Many people considering bankruptcy fear that the paperwork needed to file bankruptcy will be daunting or overwhelming but this is just a bankruptcy myth. If you are faced with rising debts and harassing phone calls, the fear of having to gather a mountain of paperwork or receipts might prevent you from getting the Oklahoma debt relief you need. Fortunately, the bankruptcy process is less all consuming than many fear, and even that can be reduced through a little planning and organization. When meeting with your bankruptcy attorney for the first time, he or she will likely give you a list paperwork needed to file bankruptcy. These documents include:
A copy of your social security card and drivers license: your attorney can likely make copies in his or her office of these important documents.
State and Federal tax returns for the previous two years: At the time of this writing in June of 2015, that would be the returns for 2013 and 2014. When gathering these documents, you will want to bring anything that was submitted to the Oklahoma Tax Commission or the Internal Revenue Service. This includes the returns and any additional schedules or other documents that were filed. It does not include statements from your tax preparer, receipts, or other materials used to prepare your taxes. Your attorney may also ask for copies of your latest W-2 statements.
Vehicle Titles: If you own one or more cars, trucks, RVs, boats, or any other motor vehicles that have a title, you will need to bring copies of those titles. This is so your attorney can properly identify the property in your bankruptcy petition, and so the trustee can see ownership and any liens against the items.
Real Estate Deeds: If you own your own home, your attorney will need to see a copy of the deed to the property. In Oklahoma, this is usually called a “Warranty Deed”. Your attorney needs this to obtain the “legal description” of your property, which is how the property is recorded by the county (as opposed to a street or mailing address). Your attorney will also need the deed to show ownership to the trustee. If you own real estate other than your home, your attorney will also need to see deeds for those properties, whether they have structures on them or are empty lots.
Retirement Account Statement: If you have any sort of retirement account, be it 401(k), IRA, pension, or some other form of retirement plan, your attorney will need to see a copy of the latest statement.
Lawsuit Records: If you know that you are a party to a lawsuit of any kind currently pending in the courts, or that was filed in the last twelve months, bring a copy of any paperwork you have.
Bank Records: Your attorney will need to see the transaction records or monthly statements for any bank accounts, checking or savings, for the preceding six months prior to filing. What this means is that if you have your initial meeting on July 1, your attorney will ask for documents from January 1st through the present date. If you wait to file until September 1, your attorney will also need copies of the documents covering July and August. In addition, if you have closed any bank accounts in the last twelve months, your attorney will need to know what bank and branch, the last four digits of the account number, the month and year the account was closed, and the final balance of the account.
Pay Records: If you are employed, your attorney will need records of your pay for the same six month period up to the date of filing as the bank records mentioned above. If you receive regular paychecks from your employer, this would be those pay-stubs. If you do not regularly save your pay stubs, you should be able to obtain them from your employer. If you get paid in between providing those records to your attorney and when you sign your bankruptcy, you will also want to provide him or her with copies of the updated pay stubs. If you are self employed, or own and operate your own business, consult your attorney on exactly what sort of records he needs to show your income and expenses.
Social Security and Other Benefits: If you receive Social Security or Federal Social Security Disability payments, your lawyer will need a copy of your latest yearly benefit statement, which lists how much you receive and how much is deducted for medicare and taxes. If you receive any other benefits, like food stamps or rent assistance, you will want want to bring some form of documentation to show what you receive. If you receive, or are supposed to receive, child support, provide a copy of the order for child support (this may be a divorce decree, paternity order, or some other document establishing how much you currently receive or are supposed to receive).
This may seem like a large list, but in reality, is manageable for most people. By staying organized and delivering what your attorney asks you for in a timely manner, you can help expedite the bankruptcy process. The less organized you are, the more difficult it will be for your attorney to sort out the information and the longer it will take him or her to prepare your case. For more information and to talk with a bankruptcy lawyers in Oklahoma call EZ Oklahoma Bankruptcy at 918-637-1546