If you and your family are currently dealing with the stress and burden of overwhelming debt, it can sometimes feel like there is nowhere to turn for a solution. Bankruptcy offers a fresh start and a path out of debt. You might be a good candidate to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Too many people delay bankruptcy because they do not know how to get started.
At Vohwinkel Law, we want to make sure that you have access to the tools, information, and legal resources that you need to navigate the bankruptcy process and fix your financial situation. In this blog post, our Las Vegas personal bankruptcy attorney provides a guide to the documents that you need to file for bankruptcy protection in Nevada.
Gathering Documents for Bankruptcy: A Checklist
In filing for bankruptcy protection, you will need documentation that establishes your income, assets, expenses, and debts. What exactly this entails depends on your unique financial situation. That being said, there are some key documents that you need to gather. Here is a checklist of what you need to file for personal bankruptcy protection to help you get started:
- Personal Identification: Make sure you have some form of legally acceptable identification. For most people, this simply means a copy of their photo driver’s license. If you do not have a Nevada driver’s license, another form of government-issued ID is also acceptable.
- Social Security Number Identification: Because creditors and credit reporting bureaus usually identify you by your social security number, it is important for the court and trustee to verify your social security number. This usually means showing the trustee a copy of or your original social security card. The trustee also allows verification by means of a W-2 or verification letter from the Social Security Administration.
- Tax Returns: You should get copies of your two most recent federal income tax returns. With Chapter 13, you must have filed taxes for the last four years in order to file bankruptcy. If you are not required to file taxes because you don’t make enough, don’t worry, you just have to sign an affidavit stating you’re not required to file taxes. Either way, gathering your tax information is an important first step.
- Income Verification: Next, you will need income verification. It is generally recommended that you get your income records for at least the last six months. If you are an employee, your paystubs will satisfy the requirement. If you are self-employed or a business owner, you should be prepared to produce a profit & loss statement. If you are retired and receiving social security benefits and/or a pension, you need to have your social security benefits letter and/or pension benefit letter, which is usually sent to you shortly after the first of the year.
- Bank Account Statements: You should obtain recent statements for all of your personal bank accounts. Remember, income is only one part of bankruptcy considerations. You are also going to be required to provide documentation of any liquid financial resources, and the court will want to review your recent financial transactions for any possible inappropriate transfers, such as to friends and family.
- Investment/Retirement Account Statements: Beyond savings accounts and checking accounts, you should also gather statements for any investment accounts and/or retirement accounts. Notably, most people can keep their entire balance of their IRA and/or 401(k) account when filing for personal bankruptcy. Non-tax advantaged investment accounts may be a different story.
- Vehicle Information: If you own a vehicle, gather all the information related to it, including its current estimated value and the outstanding balance on any auto loan. Most people filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 in Nevada keep their vehicle.
- Mortgage Information: If you have a mortgage, be prepared to gather comprehensive documentation, including your monthly payment, the remaining balance, and the estimated value of your home.
- Debts: Gather every record you have related to your outstanding debts. A bankruptcy lawyer will help you take action to get all eligible debts discharged and/or reduced in bankruptcy.
- Living Expenses: Your reasonable living expenses matter. You have the right to keep income and/or savings to support yourself and your family. It is important to document your expenses—from rent to health insurance to food—to ensure that you able to get the best possible results in bankruptcy
- Credit Counseling Certification: Finally, you should be ready to take an approved credit counseling course. As explained in official material published by the United States Courts, “individual bankruptcy filers are required to complete pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and pre-discharge debtor education.” Save any credit counseling certificates you receive for your records.
Do not be intimidated by the requirements. While it can seem like you need to gather a lot of information, the process is easier than most people realize. An experienced Las Vegas Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer can do the heavy lifting—ensuring that all of your documentation is properly organized so that you can file for bankruptcy protection.
Call Our Las Vegas, NV, Bankruptcy Lawyer for Immediate Help
At Vohwinkel Law, our Nevada bankruptcy attorney is focused on helping clients eliminate debt and solve financial problems. If you have any questions or concerns about the documents that you need to gather in order to file for bankruptcy, we are more than happy to guide you through the process. Contact us today for a free, strictly private initial meeting with a top-rated bankruptcy lawyer.
We provide personal bankruptcy, business bankruptcy, and debt relief services throughout all of Clark County, including in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Henderson, Summerlin, and Mesquite.