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How to begin a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing

For many Tennesseans, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be intimidating. The decision to file can carry cultural baggage. The process may intimidate the uninitiated, but like most things, the fear is worse than the reality. In the end, the result is a fresh financial start. To learn more about starting the journey from debt-plagued to debt-free, keep reading.

Begin by compiling financial information. Once a complete snapshot of assets, debts and other liabilities has been assembled, it is time to fill out a bankruptcy petition and file it with the bankruptcy court. There are many bankruptcy courts. Readers should file their petition with the court that serves the area they live.

The petition is not the only item that needs to be filed. Along with the petition, a person must submit several other documents, including a statement of financial affairs, a schedule of assets and liabilities, a schedule of income and expenditures and a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases.

Following the filing, a trustee will be appointed to oversee the case. A person will need to provide the trustee certain information. This information will depend on the situation. For example, people with large consumer debts will need to provide, among other things, pay stubs for the 60 days before filing, a statement of monthly income or expenses after filing and a certificate of credit counseling (including a copy of the debt repayment plan, if any, developed during counseling).

In sum, the bankruptcy court expects a lot of information. And, if it does not get everything it wants, the omitted information can come back to haunt a filer.

Fortunately, the process can be navigated -- especially with help. Those interested in learning more about the process and how to successfully complete it may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Source: FindLaw.com, “Chapter 7: How It Works,” accessed on May 17, 2016

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