In order to claim bankruptcy, a person has to provide proof of his debits and assets, demonstrating his inability to repay his debts. Bankruptcy laws and procedures vary from place to place. Most jurisdictions, however, require an individual to complete bankruptcy documents and submit them to the court that handles bankruptcies in his area. An individual typically has to provide a list of his creditors as well.
The first thing a person typically needs to do to claim bankruptcy is research the laws in his jurisdiction. For example, some jurisdictions have more than one type of bankruptcy. An individual may have to claim one type if he’s claiming personal bankruptcy and another type if he’s claiming bankruptcy for a business. This research will also reveal the documents an individual will have to file as well as any deadlines that may be set for filing them.
The next thing an individual generally needs to do to claim bankruptcy is evaluate his need for a lawyer. Having a lawyer’s assistance with filing bankruptcy may make the process smoother, as the lawyer will usually have extensive knowledge of bankruptcy procedures. Sometimes an individual may decide whether or not to seek a lawyer’s help based on the complexity of his case. If he has many assets and sources of income as well as a large number of creditors, he may feel more confident in going forward with a lawyer’s help. If his case is simple or his local court offers self-help legal materials, he may feel confident enough to file on his own.
Regardless of whether an individual retains a lawyer or decides to claim bankruptcy on his own, he will have to provide detailed information about his income, assets, and debts to the bankruptcy court. This information is used to aid the court in deciding whether or not to grant bankruptcy relief. In most places, a bankruptcy petitioner is not permitted to withhold any of this information. In fact, a petitioner may be accused of fraud if he decides to omit any of his assets. The same is true if a petitioner understates his income on bankruptcy forms.
As part of the bankruptcy process, a bankruptcy petitioner usually has to compile a list of his creditors and provide the list to the court. The court uses this list to notify creditors that the petitioner has filed a bankruptcy case. This list is also used to inform them of meeting times and dates pertinent to the bankruptcy proceedings.
Once a petitioner has completed the required forms and gathered supporting documents, he can submit the bankruptcy paperwork to the court. If he has secured the services of a lawyer, the lawyer may file the paperwork instead. After considering the case, the court decides whether or not to grant the bankruptcy.