We don’t require or even encourage our clients to prepare too much for the initial consultation. Instead, we treat it as an information session designed to help you get the answers you are looking for; and plan a more detailed work session for later. Other lawyers do it differently, we know, but we like to help relieve some of your stress with straightforward answers, and have you leave more informed with a definite plan of action in mind. We think it’s counterproductive and adds to your stress to burden you with assembling documents before you really know whether bankruptcy is even right for you; or why some documents even matter. We do have a simple two-page questionnaire which you can download here which is not overly burdensome and helps make the initial consultation more productive.
On the other hand, if you have a foreclosure date looming, or your creditors are threatening to repossess your car or attach your wages or bank account, we may give you a list of things to bring to the initial interview because we may need to file quickly to get prompt relief from the court.
After the initial consultation, and depending on your circumstances, here is a list of documents you will probably need to assemble and bring back to us:
- Pay stubs for the last six months;
- Income tax returns for the past three years;
- Bank statements for the past three months;
- Most recent statement from your pension, IRA’s, 401(k)’s and the like;
- Title certificates and registrations to all automobiles, boats, trailers, RV’s and the like;
- Purchase contracts for any recent big-ticket purchases;
- Deeds, mortgages and leases to real estate you own;
- Correspondence from all bill collectors and collection agencies;
- Copies of the most recent bill from all creditors;
- Court papers from any lawsuits you are involved in;
- Promissory notes or retail installment contracts you owe;
- Statements from stock brokers and mutual funds;
- Appraisals or market analyses of real estate and other valuable property;
- Life insurance policies;
- Recent credit reports;
- Statements of taxes due;
- Documents related to claims you have, such as personal injury suits.