What documents do I need to file in a chapter 7 case?

You need to file these forms, all of which are best prepared by an attorney:

  • the bankruptcy petition;
  • a list of creditors;
  • a schedule of assets and liabilities;
  • a schedule of current income and current expenditures;
  • a statement of your financial affairs;
  • a certificate from the attorney or bankruptcy petition preparer (if there is one) indicating that you received a notice describing the different bankruptcy chapters and the services available from the credit counseling agencies as well as a statement specifying that anyone who knowingly or fraudulently conceals assets or makes a false statement under oath is subject to fine, imprisonment or both (if no one assisted you, then you must file a certificate that such notice was received from the court and read by you);
  • copies of all pay stubs received by you within 60 days before filing;
  • a statement of your monthly net income itemized to show how it is calculated;
  • a statement disclosing a reasonably anticipated increase in income or expenditures over the following 12 months;
  • if you have property that secures a debt, such as a car or home, a statement of intention with respect to treatment of the property in bankruptcy;
  • a certificate from the approved non-profit budget and credit counseling agency that describes the services provided to you and a copy of the debt repayment plan, if any, developed by that agency;
  • a record of any interest that you have in an individual retirement account;
  • an analysis of the means test.

If you fail to file all information noted above, with the exception of the last four, within 45 days of filing the petition, the case will be automatically dismissed.

Your attorney will need certain information from you to file these documents with the court, which is listed below.

Information to Take With You When Consulting a Bankruptcy Attorney

  • A copy of every bill or letter you have received from a collection agency;
  • A copy of any lawsuit or pleading you have received in a case in which you are involved;
  • Two pay stubs representing an average pay period (include pay stubs for your spouse, even if he/she is not filing bankruptcy with you);
  • Deeds to real estate in which you have any (even a partial) interest (including real estate you are purchasing or that you already own);
  • The original or memorandum title for any cars, trucks, trailers, boats, motorcycles, mobile or motor homes you own or are purchasing, or other documents showing the value of your assets;
  • Appraisals of your home, jewelry, etc., if you have them;
  • Any policies of life insurance you have on your life, and/or the life of your spouse or children (where possible, you should contact the agent who sold you the policy and find out if the policy has any “cash surrender value.” If your policy has “cash surrender value,” please provide your attorney with that value);
  • Income Tax Returns filed in the previous two years.
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