With the changes to the bankruptcy code, came a whole new list of information needed to file bankruptcy. It is much easier to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy than Chapter 13 and that is why there is so much proof needed to file. To qualify to file Chapter 7 a person will have to prove their annual household income and make sure it is below the state’s median household income. This is one area where a bankruptcy attorney is a huge help.
A person filing bankruptcy will be required to come up with their last six months paycheck stubs or proof of income if they are self-employed. They will need a copy of the last two years of taxes and up to two years of bank records depending on the situation. That is the documentation they will need to prove that they qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
After qualifying to file Chapter 7, the individual will need to supply their bankruptcy attorney with an itemized list of all their property and the valuations. This list will include from living room furniture all the way down to the shoes in their closet. Although this sounds almost crazy, it could be itemized by groups. For example a person could list their clothes as valued at $500, kitchen appliances $1000 etc. The person needs to value their property based on the formula of replacement cost while taking into consideration the age and condition. Most of the time a bankruptcy attorney will tell the individual to give them swap meet prices. To be successful when filing for bankruptcy it’s best for the person to have the help of a bankruptcy attorney. The bankruptcy attorney will know the ins and outs of what’s expected to get a successful bankruptcy discharge.
After the changes to the bankruptcy code in 2005, it has now taken on a new complexity where most individuals should seek legal counsel to be successful when they file bankruptcy. It is still possible for an individual to file pro se, but it is not advised unless the person is willing to do a lot of research on the topic and fully prepare themselves. If someone has a minimal amount of property to protect, filing pro se in might be an option. For someone that has a large amount of unsecured debt and needs to use the bankruptcy exemption laws to the max, it’s best for that individual to hire a bankruptcy attorney. When considering the cost of hiring an attorney first is the amount of debt that is wiped out in the bankruptcy discharge, the cost is really quite minimal.