What documents should you gather in case of filing for bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy is a challenging process.  Regardless of whether you’re filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you’ll have to prepare all the necessary documents beforehand.

Here’s a closer look at what essential documents you need to gather if you’re filing bankruptcy:

Tax Returns

In case of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll have to provide tax returns for the past two and four years, respectively.

If you claim income not reflected in your tax returns, you may also have to provide a letter of explanation. Or, if you failed to file an explanation, your trustee may ask you to do the same.

Income Documentation

Another important document you need to provide to the court is proof of your income. If you’re an employee, you’ll need to offer the court your pay stubs or other vital documents showing your income from your employer.

On the other hand, if you’re a self-employed/independent contractor, you may have to present your statement of profits and losses for the previous two years. Make sure you’re adequately prepared to show bank statements verifying your business’s losses and profits.

In addition, you may have to submit documentation of other sources of income, including rental properties, disability benefits, and retirement funds.

Real Estate

If you own a house, real estate, or other real property, you’re going to need to provide some proof of the property’s fair market value.  Below are some of the property-related documents that you may need:

  • Proof of ownership;
  • Mortgage Statements that reflect the current balance due, as well as the monthly mortgage payments;
  • Proof of Value: documentation indicating the current value/equity of your property.

You may want to make sure you prepare all of these documents in advance. If you can’t figure out what documentation you need to prepare,  consider reaching out to a bankruptcy attorney. Document preparation is a vital part of a successful bankruptcy proceeding.


Similar to real estate properties, you’ll need to offer a proof of your vehicle’s value. Here’s what documents you may have to prepare:

  • Documentation proving  your ownership of the vehicle;
  • In case of a car loan, you’ll need to show recent loan statements, how much you owe on the car, and your monthly payments;
  • How much the car is currently worth.

It’s likely that you already know that you need to prepare your bank statements showing your current balances in your checking and saving accounts. Remember, you’ll have to disclose all of your bank accounts.

Apart from that, you’ll have to disclose documents and financial accounts, including;

  • IRAs, 401, and other retirement accounts;
  • General investment accounts;
  • Pensions.

All in all, if you have an account with money in it, you should prepare yourself to disclose and document the funds.

Legal Documents

If you’ve been a part of previous legal proceedings, make sure you bring copies of all the paperwork to your bankruptcy lawyers. Here’s a closer look at which legal actions are of particular interest:

  • Collection lawsuits
  • Divorce actions
  • Foreclosure notices
  • Post-judgment legal actions, including  liens  or garnishments
  • Prior bankruptcy cases, regardless of whether they are completed or dismissed.

Legal steps reflected by these documents are typically crucial in your case. In addition, they will assist your bankruptcy attorney in determining how to move forward with the case. They may also be able to decide on the best ways to protect you from potential further financial harm.


You’ll be required to show valid photo identification. It includes your driver’s license and your social security number.

Additional Documents

If additional circumstances impact your bankruptcy, for example, if you are required to pay child support, alimony, or other unusual expenses, make sure you have supporting documents to show such legal obligations.

For instance, you may provide a copy of a child support order or a marital settlement agreement documenting property distribution.

To sum it up:

Filing for bankruptcy requires diligence and preparation.

If you face financial difficulties, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to find out about your options.

Remember, bankruptcy is a delicate and complex proceeding, and you want someone with plenty of experience to consult you and guide you through the process and help you determine the scope of the discharge.

If you would like to find out whether bankruptcy is the right option for you, please request a call-back by submitting a short online form. All initial consultations are free and confidential.

Sources https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/documents-required-bankruptcy-filing.html https://blog.kainscott.com/blog/what-documents-should-you-gather-to-file-for-bankruptcy https://www.thebankruptcysite.org/resources/chapter-7-bankruptcy-document-checklist.html

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