Now that I understand how the means test affects me, what do I do next?
The next steps are pretty simple. However, be warned. Most clients really do not enjoy this part, and we do all we can to help you through the process. We regularly refine our systems based on client evaluations to try to make the pre-filing process easier. We are always here to talk you through steps that you may find difficult. We’ll have as many conversations as it takes to get you through this process.
Our pre-filing process is rigorous, and that’s for a very good reason. We are only as good as the information that our clients provide to us. Every bankruptcy needs to be as complete and accurate as possible, and it’s our job together as lawyers and clients to make sure this happen.
I’ve made all that sound pretty bad didn’t I? It’s really not. You’ll have to answer several pages of questions that we guide you through. You’ll have to gather up some documents for us. You’ll have to do credit counseling (part of the fee you pay us includes the fee for credit counseling. We use Hummingbird Credit Counseling and will direct you to the site after you hire us). You’ll have to have about a 2 hour meeting to sign documents. See? Not so bad. Visit the following page for more on our bankruptcy filing fees.
Step one is coming to our office for a brief meeting that should take no more than 30 minutes. You’ll be given a short bankruptcy questionnaire as well as information on how to do credit counseling. We’ll also explain what documents we need from you as every case is different. There’s no need for you to fill out a zillion pages of forms, our questionnaire is 11 pages long and most questions don’t apply to most folks. We’ll get your credit report at that meeting and it will be your job to make sure that there is nothing missing. We’ll also direct you on how to get credit counseling done.
Once you’ve completed that for us, we need 5-7 business days to get your case ready. We want your case filing to be as complete and accurate as possible. First our non-lawyer staff enters all the data to create your bankruptcy. Our staff has been trained to spot common mistakes or omissions and you may get a call from our non-lawyer staff asking you to explain the occasional answer or fill in a gap.
Once the data entry is completed, one of our lawyers reviews the file. We will often have clarifying questions and sometimes request some other information from you. Once our review is done we call you to schedule a meeting. Your bankruptcy case papers are always signed at a meeting with one of our attorneys, not non-lawyer staff.
At this meeting, we have our final review of your bankruptcy papers. By the time your case has been filed, the information will have been closely reviewed 4 times: once by you, once by our non-lawyer staff, once by one of our attorneys, and a final review as you and the attorney look over everything together prior to your case being filed. This meeting should take 2 hours at most and you’ll go home with a filed bankruptcy.
For more information on bankruptcy, read our guide:
The Bankruptcy Guide
Part 1 - How to File for Bankruptcy'
Part 2 - Means Testing, Median Income and 'Safe Harbor'
Part 3 - Formal Means Testing
Part 4 - Bankruptcy Pre-filing
Part 5 - Post-filing - set date for meeting of creditors
Part 6 - I survived the creditors meeting, am I finished?
Part 7 - Now that I’ve received my discharge, what do I do?