5 Things You Need To Do Before Filing For Bankruptcy

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If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, there are some things that you need to do as you prepare your paperwork and get ready to start the formal process. These things will help you prepare for the formal process and ensure your future financial success.

#1: Take a Credit Counseling Course

You are going to be required to take a credit counseling course before you are able to file for bankruptcy. You will have to provide proof you took the course with your filing paperwork. The cost to take a credit counseling course is usually very low, and some organizations offer the course for free.

There are lots of ways to take the class. There are in-person classes as well as online classes. You can even find over the phone credit counseling classes that you can take.

#2: Open a New Bank Account

If you have a bank account with the same bank that you hold and owe a loan to, such as a house or car loan, you may want to open a bank account with a company that you don't owe any money to. Sometimes, banks that you owe money to will close your account when you start the bankruptcy process, so it is best to protect yourself and open a bank account with a company you don't have any bad history with and start to bank with them.

#3: Don't Purchase a New Vehicle

Do not purchase or finance a new or used vehicle right before you file for bankruptcy. Doing so will delay your bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy process is about dismissing your debt and adding new debt at the end is generally looked upon poorly by the court system and could delay your ability for financial relief.

#4: Stop Using Your Credit Cards

As you get ready to file, you need to stop using your credit cards. You should not be adding new debt as you get ready to file. If you keep using your credit card, that debt will more than likely not be dismissed, and you will have to pay that debt back in full.

#5: Don't Try to Repay Specific Debts

If you are making regular payments on your debts, keep that up. However, you shouldn't take a chunk of money and try to pay off a specific debt. That will be looked at as favoring one debt over another, and the court may make whoever you paid that money to return it so that your debt payments are spread more evenly among your creditors. Instead, you should just make the minimum required payment or the same payment amount you have been making, and allow the court to determine who you need to pay back.

Contact a bankruptcy lawyer for more information.