If you want to become a client of Bankruptcy Attorney Bill Balena you will need to make an appointment to meet with me. I normally do not discuss money until we have had a chance to meet to go over your problem. I will make an exception for this if it is an “emergency bankruptcy filing’” or a chapter 13. At your option this meeting can be done over the telephone, online, at my office in Westlake, or even at another more convenient location such as a coffee shop.
FIRST STEP: GATHER YOUR PAPERS
Here are the 13 items you need to gather to become a client of Elyria Bankruptcy attorney Bill Balena. Since the bankruptcy law change October 17, 2005, filing for bankruptcy has become very paper intensive. Hate paperwork? Congress knew that. So did the credit card lobbyists. If they could make this a big enough pain, you just might not file for bankruptcy. None of this is impossible or even difficult. Remember, it’s them against you. Are you going to let them win…..over paper? The best thing to do before starting is to sit down, take a deep breath, and relax. You want to approach this process with an open mind and a clear head:
1. All Bills and Statements current or not; Most recent Mortgage Statements. Including:
a. Collection letters. You should include the letter, envelope and any other enclosures that came with the letter.
b. Credit cards
c. Personal Loans
d. Medical bills
e. Utility and Telephone Bills
f. Lawyer bills
I will not need you to bring your bills to the consultation. You will need them later when you fill out the questionnaire you will receive at your consultation if you decide to proceed with a bankruptcy case.
2. 6 months of pay stubs. Both Husband and wife even if one is filing.
a. If you do not have pay stubs (the law calls them pay advices) for the entire 6 months see if you can get a printout from your employer. The printout should include gross pay as well as deductions.
b. If you are self employed you will need to provide income and expense statements broken down monthly. If you are using an accounting program such as Quicken or Quick-books these reports are very easy to make.
c. If you are on social security, disability, unemployment or pension I will need to know how much you received monthly over the past 6 months.
d. Same goes for child support or spousal support you receive.
3. Last two years of filed Federal and State Tax Returns.
a. Include W-2s and 1099s.
4. Statements from all bank, credit union, and investment accounts for the past 6 months.
5. Titles to all vehicles owned by whoever intends to file.
a. If the vehicle currently has a car loan or is in any way security for a loan then you will have a white memorandum title. Bring that.
6. Deeds for real estate owned, or in which you have any ownership interest
a. Include all real estate owned by your spouse even though your name is not on it.
7. Tax Collection Letters
8. Divorce Decree, Separation/Support Agreements.
9. Copies of all Life Insurance policies, and Annuities. Declaration page if possible.
a. The declarations page is the coversheet that sets forth the types of coverages you have. Each year they may send you a new one.
10. Court papers for lawsuits, including foreclosures
11. Copy of proof of car insurance for all vehicles (not the bill, the insurance card)
12. Retirement Plan Summaries. Include:
c. Profit Sharing
f. Sep IRA
h. OH Deferred Comp
i. Police, Fire, Military and Teacher Pensions
13. Don’t bother getting me a credit report. The ones you get for free are not helpful for preparing a bankruptcy. I have the resources to get a report that is designed for this purpose, and contains accurate account numbers and addresses for each bill listed.
NEXT STEP: MAKE YOUR APPOINTMENT
Making an appointment to become a client of Bankruptcy attorney Bill Balena is really easy. Call me at 440-365-2000. During office hours Deb will answer the phone. You just need to pick a date, time and place that works best. If you do not reach Deb, or the office is closed your call will be returned the next business day. If you are serious you should not make any payments or financial decisions until we discuss your options at the bankruptcy consultation.
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