What Documents Do I Need to File Bankruptcy?
When you file a Bankruptcy Petition, the case is referred to the United States Trustee Program, which is part of the United States Justice Department, and a Trustee is assigned to your case. Cases filed in Cincinnati are part of Region 9 of the United States Trustee Program and their website provides a wealth of information. Although the requirements may differ slightly from region to region, they are, for the most part, the same for Bankruptcy Cases across the entire United States.
The reporting requirements are much more voluminous in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy cases. So, this discussion will be limited to Consumer Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases and Consumer Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases as opposed to Business Bankruptcy cases. The documents you will need in order to file your case are as follows:
(1) Your Drivers License and Social Security Card. You must produce the actual cards as copies are not acceptable.
(2) A Credit Counseling Certificate. You must have a Credit Counseling Certificate demonstrating you completed Credit Counseling at an Accredited Credit Counseling Agency within 180 days before the date on which your Bankruptcy Petition is filed. In my office, we utilize the services of Abacus Credit Counseling. After your case is filed, but before it is closed, you must also complete a 2 Hour Debtor Education Course which is also available through Abacus Credit Counseling and they even file the Debtor Education Certificate with the Court for you. Abacus currently charges $25.00 for the Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Course and $35.00 for the Post-Bankruptcy Two Hour Debtor Education Course.
(3) A List of All of your Debts with copies of the most recent statement for each one. You must list all of your debts in your Bankruptcy Schedules and failing to do so can constitute a criminal act. Moreover, if you don't have a recent statement for a debt, or if it is owed to person or entity which does not provide statements, you must write down the name, address and account number for each of the debts for which you don't have a statement.
(4) Financial Account Statements. A copy of Statements for all of your Bank Accounts, Brokerage Accounts, Bond Accounts and any other Financial Account you own on the date you file your Bankruptcy Petition. In addition, you will need information about any financial accounts that were closed within 1 year of the date on which you file your Bankruptcy Case.
(5) Retirement Account Statements. You will need to obtain recent statements for all Retirement Accounts you own. This applies to retirement accounts and pensions of any kind including, but not limited to 401(k) Retirement Accounts, 403(b) Retirement Accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), Pensions, Public Employee Retirement Accounts such as OPERS and Social Security Benefit Statements.
(6) Life Insurance Policies and Annuities. You must obtain copies of your actual Life Insurance Policy or Annuity Policy as well as a statement showing the Cash Surrender Value of the Policy, if any, and the designated beneficiaries. In Ohio, Whole Life Insurance Policies with a Cash Value are only exempt if the beneficiary is your Spouse or your Child which means a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee may be able to take the Cash Value of your Life Insurance Policy if the Beneficiary is not a member of one of those two classifications.
(7) Disability Insurance Policies. If you own a Disability Insurance Policy you need to provide a copy to our office. Under the terms of some policies you may be entitled to receive lump-sum payments if you suffer certain illnesses or injuries and, depending on the amount of the benefits, you could lose some of the money to a Chapter 7 Trustee.
(8) Recorded Copies of Deeds and Mortgages to any real property you own as well as Closing Statements for any real property you sold within two years of the date on which your Bankruptcy Case is filed.
(9) Titles to All Motor Vehicles, Motorcycles, Boats and any other item of personal property that has a title such as Mobile Homes and Farm Equipment.
(10) Payoff Statements for all mortgages, car loans and other loans secured by property you own. This is necessary to determine the amount of equity you have in your property and will allow your attorney to determine if you can keep or will lose the property in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
(11) Proof of Insurance for all items of real property and personal property which are required to be insured under state law or under the terms of any security agreement.
(12) Paystubs for all paychecks you received during the six month period preceding the month in which your Bankruptcy Case is filed. For example, if you file your Bankruptcy case in July of 2019, you will need all paystubs for paychecks you received between January 1, 2019 and June 30, 2019. This information is required in order to determine if you are Above Median Income or Below Median Income for the District in which your Bankruptcy Petition is filed. If you are Above Median Income you may not be able to file a Bankruptcy Case under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code and may, instead, be forced to seek Bankruptcy Relief under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Median Income Figures are posted here on the website of the United States Trustee.
(13) Tax Returns for the Three Years Prior To The Year In Which Your Bankruptcy Case Is Filed. For example, if your case is filed in 2019, you will need Federal, State and Local Tax Returns for Tax Years 2016, 2017 and 2018. If the Income Tax Returns have not been filed, you need to file them before your Bankruptcy Petition is filed or your case could be dismissed. If the Tax Returns are not available, you can obtain Transcripts of your Federal Income Tax Returns for up to 10 years by visiting a local office of the Internal Revenue Service or by creating an account on the website of the Internal Revenue by clicking here. Ohio Tax Transcripts can be obtained on the website of the Ohio Department Taxation by clicking here. As for city and other local taxing entities, you will need to call the Tax Department of the City or Municipality in which you were required to file the Income Tax Returns.
(14) Leases and Contracts. You need to provide a copy of any and all leases and other executory contracts. This includes, but is not limited to, Apartment Leases, Car Leases and Rent-To-Own agreements.
(15) Divorce Decrees and Child Support & Alimony Orders. If you have been Divorced or owe Child Support or Alimony, you must provide a copy of the Decree of Divorce or Dissolution as well as any Child Support or Alimony Order on which you owe current or delinquent support. In addition, if you owe Child Support or Alimony, you will need to provide the name, address, phone number and Case Number for person to whom you owe the Child Support or Alimony as well as the Agency through which the support is paid or administered. For example, in Cincinnati, the Child Support and Alimony is usually paid through the Child Support Enforcement Agency of the County in which the Support Order was entered. The websites of some of the Child Support Enforcement Agencies surrounding Cincinnati can be found here: Butler County Child Support Enforcement Agency, Clermont County Child Support Enforcement Agency, Hamilton County Child Support Enforcement Agency and Warren County Child Support Enforcement Agency.
(16) Attorney Fees and Court Costs. Attorney Fees vary from case to case. My office files simple Chapter 7 Cases for as little as $800.00 in Attorney Fees. We also file Chapter 13 Cases for as little as $800.00 down with the balance of the Attorney Fees paid through your Chapter 13 Plan. The Court Costs for filing a Bankruptcy Petition vary by the Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code under which the case is filed. Currently, the Filing for for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is $335.00 and the Filing Fee for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is $310.00. All of the Court Costs and Filing Fees are set forth on website of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District which you can access by clicking here.
My office can often obtain certain documents on your behalf which will save you time and effort. Although the documentation requirements may seem daunting, we can assist you in making the process as simple and painless as possible.
If you are suffering with financial problems, please call (513) 528-0200 or send an email to Info@CincinnatiBankruptcy.com. You can also contact us with through our website by clicking here.
I look forward to helping you,