What to Do Before Filing for Bankruptcy

There is a lot of misinformation out there that leads people to believe that bankruptcy is the best – or only – option when it comes to resolving financial disaster.

And in some cases it is. But it is important to always do your homework before making any major financial decision.

While bankruptcy can relieve you of unsecured debts, stop foreclosure proceedings, and put a halt to debt collection activity, it does come at steep price. So if you are contemplating filing for bankruptcy, you may want to consider these steps before filing.

1. Do Your Homework

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, then you want to make sure you do your research. You should read as much as possible so you understand the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and whether any alternative solutions may be a better fit for your case. There may be a debt solutions program out there that can help you get out of debt faster and do less damage to your credit. If you do decide to proceed with filing for bankruptcy, you’ll want to make sure you know about all the consequences of bankruptcy once you have filed. How long will it be on your credit report? Will your employer(s) know? How will it affect your ability to get a credit card? You should know the answers to all of these questions before you choose to file.

2. Reevaluate Your Budget and Finances

Once you have a better understanding of bankruptcy and what’s involved, it is important to reassess your budget and finances. Are you following a strict budget? You’ll want to consider whether cutting back on non-essential expenses and following a strict budget can help you avoid bankruptcy by allowing you to slowly pay off your debts. Our firm generally advises that bankruptcy be considered as a last resort when you can no longer afford basic necessities.

3. Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report

No matter the state of your finances, it is essential to check your credit reports on a regular basis. You can obtain all 3 credit reports (Experian, TransUnion, & Equifax) free of charge, once a year. Your credit reports matter and it is important to thoroughly check them often. Reviewing your credit reports regularly will help you stay on top of your finances and catch signs of identity theft.

4. Devise a Battle Plan

Attack your finances head on and to the best of your ability before choosing bankruptcy. Consider focusing on the highest interest rate debts and making frequent payments. Cut out excess expenses such as gym memberships, negotiate your cable and phone bills – do whatever you can to save extra cash. If that means getting a side-hustle to help pay down your debt, then so be it.  Go through each category of your expenses and work to pay them down. You may even want to consider tapping into your emergency fund to help get you started.

5. Schedule a Consultation with an Attorney

Before making a final decision, you may want to speak with an attorney. Most debt relief and bankruptcy attorneys have free, no-obligation phone consultations. Consider giving them a call and explaining your situation. When choosing an attorney, get a referral from a family member or friend who has worked with one in the past or look for an established firm that specializes in debt resolution and has positive customer reviews.

Bankruptcy should always be seen as a last resort in solving financial problems. Filing for bankruptcy is more of a drastic choice than many people realize and there are alternatives that create a much stronger financial foundation. If at any time you wish to learn more about the pros and cons of declaring bankruptcy and whether you are eligible for alternative solutions, we can schedule for you (at no cost) a consultation with an attorney in our firm.

It is important to consider all possible options before filing for bankruptcy. Try your best to first improve your situation, speak to a professional and attack your debt. Are you considering bankruptcy? Have you acted quickly? What steps have you taken to pay down your debt? Comment below!

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  • I like when you said to make sure you consult with a professional before you file bankruptcy. It makes sense that doing this would help you understand the laws that could help you as well as helping you develop a plan. I can understand how this can help the process go smoothly and help you regain what you want.

  • It’s a great point that most debt relief and bankruptcy attorneys will consult with clients for up to an hour completely free of charge. Many debtors don’t know this, and think that they can’t afford a lawyer to help them out of their financial mess. The truth is that many attorneys are ready and willing to help clients find a payment plan that works!

  • I agree that when it comes to filing bankruptcy it is important to devise the best plan to help you with the process. It is important to remember that hiring the right attorney can help facilitate and avoid unnecessary stress for you. I can see how making sure you hire the right person can help the process be smoother and help you get the most out of it.

    • Jimmy Ingrilli Jimmy Ingrilli /

      John & Teresa, thanks for the feedback!
      Many believe bankruptcy is their only way out of debt, however an attorney can help you better understand your particular debt situation and help you make the right steps. Whether that step is bankruptcy or one of many alternative solutions, they can make the process a bit easier for you.

  • Bankruptcy attorneys aren’t necessarily there to talk you into filing for bankruptcy, but rather to help you understand when to file, if you must. It is good to know that it can be as easy as calling in for advice. As you said, consulting should always be part of the process before filing.

  • Thanks for the advice on what to do before you file for bankruptcy. My wife and I are not doing too well in the business world and so it is important for us to take precautionary measures to ensure that we are covered. I had no idea that you could consult with an attorney at any time before you actually do anything. Thanks again for the suggestions!

  • I loved when you talked about the importance of making sure you do your research when thinking into filing bankruptcy. It is important to remember that knowing what to expect can help you avoid problems that could cost you a lot later on. As I see it, It is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer that specializes in cases like these and knows how to handle yours.

    • Jimmy Ingrilli Jimmy Ingrilli /

      Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment! Yes, it’s so important to research the pros/cons of bankruptcy, how it will affect someone, and what alternatives there can be.

  • It’s great that this article talks about going through your expense so that you can work to pay your debt down. If you know where your money is going, it could help you be able to figure out what you need to do. You’d probably want to constantly be doing this so that you can notice when you need to file for bankruptcy as soon as possible, which would allow you to figure out what attorney to get and anything else you need to do.

    • Jimmy Ingrilli Jimmy Ingrilli /

      Hi Tiffany,
      Thanks for the comment! We agree. When you know where your money is going, you can better understand where to make cutbacks which will free up some cash. Cash that can be used to help pay down debt. It all starts with a budget.

      At TLG we believe bankruptcy should be seen as a last resort. Everyone’s debt situation is different. Bankruptcy might not be the best option for everyone.

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