Documents & Forms Needed for Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The average Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can require as many as 30 documents to give a total financial picture of the person filing bankruptcy. Working with an attorney can help make the process of gathering the correct paperwork for bankruptcy together to prepare to file for bankruptcy.
Attorney John E. Dunlap and his staff walk clients through the process of getting documents needed to file Chapter 7 and answer one of the most important questions for bankruptcy filing: what documents do I need to file chapter 7?
As part of the process of filing for Chapter 7, you’ll have to prepare documentation about your finances, not just what debts you owe.
While each bankruptcy case is unique and an experienced attorney can advise you what documents you’ll need for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy for your particular needs, we use the following Chapter 7 checklist to help our clients get started on Chapter 7 paperwork.
Chapter 7 Document Checklist
During a free initial strategy session, we may be able to help you understand your options for filing bankruptcy. There are a few differences between the documents needed for a Chapter 7 and the paperwork for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.
Gathering documents together can also help you better understand how Chapter 7 may benefit your situation and help you make a plan for managing your finances after you’re debt-free. We ask our clients to help gather the following documents to help us prepare their Chapter 7 filing, although other documents may also be needed:
- Two pay stubs
- Tax returns for previous two years
- Every bill or letter you’ve received from collections
- Notices of any lawsuits or pleadings you’ve been involved in
- Real estate deeds, including those you have partial interest in, and/or mortgage letters
- Titles for any cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, boats, motor homes and/or payment letters
- Life insurance policies
- Appraisals of your real estate, jewelry, and other assets if you have them
These documents are a good starting place when it comes to preparing to file Chapter 7 and can help you understand if you qualify for a Chapter 7 through the means test.
What paperwork is filed for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
After gathering the above, an experience bankruptcy attorney helps you prepare the documents needed to file Chapter 7 that will be sent to the court. This includes forms required for filing bankruptcy as well as documents about your finances.
It’s important to understand that these documents must be provided within 45 days of filing the petition or the court may dismiss the bankruptcy. Creditors can then resume collection efforts.
The documents filed for Chapter 7 can include the following information:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition
- List of assets and liabilities
- List of creditors
- Your current income and expenses
- Pay stubs for 60 days before filing
- Monthly net income
- Disclosure of increases in income or expenses over the next year
There are other documents required as part of filing for Chapter 7 as well that may be needed in for your bankruptcy filing, including statements about your financial affairs.
Be prepared to bring a range of documents to demonstrate your financial situation when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In addition to the documentation listed above, the bankruptcy process may require additional documents such as:
- Your driver’s license or state ID card and social security card, as well as your certificate of credit counseling completion, if you have one.
- Six months’ worth of paycheck stubs, or account statements from your business as a freelancer or independent contractor.
- Your tax return for the last year.
- Paperwork regarding the different types of debt you’re facing, including secured debts and insecure debts, such as your current mortgage, car loan debt, student loan debt, tax debt, and medical debts. Please have all the addresses of these creditors.
More Documents You May Need
The first step you’ll go through with your bankruptcy lawyer is to gather the appropriate bankruptcy paperwork. Timing is crucial, as once you file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition, you have only 45 days to submit the required bankruptcy forms. So it makes sense to go ahead and gather as much information as you can, such as:
- A detailed list of assets and liabilities.
- A list of creditors that you owe, including names, addresses, contact information and amounts owed— a credit report would be handy to bring to your first meeting with your bankruptcy lawyer.
- A list of real and personal property.
- Your income and expenses, including that from disability or SSI and child support.
- Income and expense increase disclosures for a year past filing.
- Information about any legal matters you’re involved in at the time of filing bankruptcy, or of upcoming matters you may become involved in.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Forms
Here are a few common bankruptcy forms you might need, depending on your circumstances:
- B 101 Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy or B 105 Involuntary Petition Against an Individual
- B 106 Sum A Summary of Your Assets and Liabilities and Certain Statistical Information
- B 106A/B Schedule A/B: Property
- B 107 Your Statement of Financial Affairs for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy
- B 122A-2 Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation (not always used)
Additional Documents for the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee
The Bankruptcy Trustee will often request certain documents such as:
- Valuations of rare or collectible possessions.
- Divorce orders or marital settlement paperwork.
- Additional financial documentation if you own a business.
- Any paperwork regarding your financial situation.
Attorney John E. Dunlap has filed thousands of Chapter 7 bankruptcies over the 20 years he has practiced law, helping clients in the greater Memphis area to get the paperwork together for their Chapter 7 filing. We offer free 30-minute strategy sessions to help clients understand their options to get out of debt and find a path forward. Call us to schedule yours today.