Bankruptcy is tough. If you are like most people, even considering it is a cause for anxiety. However, facing the issue head-on is one of the best ways to alleviate that pressure and make some progress towards better financial health.
One of the ways you can do this is by properly preparing for your bankruptcy meetings. Even before your first consultation, doing some digging could speed up your process considerably. There are a few reasons for this.
1. You make your lawyer's job easier
If there is one thing for certain, it is that decisions about bankruptcy take a good amount of research. A lot of the information is something you easily have access to, but your lawyer does not; pay stubs, bills and tax returns, for example. If you show up to your consultation with six months of documents, you will be in a position to work out your representation agreement and your case strategy at the same time.
2. You learn something
Going through records tells you a lot about your finances. Even if you do not remember the line-item details, you may remember that you saw a certain piece of information. That context will probably come in handy when your lawyer starts asking you specific questions about your bankruptcy situation.
3. You get started
Sometimes, it is hard to overcome procrastination. With debt, especially if bankruptcy is your best relief option, it is almost always better to act sooner rather than later. One of the best ways to start your process is actually doing something constructive — and few things are more helpful than having an orderly balance sheet. Do not feel bad if you start organizing documents slowly, because you will probably gather momentum as you go.
In general, it is a good idea to collect pay stubs, paid invoices and bills for the past half year. Once you have everything together, you can analyze your case, gain some important context and get your bankruptcy process started with an advisor.