Important Bankruptcy Information
At the Law Office of Lawrence L. Szabo, our lawyers and staff have created the following page as a resource for current and potential clients. If you are going through a bankruptcy, it is very important to know what you need to begin and understanding credit counseling, debtor's education, and the dangers of committing fraud.
What You Need
For any bankruptcy, you need to compile a whole host of documents. Attorney Lawrence L. Szabo can assist you much more efficiently if you bring him the following:
- The last 6 months of paycheck stubs
- The last 6 months of bank statements and 6 months of check register, including to whom the checks were written
- Tax returns for the last 3 years
- All bills for the past 90 days
- Credit report: you can get your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com. Other services will make you pay a fee.
- Copies of any lawsuits
- Proof of income from any and all sources, including part time work, Social Security, etc.
- Copies of insurance policies
- Proof of your identity, including a social security card and a photo ID
Also, before you file a bankruptcy, you must get credit counseling. This requirement came into effect in 2005, along with many other changes to bankruptcy law. As of this writing, the authorized providers of credit counseling for Oakland, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County are as follows:
- Allen Credit and Debt Counseling Agency
- Alliance Credit Counseling, Inc.
- Best Credit Service, Inc.
- Black Hills Children's Ranch, Inc.
- ByDesign Financial Solutions
- Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco
- Consumer Credit Management, Inc.
- Credit Advisors Foundation
- Credit Counseling Centers of America
- Cricket Debt Counseling
- Debt Reduction Services, Inc.
- Garden State Consumer Credit Counseling, Inc.
- GreenPath, Inc.
- Hummingbird Credit Counseling and Education, Inc.
- Institute for Financial Literacy, Inc.
- Money Management International, Inc.
- Pacific Rim Institute for Development & Education, Inc.
- Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management, Inc.
- University of Missouri-Columbia Office for Financial Success
The above is taken from the U.S. Trustee Program's Web site, which keeps an updated list for all jurisdictions of the United States.
Your certificate of credit counseling is only good for 6 months. If you file a bankruptcy case without receiving credit counseling within the last 6 months, the bankruptcy court will dismiss the case.
In addition to obtaining credit counseling before you file for bankruptcy, you must take a "Personal Financial Management Instructional Course", aka "debtor's education", after you file. If you do not, the court will close your case without you receiving a discharge of your debts. If the court closes your case, you will have to ask the court to reopen your case- but that can be expensive.
The companies that provide credit counseling also provide debtor's education. See the above list or go to the U.S. Trustee Program's Web siteTypically, when you finish credit counseling, the provider you used for credit counseling will remind you that you must undergo debtor's education.
The Dangers of Committing Fraud
At Law Office of Lawrence L. Szabo, we warn our clients about the dangers of committing fraud in bankruptcy. If you conceal assets or lie on any forms you file with the court, you are subject to criminal prosecution.
Before you begin the bankruptcy process, you must sign forms that explain the bankruptcy code and the penalties for committing bankruptcy fraud. The forms are called the Section 342-B Notice, Supplement 527-A, and Supplement 527-B. See our Forms page for copies of these documents.
If you have questions about any of the above, please contact us any time. We offer all new clients free initial consultations with an experienced lawyer, and are always available to help our clients.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.