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What to Bring to the Initial Bankruptcy Consultation

Your first consultation with a bankruptcy attorney will cover a lot of ground, and the goal is for you leave with all the information needed to decide whether bankruptcy is right for you and what your non-bankruptcy options may be. A productive Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy consultation will mean that you should plan to bring several important documents and other important information with you to your consultation.

The documents you should plan to bring include:

  1. Credit report. Free credit reports are available online from Also bring a list of creditors that do not appear on your credit report, such as loans from family members or other private individuals and statements of past due taxes.

  2. Driver’s license and social security card.

  3. Paystubs for the last seven months. The purpose of bringing so many paystubs is so we can determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is largely income based and calculated according to the means test.

  4. Deed to your home. If you file bankruptcy, we want to list the exact legal description of your home so in the future there won’t be any issues because it was incorrectly described in your bankruptcy papers. Note that the property tax statement only has an abbreviated version so be sure to bring the actual deed.

  5. Recent mortgage and car loan statements.

  6. Tax returns for the last two years including W-2s. This information will be listed in your bankruptcy schedules and also will need to be provided to the trustee assigned to your case.

  7. Copies of bank statements, recent retirement plan statements, cash value life insurance statement (if applicable), copies of any leases or contracts you are party to, recent stock brokerage account statement, foreclosure notice, divorce decree in the past 5 years, etc. These are all required for the purpose of confirming what assets can be protected under the bankruptcy exemptions and various other issues that may be involved in a bankruptcy.

  8. Recent lawsuits, notice of judgments, garnishment notices, etc. (if applicable).

Just like all other legal proceedings, bankruptcy is a paperwork-heavy process. The documents above are a solid starting point for your bankruptcy attorney to fully evaluate your circumstances and give you the most options. 

Contact Wartchow Law Office for a free Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy consultation.

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