If your financial situation is dire, you might be ready to just give up and file for bankruptcy so you can start over. But filing for bankruptcy can have long-lasting effects on your financial future, so it's never a decision you should take lightly. Here are a few things you should do prior to filing for bankruptcy to make sure you are truly prepared for what is to come.
Pull Your Credit Report and Go Over It Line by Line
You should have a complete understanding of what is going on with your finances before you go into bankruptcy court. Get your credit report from all three bureaus and make sure all of the information is completely accurate. It's rare, but it might be possible that you are being hounded by bill collector that no longer has the legal right to request money from you because too much time has passed. That or another error on your report could have you thinking you are in worse shape than you actually are.
Get Professional Credit Counseling
A professional credit counselor will be able to look at all of your finances and debts and may be able to come up with a few creative ways for you to pay back your creditors without filing for bankruptcy. For example, you could get a credit consolidation that could bring your interest rates under control When you go for the counseling, make sure you obtain a credit counseling certificate as this step is often required anyway once you go into bankruptcy court.
Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney
The exact rules and regulations for bankruptcy can vary by state, and there are actually multiple different types of bankruptcy that you can file for. If you want to stay on top of this situation, you need an expert on your side, and that's where a bankruptcy attorney can be a big help. Go over all of your paperwork with your attorney one last time before filing to make sure you have covered all of the bases and are out of all other options.
Filing for bankruptcy is never fun, but it can help you push the reset button on your life and give you a fresh start. Just make sure you need to file for bankruptcy before you push forward. Pull your credit report, get professional credit counseling and go over your situation with a lawyer before you head to court.