18. What should I do before I file bankruptcy?

First, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney. An attorney can advise you regarding your particular situation and help you plan for your bankruptcy. The attorney will help you decide the best time to file your bankruptcy petition, and may even be able to help you avoid filing for bankruptcy altogether.

Additionally, you should consider which creditors you will continue to pay prior to filing the bankruptcy. For example, you may be wasting your money paying credit card debt that may be completely eliminated in your bankruptcy. However, some bills should probably still be paid such as rent, utilities and payment on secured debt such as your car payment.

Do not transfer any of your assets to your family or friends to protect the property from your creditors. This may be deemed a fraudulent transfer. You may not only still lose your property but also may jeopardize having your other debts discharged in bankruptcy as well. Also, do not destroy any financial or business records, as this may also jeopardize your right to a discharge of your debts through bankruptcy.
Finally, stop using your credit cards. You may not be able to discharge debt you incur if the credit card companies can convince the court that you did not intend to repay the debt at the time you borrowed the funds.