How To Prepare For Bankruptcy
For most people, bankruptcy is not something that sneaks up on them. It is a slow accumulation of debt on debt, until one day they realize that they just cannot manage anymore. If you are considering bankruptcy, it makes sense to plan for the bankruptcy process, just as you would any major financial decision. The attorneys at Nicolet Law Office, S.C., have decades of experience counseling people throughout Wisconsin in this exact position.
Questions about bankruptcy preparation? Consultations are free.
Bankruptcy Planning: What Not To Do
If you are going to end up filing for bankruptcy anyway, you should just pay off all your friends and family first, right? That way another creditor will not be able to get your money, right?
In fact, there are two things wrong with this scenario. First, this is a classic case of bankruptcy fraud. By getting rid of assets with the specific intent of depriving certain creditors of money, you run a serious risk of having your bankruptcy filing dismissed, thus losing the protection it affords.
Second, a judge can reverse any preferential payments you make by what is known as “bankruptcy clawback.” You must pay back creditors in a certain order specified by the bankruptcy code. Just because you give money to someone does not mean they will get to keep it.
Here are some other things to avoid before you file for bankruptcy that could incur similar penalties in the bankruptcy court:
- Selling assets for less than market value
- Significant financial transactions close to your filing date
- Changing asset or real estate titles to conceal your ownership
- Taking on debt without the intention of paying it back
What To Do Instead
While you cannot give away money or conceal assets, you can use other kinds of preparation instead. These strategies will serve you well and ensure that your fresh start is as strong as possible:
- Delaying your filing until you have incurred all unavoidable debts, such as major medical expenses
- Converting a certain amount of non-exempt assets into exempt assets, such as purchasing needed equipment for work
- Accurately reporting all major transactions when you file for bankruptcy
- Budgeting your finances appropriately, focusing on nondischargeable debts
This is only a partial list of strategies, since everyone’s financial situation is different. Take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney at our law firm to see what will work best for you.
How To Help Make The Process Work For You
Filing for bankruptcy can be a very complicated and lengthy process. It is a good idea to gather important documents that present a clear picture of your debt, income and creditors. This includes tax returns, bank account statements, bills for student loans or credit card debt, medical expenses, as well as any other debts that are causing you to struggle financially.
You will need to have these documents when your request is submitted, and the sooner you collect this information, the easier it will be to prepare your bankruptcy petition. When you meet with an attorney, we can explain exactly what sort of things you need to have going forward.
Get Help With Your Bankruptcy Planning
Filing for bankruptcy is a significant financial decision that should be undertaken with care. A lawyer at our firm can assess your situation and help you find the type of bankruptcy right for you. Best of all, consultations are always free. Contact us by email, or else call our main office: 715-802-0872. We have convenient office locations in Hudson, Eau Claire and throughout Wisconsin.