pay stub works. If you are on Social Security or private disability, we need to know. If you have rental income, tell us. If your spouse is not to be part of this action but still lives in the household, we need to know that also. Is your income projected to go up or down? If you know, that would be helpful.
3. What you own
In the larger sense, of course. One house? Rental properties? Cars, motorcycles, or boats? Anything else of value, like antiques? If you don’t know if an asset is valuable, let us know about it anyway.
4. Your Monthly Expenses
No, you don’t have to bring on a list of your utility bills, insurances, food costs, pet expenses, clothing allocations, or the like, but be familiar with it so we can make some projections.
That pretty much it, in most cases. Your reward for doing this small amount of homework is that we will be prepared to give you better answers to your questions and more accurate projections on what actions it will take to get you out of the mess you are in.