Filing for protection under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code requires providing the court with financial documents. Before you can file, you’ll need to compile key documents. Refusing to do so impedes the process of your case and in rare situations, leads to criminal consequences.
Some documents are necessary to file a petition under Chapter 7. Others are required once the petition has been filed. To avoid putting your discharge at risk, discuss your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Disclosing all assets and financial information to your lawyer is key. Your attorney understands the process and can advise you on what documents are required in a Jacksonville Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Income Documentation in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The process of preparing a bankruptcy petition starts by documenting your income. This includes pay stubs from the six months prior to the bankruptcy filing and your last two W-2 forms.
The process is different if you are self-employed. Due to the lack of pay stubs from an employer, you’ll need to provide profit and loss statements for the two years prior to filing. Additionally, the court usually requires additional verification through company bank records. Finally, the trustee will demand the completion of a business questionnaire.
Documentation is not limited to direct earnings. Prior to filing, you must provide proof of all sources of income including government benefits like disability or social security benefits and passive income from investments or rental property.
In addition to proof of income documents, tax returns for the past three years prior to filing Chapter 7 are also required. If you haven’t filed taxes prior to bankruptcy, you’ll have to address your tax situation before moving forward. The bankruptcy trustee will move to dismiss your case if you fail to file your last three years of tax returns. Your lawyer can provide the name of a qualified tax professional who can help you get any unfiled returns completed in time to satisfy the bankruptcy requirements.
Proof of Completion of Credit Counseling
Before filing for bankruptcy, you are required to complete a credit counseling course. The lack of documentary proof of this course can result in the dismissal of your Chapter 7 case. Almost without exception, the credit counseling certificate must be completed prior to or the same day as the commencement of the bankruptcy case.
Real Estate Valuation Documents
In Jacksonville, there are additional documents that the owners of real property are required to present when filing for bankruptcy, including a valuation of any non-homestead real property by an appraiser or other professional. Additionally, the trustee may require mortgage statements that set out the number of monthly payments and the total outstanding debt. In some cases, a trustee might even require proof of homeowner’s insurance on the property.
Discuss Required Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Documentation with a Jacksonville Attorney
Ensuring that you have compiled all of the documents necessary to file for bankruptcy protection is best done with the help of a legal professional. While you have the right to pursue bankruptcy on your own, the consequences of omitting even one important document could be detrimental.
An experienced attorney is invaluable in assisting you with gathering the required documents for your Jacksonville Chapter 7 bankruptcy. From tax records to employment documentation, legal counsel reviews your documents before filing to ensure they are complete. Schedule an initial consultation to learn more today.