Whether you plan to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll need to file a considerable amount of paperwork. If you miss even one of the required forms when you file your petition, the court will issue a Deficiency Notice. At that point, you’ll have 14 days to submit the required documents — longer if you successfully file an extension — or your bankruptcy case will be dismissed.
If you’re in a real financial pinch and bankruptcy is the only way out, you cannot afford to have your case dismissed. It’s critical that you file the proper documents at the appropriate times to ensure your case moves forward. That’s why partnering with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is so important.
Below, Ron Lunquist, Attorney at Law shares a brief overview of the documents and forms you need to successfully file for bankruptcy.
Documentation: What You Need to Complete Your Bankruptcy Forms
When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll need several documents that prove specific details about your current financial situation. The exact evidence you’ll need to supply will depend on what your bankruptcy trustee requires and the particulars of your case.
While there are slight variations between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 documentation (your bankruptcy attorney will fill you in), here’s what you’ll most likely need to supply:
You’ll need copies of your tax returns or transcripts for the last two years in a Chapter 7 case. If you did not file your tax returns, your bankruptcy trustee will require to do so before your case can be approved.
Proof of Income
If you’re a W-2 employee, you’ll need six months' worth of paystubs prior to the bankruptcy, as well as your last two W-2 forms. If you’re self-employed, you’ll likely need to provide profit and loss forms for the current year and the two years prior to your bankruptcy filing. Be prepared to supply business bank statements too.
If you have other sources of income, such as rental properties, disability, or Social Security, you’ll also need to provide proof of those.
Real Estate Documents
If you own property, you’ll need to supply proof of the property’s fair market value. To get this number, you can get a full appraisal, use an online valuation tool, or get a real estate broker’s price opinion, depending on what your district allows.
You’ll also need to furnish mortgage statements that show payment amounts and remaining loan balances. You may also need proof of home insurance and the deed of trust.
If you own a vehicle, you’ll need to supply proof of its value. If you have a vehicle loan, you’ll also need to provide a recent loan statement that shows the remaining balance on the loan and your monthly payment amount. Your trustee may also require proof of insurance and registration.
If you have retirement accounts, you’ll need to supply those statements. You’ll also need to supply recent statements for all of your bank accounts.
You’ll need to provide a photo ID along with proof of your social security number when you attend your hearing with your bankruptcy trustee.
If you have an unusual expense or you pay child support or alimony, you’ll need to supply proof of those expenses. If you’ve recently been granted a divorce, you may also need to supply your divorce order or marital settlement agreement that outlines your distribution of property.
If you need any other documents to file your bankruptcy forms, your attorney will let you know.
Natural Disasters and Document Loss
It’s common for people to file for bankruptcy after a natural disaster strikes. And unfortunately, it’s also common for people to lose the documents they need to file for bankruptcy in such a disaster. Fortunately, there are provisions in place for these types of emergencies.
If you choose to file for bankruptcy after a natural disaster and you do not have all of the required documents to file, your trustee is required to:
● Avoid taking action against you if you can’t produce the necessary documents.
● Grant reasonable requests that would simplify the filing requirements.
● Allow you to use an alternate method of attending the 341 meeting (the meeting of the creditors) if you cannot attend in-person at the appointed location. You may be able to attend by phone or video call.
● Consider an increase in expenses and a decrease in income resulting from the natural disaster.
For a more comprehensive list of these accommodations, see justice.gov’s guidelines for natural disasters.
Bankruptcy Forms: What You Need to File
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary documentation proving your income, assets, and expenses, you’ll use the information contained in those documents to complete your bankruptcy forms. These include:
Official Bankruptcy Forms
Most of the forms you’ll need to file for bankruptcy are referred to as official bankruptcy forms. You can find these forms online at uscourts.gov. You may fill out these forms online and print them when you need to file.
Local Bankruptcy Forms
Depending on your district, your local bankruptcy court may need you to file a handful of additional forms. These aren’t always required, and they vary from locale to locale, so your attorney will inform you if you need to file them and where to get them.
Other Required Forms in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Your attorney will inform you of which forms you must fill out to successfully file your case. These forms will vary slightly depending on whether you’re filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, but both types of bankruptcy require many of the same forms. You must file:
● Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing For Bankruptcy
● Application to Have Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived (only applies to Chapter 7 cases)
● Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments
● Schedule A/B. Property
● Schedule C. Property You Claim as Exempt
● Schedule D. Creditors Who Hold Claims Secured by Property
● Schedule E/F. Creditors With Unsecured Claims
● Schedule G. Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
● Schedule H. Codebtors (if applicable)
● Schedule I. Income
● Schedule J. Expenses
● Summary of assets and liabilities
● Credit counseling certificate
● Statement about your social security number
● Statement of Financial Affairs for Individuals Filing Bankruptcy
● Statement of Current Monthly Income
● Means test calculation (if you’re filing for Chapter 7 and your income is above your state’s median)
● Statement of Intention for Individuals Filing Under Chapter 7 (only applies to Chapter 7 cases)
● Calculation of disposable income (if you’re filing Chapter 13)
For further details on the required forms for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, including a full breakdown of what each form is for, check out the Official Bankruptcy Forms Resources Page at mnb.uscourts.gov.
Schedule a Free Bankruptcy Consultation Today
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy to get a fresh start, working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is the best way to ensure you conduct the process properly. Contact the Law Office of Ron Lundquist today to schedule a free consultation with Ron Lunquist, Attorney at Law, to discuss your bankruptcy options.
You can also call our Eagan, MN office at 651-454-0007 or send us a message online to request more information.