I get asked this question almost every time, and, to be honest, you’re probably looking at 2-4 hours of your time (if you’re organized).
Your next question will be: how long does it take me to turn your hand-written bankruptcy packet into a real bankruptcy petition? It depends, but I can usually have it done by the next day. If there is a real emergency, like a foreclosure this afternoon, then I can rush, but it’s not fun.
After you retain my office (or any bankruptcy attorney), I will give you a blank “bankruptcy packet.” You need to fill out this document with your name, personal information, list of personal assets, list of creditors, and income information. It looks awful, and I often see that look of dread in my clients’ eyes when I hand over the blank packet. However, there are some shortcuts:
1. You can print off a free copy of your credit report from creditkarma.com or annualcreditreport.com. Now all you need to do is track down creditors that are not on this list.
2. keep a copy of every collection notice. If you hand these over to me, I can scan them for information more quickly than you can (I’ve done this once or twice).
3. Ask me for help! You have hired an attorney to help so, so ask away. If something doesn’t make sense, send an email right away to get a straight answer.
Just remember that this is something you want done right. This means that you may have to spend a little more time getting me the raw data so that I can make a complete bankruptcy petition.