You made “the call”. I realize that by the time my clients actually call me to set up a bankruptcy consultation there has been a lot of internal (and external) debate. Now that you have taken the all important first step of setting up the bankruptcy consultation I thought I would share a few ideas of how you can make this meeting as productive as possible.
#1 – Whatever You Tell Me is Confidential
When you visit with me in my office about your debt problems those discussions are protected under the attorney/client privilege – even if you haven’t hired me yet. I won’t tell my wife, I won’t tell my friends, your friends, nobody. Your bankruptcy consultation will be much more beneficial to you if you are prepared to discuss your entire financial situation. And, along those lines…
#2 – Be Prepared to Bare Your Financial Soul
Bankruptcy can be a fairly straight forward process – IF you provide me with with all of the necessary information. Now is not the time to withhold anything. I will have a lot of questions for you and will require that you provide me with a lot of documents.
You may have had a friend or a relative tell you what they know about the bankruptcy process and how you don’t have to disclose certain assets or transactions. Disregard that advice. Nothing can make your bankruptcy case go from “straight forward” to your worst nightmare like concealing assets.
Bankruptcy is no time for secrets. When in doubt, disclose. I am on your side. I am here to help you. And in most situations if I know of a possible problem before your bankruptcy case is filed with the court we can fix it. If I learn of a problem for the first time after your bankruptcy case is filed it is much more difficult to fix, if it can be fixed at all.
#3 – Have a Sound Understanding of Your Current Financial Situation
Prior to coming in for a bankruptcy consultation, review your debts, assets, income, expenses, and any significant financial transactions you have been involved in over the last couple of years.
If you decide to proceed with a bankruptcy filing I will get all of this information in detail, but for the initial consultation I need to know what your income is like on a monthly basis, what kinds of debt you have (is it mostly credit card debt or a lawsuit?), what is the total amount of debt (approximately).
I understand that it will be difficult to know every little detail at this early stage, however be prepared to discuss generally what types of debt issues you have and what assets you have. This will help me in determining what chapter of bankruptcy is appropriate for your situation.
After the consultation is over you will feel a great deal of relief. How do I know this? Because I see it on a daily basis when I meet with families who are going through the same thing you are going through. They are stressed out of their minds. Worried. Hopeless. Bankruptcy cannot fix all problems. But it can give you the peace of mind that comes with having a game plan to becoming debt free.
Image Credit: Mike Haufe
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John Skiba, Esq.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your debt problem and help you put together a game plan to eliminate your debt once and for all. Give us a call at (480) 420-4028