Are you ready to file for bankruptcy? While the process might seem overwhelming, ultimately bankruptcy might help you get relief from the constant debt collector calls. In order to get to that place, though, there is paperwork involved. The courts typically need to see adequate, and sometimes extensive, financial records. Here are some of the documents you will need in order to file for bankruptcy.


It may go without saying, but proof of identity is required when you meet with the trustee – the person appointed by the courts to decide your bankruptcy case. Make sure to bring your Social Security card along with a valid government photo ID like a current driver’s license or passport. 


Whether you work for another employed or are self-employed, you are required to pay taxes each year. This obviously should not come as a surprise to you. However, you are expected to provide two years’ worth of tax returns in order to file for bankruptcy. Tax returns provide evidence that you have paid taxes, especially if you are self-employed since you typically do not have taxes automatically withheld in those cases. 


Your case trustee will also need to see bank account statements as well as paychecks. Typically, you will need to provide around 6 months’ worth of statements. This can vary from case to case but it’s helpful to plan for that. The courts need to see that you have some form of a stable job to help bolster your case, or at the very least get a better understanding of your expenses. Income verification plays a potentially big role in whether your bankruptcy case is approved.


Similarly, if you have a car loan or mortgage, you are expected to provide certain information about them as well. While you may not be required to disclose monthly payments and the full terms of any loans you have in your name, be prepared to research and share your home or car’s value. The reason this is important is that loans are taken into consideration depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, like chapter 7 or chapter 13. 


Although not everyone has a retirement or investment account, they are considered a form of income. Whether it’s a 401k or a stock brokerage account, prepare several months of statements for those just in case. Err on the side of providing more documentation than less throughout the process. This can help the paperwork process go faster and more efficiently without the hassle of having to keep on giving more documents later on. 

Filing for bankruptcy in the Pioneer Valley? Have some more questions? Reach out to Attorney David Brunelle today.