The process of deciding to file for bankruptcy in NYC can be filled with a lot of uncomfortable moments. The initial consultation with your bankruptcy lawyer should not be one of those. While every lawyer has different methods, the initial consultation visit will almost always include similar information gathering. Here’s what you need to expect, no matter where you are going for bankruptcy counsel, and a few questions to keep in mind for your lawyer.
Reviewing Your Income
Before any in-depth discussion of your debts or expenses, most bankruptcy lawyers will want to start with a review of your income. This is because certain income levels and types will disqualify a person from filing for bankruptcy altogether, so it’s better to get this out of the way first.
You’ll need to bring proof of your current income, as well as your gross income for the last six months. In order to determine if you qualify to file bankruptcy, your lawyer will compare your income for the last six months to the median income. If it is less, then you do qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in NYC. If it is more, then you’ll probably have to file a Chapter 13.
However, sometimes the calculations can change if your current income is significantly different from the last six months, which is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to seek legal counsel for filing bankruptcy.
Reviewing Your Expenses and Assets
At some point during this consultation, the lawyer will want to review your expenses and assets, or at least discuss them. These things help determine whether you qualify for bankruptcy, but there’s one very important reason why a bankruptcy lawyer in NYC will want to discuss your assets right away. A good lawyer’s job is to help you protect your assets during a bankruptcy, and that means they’ll start right away by informing you of what assets may be eligible for seizure if you choose to file. They can also begin helping you create the best filing strategy to ensure that your assets are safe.
Reviewing Your Debts
Finally, we come to the part that most people believe would be first. Your lawyer may choose to start here, but either way, there will be discussion of your debts during the initial consultation. The lawyer’s goal is to find out what type of bankruptcy would be better for you to file, not to judge you for your debts. For the most part, all a lawyer needs at this stage is the type of debt (such as credit card, taxes, student loans, medical bills, etc.), but the amounts and dates will be needed sooner rather than later if you choose to file. Bring a credit report and copies of your bills with you to this consultation, and you’ll be more than prepared for this step.
Reviewing Your Recent Transactions
This part of a bankruptcy consultation often seems to be the most uncomfortable, but there’s a reason a lawyer wants to know what you’ve been spending money on lately. Certain types of transactions, like large credit card purchases in the very recent past, or large transfers of money to family – even if it’s owed money – can be seen as attempted bankruptcy fraud. It may be best to wait to file till those transactions are older. Your lawyer may have other ideas for filing that won’t cast suspicion on these transactions.
The most important thing at any bankruptcy consultation is that you are totally honest with your lawyer. They are there to ensure that you get the best deal possible, and can only do that with all the information. To learn more, contact me at 22-244-2882.