Once your case is finalized and you receive your bankruptcy discharge, there are some important steps you should take to help ensure a secure financial future.
1.) Collect and preserve all paperwork from your case. You should have received a full copy of your petition from your attorney, approximately 40-50 pages of detailed financial information, including the facts about debts and assets involved in your case. You should have received a notice of bankruptcy filing directly from the court along with a copy of your discharge order entered by the bankruptcy judge. This is important to have because lenders typically like to see a copy of the bankruptcy papers when considering you for new credit- particularly mortgage lenders. It is also important to have in case anyone attempts to collect on an old debt in the future.
2.) Check / Monitor your credit report for errors. You can access your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies for free. Wait three to six months after you receive your bankruptcy discharge to do this. You want to make sure that all of your discharged debt is being reported to the credit bureaus, so you are not shown to have outstanding debt. This is especially important if you are applying for new credit.
3.) Start a budget. Create a basic budget to better understand your income and expenses. You may remember the Means Test from the bankruptcy paperwork that compared your income and expenses over a six-month period. The concept was to identify those who really had the means to pay their debts, but who were living an extravagant lifestyle financed on credit cards and other debt. Oftentimes, bankruptcy is caused by unexpected expenses, including medical bills caused by illness, loss of income from job loss and divorce. Once you have created a realistic budget, start planning out financial goals for the future.
4.) Start an emergency fund. Once you have established your budget, you should make sure and have a portion of your income set aside for savings. As the fund grows, you can begin putting some of it aside for retirement or a college savings account.
5.) Consider new credit. When applying for credit, start with a small credit limit and monitor your charges carefully. Charge no more than you can pay in full each month. Unplanned debt is where people get into trouble.
If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.
Related Resources: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/5-things-bankruptcy-110053558.html