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May 7, 2021

Filing for bankruptcy may seem like a last resort, but it can give you the financial freedom to move forward with the next chapter in your life. According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, Texas saw 4,915 bankruptcy filings in March 2021 alone. If you have decided to file for bankruptcy, you may be wondering where to start and what you need to know about the process.

At Oliva Law, we are ready to help. We understand the strain that you have already gone through in deciding to file for bankruptcy. We care about your well-being and are dedicated to helping you find a fresh start. If you live in McAllen, Texas, or the neighboring areas of Brownsville, Harlingen, Corpus Christi, or throughout the Rio Grande Valley, we are available to discuss your options with you.

How to Prepare for Filing for Bankruptcy

The first step when it comes to filing for bankruptcy is preparation. You will need to make sure everything is in order so that you can begin the process. A few steps are important to have accomplished beforehand.

First, make sure you have filed your required tax returns. This is important to ensure that you can deal with any financial obligations you have before you file. If you do not file your taxes beforehand, those debts will not be discharged.

Next, make sure that your essential bills are paid off. Not all bills are the same, and you will still have expenses after you file for bankruptcy. Be sure to stop any automatic payments as well. Creditors are supposed to stop them once they are notified that you have filed for bankruptcy, but just to make sure you are not short on necessary funds after filing, you should cease those automatic payments yourself.

Finally, you will need to document your debt information thoroughly and honestly. It is important to have everything listed out regardless of the type of bankruptcy for which you are filing. This can help figure out which debts are forgiven when you file and which ones are not. You don't want to miss anything that you could be relieved of in a bankruptcy filing that could make you owe more money later on.

Preparing for bankruptcy can make the entire process smoother, and is where an experienced bankruptcy attorney can come in to be your advocate and help you through each step.

What Not to Do Before Bankruptcy

While there are steps that you need to take to prepare for filing for bankruptcy, there are also things that you should not do prior to filing. These things include:

  1. Don’t wait until a creditor has won a judgment

  2. Don’t use a retirement account to pay debts

  3. Don’t take on any new debt

  4. Don’t move assets (such as transferring funds or property)

  5. Don’t selectively pay off some debt

Avoiding these actions can help your case look better in front of a judge when you file. It is good to speak to an attorney to make sure there are no other actions you should avoid before you file.

How a Bankruptcy Law Firm Can Help

An experienced bankruptcy law attorney can help you make sure that you are prepared to file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. They are able to assess your situation, determine the best course of action, file the appropriate forms, and appear in court on your behalf.

At Oliva Law, we over 15 years of experience in helping people put their lives back together and get out from underneath their debt. We are here to help you find relief. We serve clients in McAllen, Texas, as well as the neighboring areas of Brownsville, Harlingen, Corpus Christi, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Schedule your free consultation today!