Anxiety has been a constant companion over the last year for many people. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress for people on so many levels, including financial. Bankruptcy proceedings can be stressful for an individual even without a health crisis, but the virus complicates everything these days.
While we cannot do anything about easing the national situation, there are definitely ways that we can ease anxiety throughout the bankruptcy process. Here are some tips to face personal bankruptcy with more confidence and peace. The more you know about what you will face during bankruptcy, the better positioned you are.
The Initial Consultation
For some people, the first time they have had to go see a lawyer is when considering bankruptcy. While this may seem intimidating, the initial consultation should be informative and hopeful. Your bankruptcy attorney will speak to you about the amount of debt you have and the type of debt it represents. You will also speak about any assets you have, as well as those you would like to keep. In most cases, the initial consultation won’t cost you anything (in our office, the consultation is free).
The attorney will explain the bankruptcy options that you have, and together you will decide if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. Having a professional opinion can give you peace of mind as to your best course of action. You also don’t need to feel embarrassed, as an experienced bankruptcy attorney will have seen every situation – and they truly understand. This past year has been difficult for everyone, and you should not allow any shame or embarrassment to seep in. There are as many reasons for bankruptcy as people, such as medical bills, car repairs, home repairs, credit card debt, a lost job or career or a new home situation (such as a divorce or death).
Some may think that speaking about delinquent debts could get them in trouble, but the exact opposite is true. Your attorney will listen to your situation and keep you from getting into any adverse situations more deeply.
Most people have an aversion to sharing personal information, especially financial details. Your attorney will need financial documentation, such as credit report, bills, bank statements, pay stubs or property appraisals. You are not required to explain personal situations, especially if they are not necessarily relevant to the process.
What Hearings are Necessary?
You will be required to attend a “Meeting of Creditors” hearing, which is a meeting with an appointed bankruptcy trustee. These hearings are typically short and painless. The trustee will swear you in, ask factual questions about your financial circumstances and confirm that you have read and understand the petition. As long as you are honest and forthcoming in the information you convey, the hearing should be very low-stress.
The Bankruptcy Process
One of the first things you will need to do before and after filing bankruptcy is to attend a credit counseling class. For many, this can be accomplished via online videos and classes. You may also need to send additional financial information and documentation if the bankruptcy trustee asks for it.
Depending on the type of bankruptcy you filed, you may not have much more to do once that is done. For Chapter 7, there is no further action until discharge; while in Chapter 13 you will be making monthly payments for a three to five year period.
Try Not to Be Anxious
Bankruptcy can induce a lot of stress, which is completely understandable. However, by having the right information and professional guidance, you can walk through the process with a minimum of anxiety. If you are considering a Sarasota bankruptcy, call attorney Richard V. Ellis. After decades of representing individuals seeking bankruptcy, Richard Ellis is thoroughly qualified to assist you through the entire process.