You need an Arizona Bankruptcy lawyer. You have made the decision. You decided to file for bankruptcy in Arizona. What steps should you take before going to see a lawyer?
Planning is crucial for bankruptcy and people need to educate themselves about their debt and plan for their financial future. Bankruptcy is definitely a part of that.
So planning is the first step.
How much do you make? Ask yourself that question. And more to the point go and gather up six months of paycheck stubs. Do the math on that. How much do you really earn?
The other thing you want to look at is your tax returns. Find them. Track them down. File them if you need to. Sometimes in some bankruptcies, mainly Chapter 7, you can discharge, meaning you can get rid of, some of your taxes depending on how old they are.
And in Chapter 13 you can repay and that may be the only thing that you’re repaying is lost taxes.
So taxes are crucial. Find the last two years of tax returns and file them if you need to.
The other thing that you should be looking at is making a list of all your debts. Do you have debts that are owed on the car or house? Do you have a boat that you need to pay on or a RV? Separate the debts that are credit cards and personal lines of credit versus those debts that are secured.
Cars are usually secured by a loan. That’s secured debt. House’s are secured by a mortgage. That’s more secured debt. So make a list of your secured debts.
The next thing you want to do is look at any law suits. Do you have any legal proceedings that are pending? What are the dates on those law suits? Have they already gone to judgment? Have they been recorded? Gather up all that information.
And start making phone calls. Start talking to those creditors. You may not be willing to pay them obviously, but find out what your deadlines are. Those are going to be important in your bankruptcy.
Finally, there’s a lot of information on the Internet. The internet is a really important source. So again with planning, there are a lot of free Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy tests. Take one. There’s one on the Arizona Legal Advocacy site at ArizonaLegalAdvocacy.com. You’ll find it on the bankruptcy home page. Take a look at that. Fill that out. Tinker with it if you choose to.
Do you qualify for Chapter 7 or would you want to repay under a Chapter 13?
Finally, you probably have a car. You might even have more than one, which you can have in bankruptcy. The key question is what’s it worth? How do you find that out, Kelley Blue Book. Another great source on the Internet.
Do you have a house? Think about that. Is there any equity in that home? You can protect it. But first find out how much. Or, a more pressing problem for a lot of people right now in Arizona is their house is upside down, they owe more than it is worth. Find out how much your home is worth and a great source for that is Zillow.com. Take a look and find out.
All this is about educating yourself and planning just like you do anything in life. Planning to buy a house? That’s a big expense. You plan to do that. Planning for retirement? You plan to do that as well, and finally, planning for your bankruptcy.
If you’re going to file in Arizona, it’s a good idea to brush up on the Arizona bankruptcy court website. It’s got a lot of information there about your household goods, your jewelry, and your watch. Maybe you have personal belongings. Maybe you have art. Maybe you have valuable things.
Check out the Arizona bankruptcy court website. I suggest it because they have a frequently asked questions section with lots and lots of very valuable information there. It is completely worth taking a look at.
Finally, let’s say you’ve looked at the Arizona bankruptcy website and you realize you can only have one watch worth no more than $150. Maybe you have a couple more, find out how much they’re worth.
Bankruptcy court has an interesting way of determining the value of things. They actually use a very simple formula. Garage sale prices, yard sale prices, a tag sale. What maybe that item might be worth to say the Salvation Army or Goodwill. I always suggest people go to e-Bay for things that they think are valuable.
Take a look because that’s what the court is going to rely on. Not what you hope to get for the item or what you think it may be worth but what you have to get for it if you sold it right away.