Dos and Don’ts Before Filing Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is designed to give you a fresh start. Do it right. Doing it right starts before you file!


A credit counseling course is a requirement before you file. Do take it, whether online or over the phone.

Collect your financial statements. You need proof of income, bank statements, two years of tax returns, lawsuit information for any cases against you, a credit report, and a mortgage and car loan statement. You may also be asked for copies of bills and collection letters.

Opening a new bank account is helpful. If you do your banking where you owe money, the bank may close your existing account when you file.

After you have hired an attorney refer collection calls to him or her.

Ask your attorney for guidance. Tell him or her of any changes to your status.


Don’t pay any money back to family or friends unless you have already discussed this with your lawyer. Tell your attorney if you have done this within the year.

Don’t repay debts from retirement accounts. It is not to your advantage.

Don’t transfer anything of value such as cars, real estate, or money to friends or family unless you have discussed it first with your attorney.

Don’t take out a loan on a new vehicle soon before filing. It can impact when you may file.

Don’t acquire new debt including credit card debt. An exception may be unexpected medical debt and basic living expenses such as groceries and gas.

Don’t ignore any lawsuit that is filed against you. Notify your lawyer immediately.

If you realize you’ve done something you shouldn’t have, let your attorney know right away. Don’t try to fix your mistake, it will very possibly make it worse.

Above are some of the more common mistakes that debtors make before filing for bankruptcy. More mistakes are commonly made by debtors who represent themselves than by those who retain a bankruptcy attorney. Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process. Shoffner & Associates is very experienced in bankruptcy law. Contact them for guidance if you are considering filing for bankruptcy.

With the right help, you are more likely to succeed. The attorneys at Shoffner & Associates will be happy to help you.

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