If you are having difficulty paying your bills, bankruptcy may be a good solution for you. Carefully review the list below to avoid common mistakes, and get the maximum legal benefit, should you choose to file bankruptcy:
Do seek competent legal advice! Filing for bankruptcy is an important personal decision. But bankruptcy law so complex that it's almost impossible to understand all consequences of bankruptcy without talking to an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Before taking any financial steps, seek advice of experienced bankruptcy counsel.
Do be completely honest with your attorney. During your initial consultation at The Fuller Law Firm, PC. your attorney will ask you a series of questions to obtain an in-depth picture of your financial situation. You must answer these questions completely and honestly. We cannot represent you effectively if you are not completely honest with us.
Do provide your attorney with all the documents he requests. We will provide you with a list of necessary documents. Collecting all of these documents may take some time, but it's important that you provide us with every item on that list.
Do carefully read your bankruptcy petition. The Fuller Law Firm, PC. will provide you with a draft copy of your petition before your appointment to sign the document. Please carefully review the petition before coming in to sign it.
Do be completely honest on your bankruptcy petition. When you sign your bankruptcy petition, you are declaring that all the content in the petition is true and correct. Knowingly making false statements on your bankruptcy petition could result in your debts not being discharged, or, worse yet, result in criminal prosecution.
Do fill out your Federal and State income tax returns. We will need this information to effectively represent you. The bankruptcy trustee will also request to see these documents. Failure to provide copies of tax returns could mean that your debts won't get discharged.
Don't worry! Millions of Americans have filed for bankruptcy protection. Not being able to pay your debts is not a crime. It is not a sign of failure. You have a right to seek relief from bill collectors, wage garnishments, and foreclosures by filing bankruptcy!
Don't run up debts immediately before filing bankruptcy. Incurring debts prior to bankruptcy could result in those debts not being discharged. Worse yet, the court may deny your bankruptcy altogether!
Don't use a non-attorney "bankruptcy preparer" unless you have completely researched all relevant legal issues. The non-attorney "bankruptcy preparers" cannot give you legal advice. They cannot analyze your situation. In some instances, by filing unmeritorious petitions that eventually get dismissed, they can cause you to lose important legal rights!
Don't try to hide cars, homes, or other property from bankruptcy by transferring these assets to friends or relatives. This conduct can be bankruptcy fraud. The court may dismiss your bankruptcy case, or deny discharge of your debts.
Don't borrow from your 401K or a home equity line to pay off your credit card debts. You may be triggering unnecessary tax expenses, or risking losing your home.
Don't increase your overtime hours to try to pay off your debts. Increasing your pay may disqualify you for chapter 7 relief. It may also affect what you pay back in a chapter 13. Talk to an attorney to learn more.
Don't negotiate debt reduction with your credit cards. Debt reduction may trigger tax consequences. Talk to an attorney before engaging in debt reduction.
Don't file bankruptcy without understanding the consequences. Filing a "skeleton petition" can stop foreclosure of your home. But it can also jeopardize important legal rights. Bankruptcy can provide you with debt relief and a fresh start. But make sure you understand your legal rights and obligations before filing bankruptcy.
The videos above are not created by The Fuller Law Firm, PC. The videos provide general information about bankruptcy. Some of the information in these videos may be inaccurate or out-dated. Also, some of the information may be irrelevant to California debtors. An informational video is not a substitute for receiving expert advice from an experienced attorney. Please contact us for a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney at The Fuller Law Firm, PC. We will be glad to give you advice tailored to your specific situation.By Sam Taherian
Having helped thousands of individuals throughout Northern California, Attorney Sam Taherian is more than knowledgeable when it comes to creating positive financial solutions for your overwhelming debt. He is on the Board of Directors for the Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum, which is non-profit organization seeking to educate corporations regarding bankruptcy.