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3 Things To Tell Your Attorney Before Filing Bankruptcy

In A Nutshell

1) The Basics

2) Possible Payout From Lawsuit

3) Any Other Names I Have Gone By In The Past 8 Years


In More Detail


1) The Basics

There are things that every attorney’s intake form will ask you when you are seeking the attorney’s counsel.  I have created the iBankruptcy online intake form to simplify the process of providing this information to me.  This information includes your name, spouse’s name, age and relationship of those living with you, your address, household income, household expenses, your debts, your assets, recent transfers you have made, recent debts you have paid, recent gifts given, and more things that will allow me to properly analyze your situation.  

It is important to be as open and honest with me as you possibly can be when providing this information.  Leaving something out or failing to disclose all information can be detrimental to your bankruptcy case. Typically after I receive your information, I do basic searches of your name in the county where you live and the surrounding counties.  I also search your county’s tax records. My goal is to try to act like the Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to your case to see if you own or recently did own any other property. If I find any possible issues or questions, then you and I can discuss these and have our answers ready for the Trustee.  

While there certainly are more things that need to be disclosed than I have discussed here, below are some common issues that I have seen arise in bankruptcy cases.  Again, it is important that you are an open book when meeting with your attorney to discuss the possibility of filing bankruptcy.


2) Possible Payout From Lawsuit

Be sure to disclose to your attorney any POSSIBLE payouts you may receive from a lawsuit.  If you have any right to sue someone because of money they may owe you, then it should be properly disclosed in your bankruptcy petition.  Common examples of payouts from lawsuits that I have seen are:

  • Wrongful death
  • Personal injury (i.e. auto accident)
  • Workers compensation 
  • Class-action lawsuits

It is important to discuss this with your attorney so that you can properly exempt what you are able to exempt.  Depending on the type of lawsuit, certain payouts are fully exempt while others are not. If you fail to disclose this to your attorney prior to your case being filed, then it could result in the payout not being properly exempted.  The consequence could be that you will have difficulty receiving the payout or the attorney assisting you in the lawsuit may not get paid what she is entitled to receive.


3) Any Other Names I Have Gone By In The Past 8 Years

In your bankruptcy petition you will have to disclose all the names you have gone by over the 8 years prior to your case being filed.  Providing these to me before your case is filed, will allow me to do the proper research in your case before the bankruptcy Trustee or creditors do their research.  I often see this as an issue with married women who have stopped using their maiden names and have taken the last name of their husbands.  

You may have incurred debt or owned property under a different name, which may need to be disclosed in your bankruptcy.  Do not think that no one will find out or know about your past because you operated with a different name. If the Trustee or a creditor finds out and discovers recent, consequential activity performed by you under a pseudonym, then the repercussions could be devastating to your bankruptcy case.


The sooner you start the process, the more control you’ll have over the outcome in your situation. There’s no cost and no obligation to fill out the iBankruptcy intake form and have me review your information. Don’t put it off any longer.

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