Most people do not realize that when they file for bankruptcy through a lawyer, there will be some work that they will have to do. A bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that involves a 50/50 work relationship with your lawyer. He or she handles the court and legal ends of things, but you have to do a lot on your own.
Since your lawyer does not know what you own in your home or outside of it, you have to be the one to itemize (i.e., list) everything you own on the paperwork your lawyer gives you. Thankfully, you do not have to list every single item as a single item. You can list "clothing" as a group thing, although you will still have to assign the entire lot a value.
Valuating means that you have to assign a yard sale value to everything you own. You have to use your best judgment in regards to what everything is worth. If you own five average-sized closets of clothes, for instance, you could say that each closet of clothes is probably worth about $50-$100, and then you combine those values on one line/one column for "clothes" followed by "fair market/yard sale value" after that. You have to do this for ALL of your personal belongings, appliances, entertainment items, furniture, etc..
List ALL Debts, Loans, Credit Cards, Etc.
Additionally, your lawyer is not going to sit down with you and ask for every single statement on every single loan, credit card, debt, debt in collections, etc.. He or she wants you to list these items, and the amounts due on all of them. You cannot skip ANYTHING, as an investigation into your credit history and a credit report must be provided at the time of your hearing. If you leave anything out, the judge (and your lawyer) may not look too favorably upon your request to discharge all of your debts.
Your Lawyer's Half of the Work
Your lawyer takes everything you did, turns it into court-approved documents, files the documents with the court, and then builds a case around why your debts should be excused. He or she also appears with you in court on the date of your hearing. If your creditors send legal representatives of their own (which can happen), your lawyer defends you and your financial position against your creditors' lawyers and creditors' claims to repayment.
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