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Not all of us are fortunate enough to have perfect credit or large savings accounts. In fact, more and more people today are finding themselves slowly sinking into debt that they find unmanageable and stressful. There have been studies done which even reveal that over half the American population has found themselves with subprime credit ratings. (Detweiler, 2015)
It is important to assess your situation and what you foresee for your financial near future to decide whether bankruptcy is the solution or if there could be other alternatives such as consolidation, credit counselling or other similar programs. However, if bankruptcy is the right choice, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or frightening.
So don’t fear, there is no need to suffer in silence and lie awake at night worrying about how you will pay your debts and still have money leftover for living. If you have been wondering how to file for bankruptcy, there are many services out there to help and you can follow these 4 steps to get the ball rolling for yourself.
Gather Your Invoices/Outstanding Debt Notices
If it helps you to get better organized in the beginning, make a list of all your outstanding and past due debts. Don’t forget any lines of credit, credit cards and even auto loans. Once you have this list, it will be easier to remember which invoices or notices you need to gather up. Try to find the most recent of all invoices so that any balances are current.
2. Check into Required Courses/Counseling Sessions
You can research online, in the yellow pages or ask family and friends for referrals, but it is best to consult a professional about any legal requirements at this point. You may need to take courses, enrol in credit counseling or whatever your local governing body has set out for this situation. Professionals can point you in the right direction.
3. Seek Legal Advice
An attorney can help you wade through all of the tedious paperwork and forms to fill out in order to file for bankruptcy and ensure everything is in order. They can advise you if there are special legal considerations for your specific situation and can also advise you as to which type of bankruptcy would work best for your debt load. They will oversee the process and then act as your Trustee once the bankruptcy has been filed.
4. Pay the Required Amounts on Time
After your attorney has assessed your current financial situation, they will advise you if you have surplus income and are required to pay monthly contributions towards your debt. This may not be required in all situations/locations. It is best to check with the professionals. However, after a specified amount time you will be debt free and can begin to work on rebuilding your credit.