1. Work with an experienced Virginia bankruptcy attorney. Make sure that you are comfortable with the attorney and the staff in the office. Carefully review the information provided by your attorney and fully complete all of the worksheets provided. Make sure that you have collected and provided all the documents that your attorney requests. Remember that the attorney is on your side but she can only help you if she has all the necessary information.
2. Stay in touch with your attorney during the preparation process. Many parts of a bankruptcy case are time sensitive and if you are not in regular contact with your attorney, parts of your bankruptcy may have to be updated. As I tell my clients, "if you make me do more work, then I will charge you more money". Make sure that you are responding to your attorneys requests for information in a timely manner to avoid additional charges or problems.
3. Make sure that your attorney has a good mailing address for you and check your mail regularly. Most of the bankruptcy notices are sent through the mail and if you are not getting or checking your mail, you may miss an information notice.
4. Review the information provided by your attorney before attending the "Meeting of Creditors", normally called a 341 hearing. Make sure that you provided your attorney all the necessary documents before the hearing and that you take whatever documents required to the hearing. In Virginia, you must have a valid photo id and acceptable proof of your social security number at the hearing. During the hearing, pay attention to the questions the trustee is asking in other cases. Normally the trustee asks basically the same questions in every case. If you are prepared to answer the questions, the hearing will go much smoother. If you do not seem to be confident in your answers, the trustee may think you are hiding something and will start digging deeper. If you are truthful in your answers, you have nothing to fear. Normally your attorney will have already asked you everything that the trustee will ask, so you will be prepared when the trustee asks the questions.
5. Stay in touch with your attorney after the hearing. If the trustee has asked for additional information, provide it as quickly as possible. The longer that you take to provide the information, the longer it will be before the trustee can close the case. The trustee has a job to do, don't make it harder on him so your case can be concluded as quickly as possible. If your address or phone number changes during your bankruptcy, make sure that you provide your attorney with the new information.
If you follow these tips, your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy should go smoothly. If you are considering filing a bankruptcy in Virginia, contact Hampton Roads Legal Services at 757-320-2010. Our experienced bankruptcy attorney will assist you through your bankruptcy process in the least stressful manner possible. But don't take our word for it, read what our clients say.