If you have decided to move ahead with a bankruptcy filing, here are ten helpful tips:

  1. Do not run up any new debt. Do not use your credit cards or take out any credit card advances. Do not make any balance transfers from one card to another. Do not take out any Pay Day loans or borrow money from a Line of Credit at your bank.
  2. Do not make any unusual transactions. Do not transfer money or assets to relatives or friends. Do not transfer titles of cars or real estate. Do not sell a business or business inventory. Do not give any gifts.
  3. Do not purchase a new home or vehicle. Do not buy any luxury goods or make unnecessary purchases. Do not take any vacations.
  4. Continue to pay your routine bills. Continue to make house and vehicle payments if you want to retain those items. Pay your rent if you have a lease. Pay your cell phone bill if you have a contract. However – you do NOT have to continue to pay credit card or medical bills or loan repayments (except student loans.)
  5. You are allowed to hold a yard sale or sell smaller items to buy necessities or pay rent/utilities.
  6. Do not drain retirement funds. In most cases, you are allowed to keep your retirement accounts despite a bankruptcy filing.
  7. Do not get married before filing if your fiance has a high income.
  8. Do not file for bankruptcy if you are about to receive a windfall such as an inheritance or personal injury settlement. There is a “look back” period during which time a Trustee could seize this money to pay creditors.
  9. Don’t bank where you owe money (such as a Line of Credit loan). This is especially important if your bank is a Credit Union. Close the account and re-establish a new bank account. If you have direct deposits or withdrawals from your account, be sure to allow sufficient time to make the change to a new bank.
  10. Make sure you provide accurate and complete information to your attorney and to the Trustee. You are required by law to disclose all assets, debts, income, business affiliations, and other financial information. The failure to do so could result in the denial of a discharge and/or criminal charges.