Filing for bankruptcy can be a complex process with various considerations to make. It can entail gathering a lot of paperwork and going to several meetings. The court needs to see a complete picture of your assets, debts, and spending.
One of the best ways to simplify this process is to get organized. Knowing what documents you will need to file for bankruptcy is the first step in getting organized and ensuring a smooth process during filing. If you are planning on filing for bankruptcy, here’s a list of the documents, records, and information you will need to gather in preparation.
Basic Personal Information
An important part of your bankruptcy filing is documenting who you are. You’ll need most of your basic information such as your full name and your social security number. You’ll show your identification when you meet with the trustee.
Most Chapter 7 filers in Nevada have income that falls at or below the state median income. There are some circumstances where you can still file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you make more than that. However, the court does a thorough evaluation of your income and debts to determine your eligibility. The court is going to look at documents that verify your income to make sure that you make the right type of filing.
Usually, you need pay stubs for the six months prior to your filing. You also need your last two W-2 forms. If you’re self-employed, you need a copy of your profit and loss statement for the six months before you file. If you have other types of income like social security, disability or investment income, you need records of these earnings. The court uses this information to make sure that you’re eligible for the type of bankruptcy that you’re seeking. If you’re filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court uses the information to determine your repayment plan.
Most bankruptcy trustees expect to see at least two years of tax returns. They can ask for more if you have variable income or if there are any other questions about the circumstances of your case. Tax returns verify your income.
Nevada law allows you to exempt a portion of your housing equity from the bankruptcy. In Nevada, this exemption is quite generous. You can keep your home with equity worth up to $550,000. In order to file for bankruptcy, you need to show the court proof of any value you have in real estate.
That means you may need to get an appraisal or show an online estimate of your home’s value. You’ll also need a copy of the deed and mortgage information, as well as proof of insurance.
The bankruptcy court needs to see proof of ownership for any vehicles you have. Also, if you pay a loan on any vehicle, you need documentation of the loan. Vehicles are another area of bankruptcy law where you can keep up to a certain value. In Nevada, the limit is $15,000. If you have a disability, there’s no limit to the value of vehicles that you can keep.
Bank Statements and Other Financial Records
The point of filing for bankruptcy is to get a fresh start when you’re unable to pay mounting debts. That means you have to prove that you’re unable to pay your bills. The court wants to see your bank accounts and other financial accounts to make sure that you don’t have money hidden somewhere that could pay your debts.
You’ll have to show your bank account records and retirement statements. If you’ve made any transfers of money in the time before you file, you’ll need to tell the court about it and provide documentation of the transfer.
Proof of Alimony or Child Support
Mandatory court payments such as alimony and child support can affect your ability to pay. For that reason, you need to provide proof of these types of payments if you’re court ordered to make them. A certified copy of your court order should be enough.
Credits and Debts
Bankruptcy is about debt. That means you need to show that you have debts that you can’t pay. In order to have the court discharge your debts, you need to show the court what those debts are.
Also, if anyone owes you money, you need to document this as well. Your creditors will receive notice of the bankruptcy proceedings so they can represent their interests. That means the court needs to know who they are and what you owe them.
List of Assets
In a Nevada bankruptcy, you get to keep household goods up to a value of $12,000. You can keep books, jewelry, works of art, and musical instruments up to an amount of $5,000. For this reason, you need to be able to document your assets. This doesn’t mean you have to list every item of silverware and every toothbrush in your house. However, you have to make a general list of your assets, so the court can have confidence that you meet the requirements.
You may also need information about your monthly expenses such as grocery bills and utility costs. This can help the court make decisions about your ability to pay your debts. If there are any contracts or other information that impacts your expenses and your ability to pay your bills, the court needs information and documentation for everything.
Proof of Credit Counseling
Federal law requires you to complete credit counseling before you file for bankruptcy. This helps you establish healthy financial habits so that you can make the most of your fresh start. When you file, you need to provide proof that you’ve completed your credit counseling course.
What if I Make an Error?
With so much paperwork to complete, there’s always the chance that you might make a mistake. If that happens, you may be able to file an amendment. However, there might be consequences.
If the court believes that you’re not honest about your income, they can throw out your bankruptcy proceeding. They can also take steps to seize your assets or recoup recent payments and transfers to make them available for distribution in the bankruptcy. Working with an attorney can help you avoid errors to ensure your filing is smooth on the first try.
Although filing for bankruptcy can be overwhelming, a certain amount of organization and preparation can help ensure the process is as seamless as possible. One of the best ways the ensure a smooth bankruptcy filing is to hire a qualified bankruptcy lawyer. The best bankruptcy attorneys in Las Vegas understand the complex nature of bankruptcy filings and have the expertise to help you determine the best options for your particular situation.