WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE AND DURING YOUR BANKRUPTCY CASE
DO remember you are not alone. Over a million bankruptcy cases were filed in the last 12 months. Those debtors like you are not trying to "work the system" – they, just like you, want to breathe again and enjoy the day, instead of worrying about debt and creditor calls. The bankruptcy attorneys at Walden & Pfannenstiel will be with you every step of the way.
DO be entirely honest with your bankruptcy attorney. They can only represent you effectively (and ethically) if they know all of the facts. Bankruptcy cases are filed in Federal court. Penalties for fraud can include a denial of discharge, criminal sanctions, and the loss of the right to claim exemptions. This is not to scare honest debtors from filing bankruptcy. Honesty and cooperation with the Trustee will avoid claims of fraud in your bankruptcy case.
DO list all of your creditors in your schedules, even those which you intend to pay back (such as friends/family) and those you must pay (such as taxes or child support).
DO complete the Bankruptcy Client Worksheet to the best of your ability. Your bankruptcy attorney is charging you a reasonable, flat fee based on the assumption that you will provide them with all of the financial information needed and that they will not have to ask for it.
DO continue making your regular monthly payments on your mortgage, car loan, etc. (assuming you wish to keep the collateral). Be aware that some secured creditors, (especially car lenders), might stop sending you a monthly statement; this does not excuse you from remembering to timely make the monthly payment.
DO adjust your tax withholdings. Tax refunds are part of the Bankruptcy Estate and can be requested by the Trustee if the refund is received before filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is still in your possession at the time of filing. Refunds can also be lost if received after filing. Tax refunds can be requested by the Trustee during the course of the repayment plan in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Do not adjust to the point of owing a large refund. Contact our bankruptcy lawyers on how to properly spend-down a tax refund before filing.
DO file your taxes. Current, accurate tax returns will need to be provided to the Trustee in your bankruptcy case.
DO call our office if a creditor continues to contact you after your bankruptcy case is filed.
DO ask questions until you feel comfortable that you understand the answers which your bankruptcy lawyer is providing you.