When you meet with a Minnesota bankruptcy attorney to begin filing for bankruptcy, there are a number of documents that you must provide. Providing these documents is required by the law.
It can be frustrating having to gather and organize these documents. The basis behind the law is for these reasons:
- there should be adequate records to support the discharge of your debts in bankruptcy,
- creditors (people to whom you owe money) should have a right to know whether you have any assets and, if possible, be able to challenge your efforts to discharge your debts to them, and
- if you do not fully and accurately disclose this information, your debts may not be discharged, or if you are found to have hid or misrepresented information during bankruptcy, your debts can be revived later due to your fraud.
To obtain a discharge of your debts in bankruptcy, you should bring (and much of this must be filed):
- a list of all of your creditors (anyone who you owe money to or anyone who claims you owe them money) including their contact information, how much you owe, and records/documents related to those debts,
- a list of all of your assets (stuff you own) and liabilities (financial obligations),
- financial information regarding your current income and current expenses,
- a statement regarding your financial affairs,
- copies or evidence of payments received in the 60 days prior to filing for bankruptcy,
- a statement regarding your monthly income, noting how it was calculated,
- a statement regarded your expected monthly income over the next 12 months
- the last 7 months of pay stubs, pay records, or, for businesses, the gross revenue/expenses stated monthly.
- your plan for repaying debts, if any (section 109 h),
- your federal tax return for the past two years in which you filed taxes including the W2s and/or 1099s for those years (often these are attached when you file your taxes),
- proof of your identity (driver’s license, etc.), and
- proof that you have attended credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency.
The law provides much greater detail regarding what must be filed during bankruptcy here: 11 U.S.C. section 521.
What happens if I leave out some information or documents?
Your Minnesota bankruptcy attorney cannot give you accurate legal advice unless the attorney has accurate information. If you hide information during the bankruptcy process, the consequences may include
- having the bankruptcy voided,
- having to pay the trustee’s legal fees for the bankruptcy process,
- facing criminal prosecution, and
- being fined (financial penalties/sanctions).
Thus, it is very important that you communicate honestly and fully with your attorney. As you know, the attorney works for you and has a legal obligation to be loyal to you and work towards your best interests.