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Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

What Should I Bring With Me?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: June 25, 2014

When filing bankruptcy, time is of the essence. Because the sooner you file, the sooner you can recover garnished wages, stop creditors from calling and harassing you, and get the protection of the automatic stay, which can stop eviction, foreclosure, or having utilities shut off.

While you technically do not need to bring anything with you, it helps to bring as much information as possible. The key is to show up and get started on finding out your financial options.

One way you can expedite this process is by being organized and prepared when you are ready to meet with your attorney. At an initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney, you want to get a feel for the attorney, their experience, and their areas of specialty.

Here are some ways you can be prepared for an initial consultation for bankruptcy:

  • Know What Your Gross Income has been for each month of the previous 6 months. An important driving factor is a financial analysis called “The Means Test.” The Means Test is a mechanical financial limit based on the number of people in your household and your gross income from all source. It is not based on what you “take home.” It’s based on the pre-tax income amount. So, its a good idea to bring your paystubs for the previous 6 moths.
  • Have a pen and paper handy. You won’t be able to remember everything from that meeting, so bring something to take notes with and write down important information and items you need to follow up on.
  • Prepare an accurate list of all your debt. Collect all the of the information on your debts and have it together in an organized format that is easy to read. Also bring any foreclosure or collection notices you have received.
  • List your assets. Compile a list of everything you own, including stocks, vehicles, property, bank accounts and retirement accounts. If you are due to receive inheritance of any kind, or have already received some, include that with your assets.
  • Remember the important paperwork. Bring tax returns for the past two years, pay stubs for the past 6 months, a copy of your credit report, and the deed to your home or other property you own. If you are divorced, bring your divorce decree with you.

Over the past 22 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 2,300 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More