Bankruptcy Do’s and Don’ts
Living a life saddled with debt can not only be stressful, but exhausting. Not only that, but it’s incredibly difficult to determine what the best course of action is while fending off endless calls and aggressive creditors knocking at your door. Although most would prefer to solve their financial obligations on their own, sometimes that simply isn’t possible, and bankruptcy is the only option.
Deciding to take a realistic and action-step oriented path to financial recovery can save a great deal of anxiety and heartache. That is why it’s incredibly important you understand the do’s and don’ts of bankruptcy before you commit to filing anything. Knowing what not to do can save you from making major mistakes that could endanger your finances and assets. Plus, having a thorough understanding of bankruptcy will make the whole process seem less daunting.
The best way to file for bankruptcy is to work with an experienced Ohio or Kentucky attorney. Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer with extensive financial knowledge who can analyze your current situation will save you hours and hours of time and stress. They can examine your finances, credit history and other various factors and develop the most efficient course of action.
Cincinnati Lawyer Explains What to Do Before Filing Bankruptcy
The attorneys at [firm] are well versed about bankruptcy and can prove it to with our record of thousands of successful case filings. Eric Steiden and his team have been practicing law for over 26 years, which has given us a studied and in-depth understanding of how the process works. We strive to work tirelessly for our clients and keep close attention to all the tiny details involved in their case.
With our proactive, aggressive and thorough approach, the lawyers at [firm] can provide quality and cost-effective representation for you. [firm] has locations in both Cincinnati, Ohio and parts of Northern Kentucky, with one location in Covington and the other in Florence.
Our convenient offices give clients a chance to meet with their attorney without traveling an exceptional distance. We serve people around the greater Ohio area including Montgomery County, Greene County, Preble County, Darke County, Highlands County, Miami County, Hamilton County, Butler County, Clermont County, Warren County, Clinton County, Shelby County, Champaign County, Clark County, Brown County, Adams County, Lawrence County, and Scioto County, Ohio.
We also accept clients in Kenton County, Boone County, Campbell County, Gallatin County, Grant County, Pendleton County, Bracken County, Robertson County, Mason County, in the state of Kentucky.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Bankruptcy in Ohio
What NOT to Do When Filing for Bankruptcy in Ohio
- Don’t Play the Waiting Game – When your finances get out of control, it can be really tempting to ignore your financial situation and pretend it isn’t happening. However, if you disregard letters, court documents and phone calls you are just endangering your financial health even more. The longer you wait the worse the consequences are and then the situation will even be harder to recover from.
- Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have – From this point on, you need to be very careful and intentional when you spend your money. It’s important you avoid large purchases off credit or commit any major decision like buying a house. If you purchase expensive items or property prior to filing bankruptcy, then the court could suspect you of committing fraud or acting in bad faith.
- Don’t Leave Out Your Second Job – It’s important you disclose all your steams of income when filing for bankruptcy. That includes your second or part-time job you must have to keep things afloat. If you’re claiming a person as a dependent during your bankruptcy, then it’s required you list their income as well.
- Don’t Transfer Property – Many borrowers attempt to protect their assets by transferring their property into someone else’s name. We highly encourage you not to do this because it could be seen as trying to hide assets from your creditors. Creditors can then bring this evidence to the court and your case could be dismissed altogether.
- Don’t Attempt to Sell Your Property Prior to Filing – Some people will sell their property before they file for bankruptcy to pay off their debts. However, we would advise against that. You won’t be reducing the amount you owe by selling your property and could end up still having to pay double what you owe as a result.
- Don’t Leave Our Any Creditors from Your Petition – Borrowers have attempted to reduce the amount of debt they owe by not listing all the creditors involved. This isn’t a wise decision. If any information is left out of your petition, the court may see it as fraudulent and impose penalties on you as a result. Additionally, if you have any debt left with the excluded creditor you will still owe them since the debts weren’t listed in your bankruptcy.
- Don’t Drain Your Retirement Accounts – Ohio and Kentucky laws protect your retirement accounts from creditors, so draining them is a terrible idea. Once you withdraw money from the account then it loses its exemption status. You could then also be liable for taxes and penalties for an early withdrawal. In the end those taxes and penalties may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy so you could be in an even worse situation than before.
- Don’t Incur Any More Debt – You may want to obtain a secured car loan before the bankruptcy filing hits your credit report, but buying non-essential assets like laptops, plane tickets, TV’s is the worst thing you can do. New debts could delay your filing or complicate your case even further.
- Don’t Try to Pay Anyone Off Before Filing – No matter who it is, family, friends or even a creditor, it’s very important you don’t give anyone any large sums of money prior to filing for bankruptcy. You are required to report any large payments to people or companies in the 90 days before filing for bankruptcy. If it reaches a certain dollar amount, the Trustee can take the money back from the person you gave it to, no matter who it is. Plus, most creditors will not keep your account open if you pay them off prior to filing. So, sending them money in an attempt to stop that is simply a waste.
- Don’t Talk to Creditors – When filing for bankruptcy it’s important you don’t give your creditors a time of day. They will try to obtain more information from you and attempt to talk you out of filing bankruptcy. It’s important to understand the creditor wants you to have the highest interest rates possible so you’re on the hook forever. They aren’t on your side and you shouldn’t speak with them unless it’s through your bankruptcy lawyer.
What to Do Before Filing for Bankruptcy in Ohio
- Do Contact a Bankruptcy Lawyer Immediately – The best and first step to filing for bankruptcy is to get in contact with an experienced and skilled lawyer. You can meet with your attorney and discuss your financial situation in further detail. They can then provide the information and advice you need to move forward. The longer you wait the less options you have available to you, so it’s suggested you meet with an attorney as soon as possible.
- Do Be Honest and Tell the Truth – It’s not just important, but essential for your financial health to be forthcoming with your bankruptcy attorney about everything. Disclosing all your financial struggles and current position is required if you want your lawyer to handle your bankruptcy properly. All information you disclose with your attorney, will stay with that attorney. If there is information that must be disclosed in bankruptcy papers, then your attorney will discuss it with you beforehand. Thanks to attorney-client confidentiality, you can be confident no unwanted information will be disclosed without your consent. However, an attorney will advise you if certain information should be disclosed to the court. For example, if you have paid off your house or car, then your attorney will likely advise you to disclose this information to the court.
- Do Keep Paying for Assets You Wish to Keep – Continue to make payments for vehicles or real estate you wish to keep. Be sure to stay current with all your payments, keep the property insured and sign a reaffirmation agreement in order to keep the secured property. If you default on a payment, then creditors have the right to repossess your vehicle without further notice.
- Do Disclose Large Payments Before Filing – It’s incredibly important you disclose any large purchases you have made in the 3 months prior to filing for bankruptcy. This includes payments made to friends, family, or even preferred creditors. You may not be able to discharge your debts if you don’t disclose this information in time because the court assumes you are acting in bad faith or fraudulently.
- Do Keep Track of Your Expenses – A big part of filing for bankruptcy is disclosing all your expenses. You want to be as accurate as possible with your accounting so that the court has a good understanding of your spending habits. After you file for bankruptcy, it’s also important you follow a budget to avoid falling into bad financial habits again.
- Do List All Your Debts – When you are filing for bankruptcy be sure to list all your debts and creditors. That includes all debts from your credit card with American Express to the personal loan you received from a family member.
- Do Keep Track of Deposits and Withdrawals – The trustee in your bankruptcy will review your bank statements so if you have any strange withdrawals or deposits it could look suspicious. Be sure to remember what you used that money for so if you are questioned about it later, then you have proof you’re not being fraudulent.
- Do Close All Bank, Credit Union or Financial Institutions You Have Debt With – It’s important you close all bank, credit unions or financial institution accounts if you have money you owe on a credit card, loan or other debt to that lending institution. If you don’t, then when bankruptcy is filed your future deposits could be taken.
- Do Have Patience – You may be anxious to get the bankruptcy process over with, but it’s important to understand it is a process. It can take 4 to 6 weeks after meeting with your attorney to finish your petition. It could even take longer depending on the number of documents needed and how quickly you supply them.
- Do Your Best to Maintain a Positive Attitude - Bankruptcy is an incredibly stressful and thanks to the stigma it carries, it’s also very embarrassing. It can be tempting to get overwhelmed by stress, but the best thing you can do is to maintain a positive attitude. Bankruptcy is never easy, but you can think of it as a new start. Once you have finished the process many of your debts will be discharged and you can venture out in the free market once again without that heavy burden on your shoulders.
United States Courts | Bankruptcy Basics – Visit the official website for the U.S. Courts to learn more about their federal laws for bankruptcy. Access the site to find the U.S Code statutes regarding bankruptcy, debt adjustment, and the SCRA/SIPA.
S. Bankruptcy Court - Eastern Kentucky– Visit the primary website for the Eastern District of Kentucky Bankruptcy Court. It offers information on new standing orders, mission statements, locations, judges, processes, opinions and frequently asked questions
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
100 E. Vine St. Suite 200
Lexington, KY 40507
Phone: (859) 233-2608
United States Bankruptcy Court – Southern Ohio – The primary site for Cincinnati and surrounding area residents. It provides information on judges, locations, FAQs, means testing, phone numbers, filing and seminars.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Clerk
221 E. 4th St. #800
Reputable Bankruptcy Attorneys in Cincinnati Ohio
Bankruptcy may be the best option for you and your family to recover financially. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, then we highly suggest you get in contact with a qualified bankruptcy attorney familiar with the process. You can find that attorney by calling Eric Steiden and his team at [firm]. Attorney Steiden is objective and uses calculated analysis when he handles his cases to determine the most practical and reliable path to financial recovery. With this approach, Eric Steiden has represented thousands of clients for over 26 years with success.
To schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney at [firm] please call [phone]. [firm] accepts clients throughout Ohio and Northern Kentucky including Kenton County, Boone County and Hamilton County.