Sometimes my clients will get frustrated with me because of the particular way I ask them to submit the information necessary to prepare their bankruptcy petition. They will do things like
- provide photocopies of bills instead of the originals,
- give me handwritten lists or spreadsheets showing all of their debts,
- give me several copies of the same bill instead of one, or
- they give me bank statements showing the direct deposit of their net pay rather than a paystub showing the gross wages.
Although it may seem like I am being inflexible in my requirements, I am actually trying to help them.
Bankruptcy Petitions Must Be Complete and Accurate
First, I am striving to prepare a complete and accurate bankruptcy petition for filing. How does this help the client? Well, I have been doing this for a long time (over 20 years), and I know how problems can arise if things are not done meticulously and thoroughly.
Assets might not be disclosed, thus putting a client at risk of not getting their fresh start or even going to jail! A creditor might not be listed, or a correct address might not be used, thus possibly leading to a debt not being discharged (especially in a chapter 13) because the creditor did not get proper notice.
If income and cash flow calculations are not done correctly (especially means testing), a client's case could face dismissal for bad faith filing.
Saving the Client Time and Money
Second, I am trying to save the client time and money. Attorneys usually charge a flat fee for bankruptcies. They are able to do this because they have developed a procedure that allows them to do the work as efficiently as possible, in as little time as possible.
Thus the attorney makes money, and the client gets his or her bankruptcy filed as quickly as possible. If these procedures are not followed, at the very least the client's petition is held up, and at they very worst, they end up paying more money to have it done!
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
So, although it may seem like I am inflexible or set in my ways: making people fill out the MyCaseInfo questionnaire completely, then gathering all of the documents together, and then insisting on meeting with them to go over everything in my office rather than just having them drop it off.
But I am really trying to make sure that their bankruptcy goes through without a hitch and that they get the fresh financial start that they need, and came to me to be sure that they did receive.
In short, there is a method to my madness, so please bear with me and understand: I care about you and your case, I do not want you to have problems, and I want to give you a better quality of life through a fresh start. Please help me to help you!