This is part 7 of 11 of my bankruptcy experience series.
I filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in July of 2022. I still believe that it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself and my family's future. The process was relatively easy, however there were several tedious tasks that needed to be completed throughout the process. They were challenging for me because that is not my strong suit and our finances had gotten so chaotic up to the point of the bankruptcy. In this article I am going to discuss the 3 things that were hard for me during my bankruptcy. The items I will be discussing include:
Gathering the required documentation (Bank statements, tax returns, etc)
Owning a business and the documentation needed for that
This, in my opinion, was the worst part of the bankruptcy process. When you file for bankruptcy regardless on whether it is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 they require these things:
Past 2 years of tax returns
6 months of bank statements
6 months of paystubs
If you are self employed they need more financial information (more on this later)
My spouse had a name change, some debt was in the old/new name. We needed to provide the legal name change documentation.
Photo Identification and Social Security Card
This task was particularly tedious because we had just finished a rather abrupt move and a significant portion of our belongings were still in the state we had moved from. Even though all documents were online it still made it challenging to have to find all of them. Our finances were a mess leading up to bankruptcy. We had multiple bank accounts, and accounts that we had closed a few months back that we needed to figure out how to get statements for.
The rest of the documentation was fairly easy to get as there was not as much volume as the bank statements. We were able to upload all of the documentation and send it over email. We had to go back and forth a few times because either some documents did not come through, or I forgot to upload them. We eventually got all of the documents lined out, and my attorney and her team went through and verified all the information on them.
I had a small business that was generating income at the time of my bankruptcy, in addition to my full time job. I needed to provide a profit and loss statement, business bank statements and a brief description of what the business did. For me, time wise this was the most time consuming task. I did not have an accountant and was horrible at keeping track of my expenses for the last year or so.
This is an exact copy of the profit and loss statement that I had filled out for my business:
On the first try, I filled it out wrong. I was supposed to leave the last month open for the month that we were filing in. They needed the information up until midnight on my filing date. I had filled it out January - June, when in reality it needed to be from February - the filing date in July.
When we had our 341 meeting of creditors, everything went pretty smoothly up until this point. During our meeting the trustee was going over our bank statements and other information in our bankruptcy documents. She asked us if we had a venmo account. That was the one thing that I had forgotten to include with my original documents. At the conclusion of our meeting she let my attorney know that she needed 6 months of venmo statements in order to wrap up the case. I was able to promptly provide those to my attorney and we were good to go. I never heard anything else back regarding the venmo statements.
To this day, filing for bankruptcy was still one of the best decisions that we ever made. I do not regret it one bit. All of the work that both my attorney and myself put in was well worth it. If I had to go back in time I would have been more patient with myself and the document collection. Bankruptcy is not meant to be a hard process, you provide documentation and that is it.