Get Started Guide

This page will guide you through the process of preparing for the filing of your bankruptcy case. NOTE: Some of the tasks listed below may not apply to you, so you can skip ahead. Carefully follow each step and contact me with any questions at (262) 821-5533.

Download a pdf copy of this list here.

IMPORTANT NOTICEBefore you make the decision to file bankruptcy, you should read this Debtor Information document by clicking here. (You do not need to complete this form.) This multi-page document lists all of the information that you will be required to disclose to the federal government. If you are NOT interested in disclosing this information to the government, then you should not file for bankruptcy. 

DOCUMENT DELIVERY OPTIONS

1. US Mail Delivery to my (office Address indicated below).
2. Fax (866) 332-9056
4. Electronic Signature forms delivered via your email.
5. Delivery in person to my office Monday -Fridays between the hours of 2-4 PM only.
6. Secured Online Portal (enter information and upload documents).

PROVIDE YOUR IDENTIFICATION:

Please provide a copy of your photo ID (driver's license is a common form), and social security card or other approved form of social security number verification as indicated here.

 

TASK NUMBER 1

PRE-FILING CREDIT COUNSELING COURSE

You must complete a PRE-Filing credit counseling course and obtain a Certificate of Completion. The Certificate of Completion is only valid for 6 months. There are many approved providers and the cost varies. I have identified the following providers with reasonable prices. Prices are subject to change without notice.

For Individual Filers (Filing without a spouse)

CC Advising: Cost $9.76 if you complete the course using a desktop computer or laptop. Use this provider if you are filing without a spouse. The cost increases to $50 that their course using your smart phone. This provider will automatically email your completion certificate to us. No need to pay any extra for delivery.

For Joint Filers ( Filing as a Married Couple)

DebtorCC: Cost $14.95 per couple. Use this provider if you are filing jointly with your spouse. This provider will automatically email your completion certificate to us. No need to pay any extra for delivery.

For Both Joint or Individual Filers:

BothCourses.com: Cost $8.95. USE ATTORNEY CODE: FRRF553. Use for either individual or joint filings. They offer course online or by phone for $20. Check their prices. Their website is currently unsecured. They offer a chat line for questions. Their business hours are M-F to 10 PM, Saturdays to 8 PM, and Sundays to 9 PM.

Phone Only (Non-Computer Users)

PreBK.com: Cost $25. Offers the course by phone. Call (844) 378-2961.

BothCourses.com: Cost: $20. Call (844) 378-3059.

Task Number 2

FREE CREDIT REPORT

Listing all of your debt on your petition is required. Keep in mind that there are additional fees incurred each time you add creditors after the filing of your petition. Use due diligence to obtain creditor information.

A credit report will verify most, if not all, of the debt that you owe. Consumers can download a free credit report every 12-months.

You do not need to print a copy, unless you would like to. I will only need the PDF version.

My clients use AnnualCreditReport.com. This site provides free credit reports from Experian, Transunion and Equifax. No credit card is required. I prefer a Transunion credit report, as their report is very concise.

NOTEDo not rely exclusively on your credit report to identify your debt. If a debt does not appear on your credit report (for example – healthcare debt that did not go to collections), then provide us with the most recent creditor statement.

If you can’t find a particular debt on your credit report, or don’t have a recent creditor statement, don’t be afraid to answer harassing creditor calls. You can use these calls to obtain information that will be added to your bankruptcy case. They will be eager to provide this information to you.

When a creditor or collection agency calls you, answer the call and get the following information from them:

  1. Company name and address. If a collection agency calls, obtain their address and the original creditor’s name and address.
  2. Account Number.
  3. Date you incurred the debt.
  4. Classification of the debt (Credit Card, Healthcare, Pay Day Loan, etc.).
  5. Amount owed.

TASK NUMBER 3

VEHICLES TITLE(S)

Vehicles include cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, campers, ATV’s, etc.

I will need a copy of either your vehicle title or Confirmation of Ownership document to prove ownership. A registration document is unacceptable.

If you do not have your title, you must obtain a Confirmation of Ownership from the Wisconsin DMV by calling (608) 264-7447. Enter Option #2. A DMV representative will confirm your identity on the phone and your will receive your Confirmation of Ownership in approximately 1 week by USPS. Down the instruction document here.

QUESTION: Can you keep your vehicle(s)? Yes, you can keep your vehicle(s). If you have vehicle loan(s), keep making your monthly payments AND pay your insurance. If you would like to surrender the vehicle(s), then stop making the payments BUT maintain your insurance in the event you cause an accident.

Please Note: Your decision to reaffirm, redeem, or surrender assets or liabilities secured by property that is part of your bankruptcy, must be declared to the court within 30 days of the filing of your bankruptcy case. Additionally, your intention must be carried out within 30 days from your creditor meeting. 

Failure to carry out your intent  within the above time frames may affect the dischargeability of your debts. The automatic stay imposed by the court with respect to property subject to the rule may be affected. See: In re Thompson, 581 B.R. 1 (Bankr. Mass., 2018) In re Thompson, 581 B.R. 1 (Bankr. Mass., 2018)

TASK NUMBER 4

INCOME TAX RETURNS

I need complete copies of the last 2 years of BOTH your Federal and State Income Tax returns. If you do not have your Wisconsin income tax returns, click here to obtain a free transcript.  If you do not have your Federal income tax returns, click here to obtain a transcript.

TASK NUMBER 5

YOUR INCOME

If you are employed as a W-2 wage earner, I need pay stubs from the last 6 months from any employer showing your gross income and any payroll deductions.

If you are self-employed, we need a simple profit and loss statement (P&L) showing your income and expenses from the last 6 months.

NOTE: Income includes government benefits (Food Share, Social Security Benefits, Pensions, Private Retirement Benefits, and Maintenance and Child Support income). You must provide us with proof of any income. This list is not exhaustive.

TASK NUMBER 6

FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS

This category includes any financial account including checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement, pensions, stock accounts, IRA, 401(k), etc.

Documentation is required to show the value, account number and entity that administers your account.

For bank accounts, I will need the last 4 digits of any account (please designate by type of account), the name and address of your bank, and I will need the exact balance on the day that your case is filed.

Some trustees will require 90 days of bank statements dating back from the filing date of your case. Be prepared to produce these documents if requested by me.

TASK NUMBER 7

DEED – MORTGAGE(S) – PROPERTY TAX STATEMENT

If you own a home, rental property, vacant land, trailer home, or any type of real estate, this section applies to you.

I need a copy of your Deed, Mortgage(s) and current Property Tax Statement.

The trustee uses your property tax statement to verify the fair market value of your property.

You will need to obtain a certified copy of your deed(s) and mortgage(s) from the register of deeds office in the county where the property is located. The trustee will not accept copies that you obtained when you purchased the real estate.

There is a fee that you pay to the register of deeds office for this service. Provide your payment receipt with your documents.

TASK NUMBER 8

SUPPORT PAYMENTS

If you pay child support, family support and/or maintenance, you must provide the name and address of the recipient, the monthly amount that you pay, and the method used to pay the support to the recipient.

TASK NUMBER 9

PAYMENTS TO CREDITORS

Any payments over $600 that you paid to creditors within 1 year from the filing date of your case must be disclosed in your bankruptcy petition. This includes family members, relatives, and friends.

We will need the name, address, dates of payments and each payment amount for each person or entity receiving payments.

These types of payments are called “Preference Payments“. By making these types of payments, you are preferring one creditor over the other. In theory, all creditors must be paid, or not be paid at all.

Preference payments do not include mortgage payments, rent, car payments, and utility payments. These are considered necessary living expenses.

It’s understandable that most people want to repay relatives and friends who have loaned them money because they feel morally obligated.  Unfortunately, the bankruptcy code frowns on this and will attempt to take back the payments from your relatives and friends.

TASK NUMBER 10

RECENT INHERITANCE

In you inherited, or are eligible to inherit money, personal property or real estate, or anything, you must disclose the type of property and value received or to be received. This requirement applies 6-months before and after the filing of your bankruptcy petition.

This is important, because the trustee can take your inheritance to pay your creditors.

TASK NUMBER 11

MONTHLY EXPENSES

Make an accurate list of your monthly expenses.

Almost everyone UNDER estimates their monthly expenses, especially food! Download this helpful guide to prepare a list of your monthly expenses. If you use our portal, you do not need to download this form.

TASK NUMBER 12

PERSONAL PROPERTY

List all of your personal property that you own.  Start by going through each room where you reside, including the basement and garage, if applicable. Unlike monthly expenses, most people OVER-estimate the value of their personal property.

Make a list of all of the big items (i.e. – sofa, coffee table, bed, dresser, lamps, lawn mower, etc.) for each room. The smaller items you can group (i.e. Miscellaneous kitchen utensils, small hand tools, miscellaneous clothing, etc.).

Download this property listing form to help you itemize. If you use our portal, you do not need to download this form.

END

Call me with any questions.

We are here to help you successfully prepare and file your bankruptcy case.

(262) 821-5533