Once the province of the truly unfortunate, personal bankruptcy has become far more common in light of the financial meltdown of recent years. In order to understand the potential benefits and pitfalls of the bankruptcy process, knowledge is critical. Take the tips in this article to heart, and you will be on your way to building a sound financial future.
Remember you still have to pay taxes on your debts. A lot of people don’t realize that even if their debts are discharged in the bankruptcy, they are still responsible to the IRS. The IRS usually does not allow complete forgiveness, although payment plans are common. Make sure to find out what is covered and what is not.
Before you decide to file bankruptcy proceedings, determine which assets will be safe. The kinds of assets which may be exempted during bankruptcy proceedings are listed in the Bankruptcy Code. Make sure that you review this list before you decide to file, to see if you can hang on to your most important possessions. If you fail to go over this list, you may be unpleasantly surprised sometime down the road if any of your most valued items are seized.
If you can, keep some of your debt out of your bankruptcy. Work on paying down this debt yourself, or especially if you can negotiate a lower rate or new payment terms. This will help to preserve your credit rating, to some extent, because bankruptcy itself will do a number on your score.
A great tip for filers of personal bankruptcy is to thoroughly prepare for the initial meeting with the bankruptcy attorney. By assembling every piece of relevant financial documentation, including mortgage documents, auto finance agreements, credit card statements, tax records and bank statements, you can be certain that your bankruptcy petition and supporting documentation includes all information required for a comprehensive filing.
Do not feel embarrassed or guilty about filling for bankruptcy. Many people fear that they will be treated as second class citizens after they declare themselves bankrupt. However, this is not the case. The option to ‘declare yourself bankrupt’ was developed by the government to enable assistance to be given to people who find themselves overwhelmed with debt and in need of a fresh start. Last year, over 1.4 million people filed bankruptcy and the majority of them are now living a happy, debt-free life. So, there is no need for you to be afraid of bankruptcy stigma.
Before you make a final decision to file for bankruptcy, look into all the options that are available to help your financial situation. If you are buried under credit card debt, it can help to check out a debt-consolidation, or home-equity loan if you qualify. You can also try negotiating smaller payments on your debt until, your finances are better in control. Bankruptcy is always an option, but if you can alleviate your problems in another way, you will be able to avoid a major hit to your credit history.
For those who have never previously filed for personal bankruptcy or do not know anyone who has, the process itself may seem embarrassing, if not even shameful. However, bankruptcy filings have become quite commonplace, and pride alone should not cause the idea of filing to be disregarded by anyone who is on shaky financial ground. By using the advice contained in the above piece, it is possible to determine whether bankruptcy is a smart choice for you.