Knowledge Is Power. Learning Your Options Is Free.
If you wish to consider bankruptcy or other debt relief options, there are several steps to consider.
The first step is to print a copy of the new client questionnaire and first appointment checklist. As you will see, you will be asked to provide personal information, but rest assured, your information is always kept highly confidential. Any information you share with Mrs. Randle and team during your appointment is subject to the attorney-client privilege, regardless of whether you go forward with a bankruptcy filing.
In addition to the client questionnaire and the documents that are listed, please bring photo identification and your Social Security card to your appointment. If you don’t have an official Social Security card, you can bring a paystub, health insurance card or any “official” document showing the full social security number.
What To Expect At Your First Appointment
Mrs. Randle or her staff will meet with you one-on-one to assess your financial circumstances and listen to your goals and concerns. Based on the information you provide in your new client questionnaire and during your office visit, Mrs. Randle will advise you if bankruptcy is right for you. If bankruptcy is not a good option, she will consult with you about other legal avenues you may wish to consider.
If bankruptcy appears to be a good solution, Ms. Randle will discuss the different bankruptcy chapters that may apply. She will educate you on the process and discuss what additional information or documentation is needed to proceed.
During your initial appointment, you may also meet with a legal assistant who will help you in completing your paperwork and gathering documents. They can also assist you in running a credit report and review it with you. You should plan to spend approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours at your appointment, depending upon the organization and completeness of the information you provide.
Additional Office Appointments
At your initial consult, you will leave with a checklist of actions that are needed to complete the process of filing for bankruptcy. You will also be given certain disclosures and explanations that explain your rights and obligations during the period of time your case is pending. You will also be provided with a contract for services that sets out, in a detailed, easy-to-understand format exactly what Mrs. Randle and her team will provide for you during the legal process. They will also fully explain if there are any services excluded from your representation, so you can be completely confident in the contract you sign. You should review all documents carefully and make sure you have left with all of your questions answered. You will receive a copy of the paperwork you sign, typically in electronic form. Should you need documents during the course of your bankruptcy, they will be available upon request.
Documents Needed Before Filing Your Case
The information provided is intended to assist you in gathering information and documents that will be needed in order to file a bankruptcy case. Mrs. Randle understands that the thought of gathering and reviewing the information below may be stressful, so her goal is to provide you with resources that make the process easier. During any time in the process, Mrs. Randle and her team are readily accessible, especially by email, to answer questions and address concerns as they arise.
Note: All the documents discussed below ARE NOT required before scheduling an office appointment with Mrs. Randle. Simply understand that the more information you provide, the better Ms. Randle will be able to educate you as to your financial options.
The office will need your most recent pay stub showing year-to-date income and withholding information. She will also need documents showing the breakdown of the last six months of pay from all sources. Many times your human resources or personnel department has the information readily available; they may even have a website where you can retrieve your pay stubs. Mrs. Randle will need the address for your employer’s payroll department, which may differ from your physical work location. If you are self-employed, please provide a summary of your year-to-date gross receipts and an itemization of business expenses. Fill out the income/expense questionnaire to get started.
Monthly Expense Information
In order to determine your financial options, Mrs. Randle will need accurate budget information. You may wish to consult your check register, bank statements or monthly billing statements to determine a monthly average of what is paid throughout the year. You should also list your current monthly payments for your mortgage, vehicles and finance companies. It is NOT necessary to list payments on your unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, etc. but having an overall total in each category of debt is helpful.
Please provide tax returns for the last two years. Please make sure to bring the entire return with all Schedules and bring any returns for your businesses, if applicable. The law requires you to be current on your tax return filings, although you do not have to be current on what is owed to the IRS. If you do not have your records, you should contact your tax preparer and authorize them to release the information to you or to our office by fax or email.
You can visit IRS.gov and order your tax transcripts, which are summaries of your tax returns. They will be mailed to your residence within 7-10 business days. For same day service, you can visit the local IRS office near East Gate Mall in Chattanooga to make the request.
You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from all three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These three reports may be obtained through www.annualcreditreport.com. Please note that you will be given the opportunity to buy your credit rating and other products; however, you do not have to do so and they are not necessary to file bankruptcy.
If you have already received a copy of your free report within the last 12 months, we can also retrieve your information from free services, such as Credit Karma. Be sure to bring your username and password to your appointment or email us a copy of the report so we will have access to it. Married couples should bring a report(s) showing information regarding both spouses.
Although credit reports are useful in determining your creditors, it is not as accurate as providing a statement from each creditor or copying this information onto the new client questionnaire. Just make sure what you bring reflects the following: the creditor’s name, payment address, account numbed the amount you owe. Avoid bringing duplicate statements; however, if your debt has been turned over to an attorney or collection agency, please bring the most recent collection letter so we can notify them as well. Finally, if you have been served with a lawsuit, foreclosure paperwork, have been divorced in the last 10 years or have a judgment against you, please bring the official documents to our office.
NOTE: “Creditors” are anyone to whom you owe or may owe money. This includes banks, credit cards, finance companies, check advances and title loan facilities, mortgages, friends and family members. The law requires you to list every creditor in your bankruptcy petition. It does not matter if you have a written agreement, nor does it matter whether you wish to continue paying the debt. Further, if someone claims you owe them money or they may have a claim against you for any reason, even if you disagree, you should list these individuals or companies.
Personal Items You Own
As part of the bankruptcy process, you will be required to list the items of property you own, even if you are still paying for them and/or desire to keep them. The asset worksheet will help you in knowing what to include. You will also be asked to estimate the value of these items. The value for household goods and other personal items should be based on yard sale or consignment store prices instead of replacement costs or sentimental value. For real estate values, please bring a “tax appraisal card” from the county or a recent private appraisal. For vehicle values, you may wish to print the information you obtain from Kelly Blue Book or National Automotive Dealers Association. If you are uncertain of value, please simply list the items and we will assist you at your appointment.
Credit Counseling Certificate
Before you are eligible to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you must receive a certificate from a credit counseling course from an approved agency. The purpose of the course is to review your budget and to provide you with an overview of options that may be available. The course will also serve to familiarize you with terms you may hear while considering bankruptcy.
This is a course that can be completed online or by phone. The cost of the course ranges from $9.99 to $50.00 depending on the agency you use or the method of instruction chosen. We will provide you with information about the course at your initial office meeting
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.