Dan Freund, Eau Claire bankruptcy attorney

More bankruptcy questions? Check our our FAQ page.

jumping off a cliffThis page contains general information. Contact a WBG attorney for specific advice.

Starting a bankruptcy in Wisconsin can be as easy as jumping off a cliff without a parachute. Simply take a brief credit counseling course and then pay a fee and file (a) a petition, (b) a list of creditors, (c) a social security number statement, and (d) proof that you took the credit counseling course.

But then what? We’ll tell you that shortly. But first, take a moment to consider whether you should be in such a rush to file.

The Bankruptcy Decision

Often bankruptcy offers the best solution for debt problems. Often it doesn’t. The law offers many debt relief options. Bankruptcy – like jumping off a cliff – is one of the most dangerous. You should only do it if it improves your situation.

So before you file a bankruptcy you should –

– gather complete information regarding your debts, assets, and other financial matters,

– decide whether bankruptcy is your best debt relief solution,

– decide what type of bankruptcy you should file,

– decide when you should file, and

– do any exemption and other planning to maximize the benefit of your bankruptcy.

In short, we recommend that you work with an experienced debt relief lawyer to explore all of your options in and out of bankruptcy. If jumping off of the bankruptcy cliff makes sense for you then your attorney can help you pack the parachute to make your landing as safe as possible.

The Bankruptcy Documents and Creditor Meeting

But what if you do file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy? What’s next?

Next you file a boatload of documents that give a complete picture of your financial affairs. How much is a boatload? You can find out here.

After that you attend a “meeting of creditors.” Meanwhile, you follow through with secured creditors on the intentions you stated in your form 108. Finally, you take another course.

That’s it, if all goes more smoothly. But things can get complicated fast if you have anything other than a  “simple” case. And even simple Chapter 13s are more complex.

DIY: Do It Yourself

No problem, you say, I found a website or a “petition preparer” that will help me fill out all of these documents. And maybe you will do just fine on your own. But know this: Throughout the process you’ll be dealing with a trustee who has legal training. And if one of your creditors wants to challenge your bankruptcy then that creditor will likely hire an attorney. If you’ve made a mistake in your filings the trustee or the creditor may make things very uncomfortable for you. You might even lose your chance at a discharge – the one thing you filed a bankruptcy to get.

Yes, it may cost you a bit more to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney to guide you through the bankruptcy process. But, like a parachute, if you have one you’ll be much safer in the long run. (Can’t afford an attorney? Maybe you qualify for legal aid.)

More bankruptcy questions? Check our our FAQ page.

This page contains general information. Contact a WBG attorney for specific advice.
Wisconsin Bankruptcy Guide is provided by law firms designated as Debt Relief Agencies by the federal government because we help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. We also provide other types of debt relief options.

Image credit: flickr/m01229/

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