As part of the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, debtors are now required to file with the court as part of the bankruptcy filing:

  • The Certificate of Completing the Credit Counseling briefing as well as a budget analysis prepared during the credit counseling briefing.
  • Current Monthly Income and means test calculation.
  • Copies of all of debtors’ payment advices (or other evidence) for the sixty days before filing. “Payment advice” includes pay stubs and other proof of the payment of wages, earnings, commissions, etc. Under local rules of the Bankruptcy Court for Arizona, a debtor may file, in lieu of payment advices, a declaration of attaching of no payment advices.
  •  A statement of monthly net income and how it was calculated.
  • A statement showing any reasonably anticipated increases in income and/or expenditures for the 12 months after filing.
  •  A record of any interest that the debtor holds in an education IRA or state tuition program.
  • At the request of the court, the trustee or any party in interest, debtors are to file at the same time as filing with the taxing authority a copy of their federal tax return filed after the commencement of the case as well as a sworn statement of income and expenditures.

Additionally, there are changes to the statement of financial affairs. As to question 3, “Payments to Creditors,” the ninety-day period prior to filing is distinguished between consumer debtors and non-consumer debtors. Question 10 extends to two years any transfers outside of the ordinary course and to ten years any transfers to a self-settled trust or the like.

Finally, several of the amendments heighten the debtor’s attorney’s responsibility for providing accurate information in preparation of the debtor’s filing. As a result, most debtors’ attorneys will require additional financial information from the debtors. Additionally, debtors’ attorneys will be conducting additional independent research, including Internet databases on vehicles and real property.

This is part of the list of the document that I require (I also suggest that my clients make two copies, as the bankruptcy trustee will request copies of the same documents):

  • six months of pay stubs (the most recent)
  • any other documentation as to income for the past six months (obliged to file sixty days worth), including IRA or pension withdrawals, gifts, lottery winnings and like items.
  • your six most recent bank statements (from all accounts)
  • tax returns for the two prior years
  • documentation as to cash value of life insurance policies
  • IRA, 401(k) and other pension reports for the past year
  • the deeds to your house and other real estate that you own, including timeshares
  • the titles to your cars
  • declaration pages for your auto and homeowner insurance policies
  • divorce settlements, separation agreements and child support orders
  • certified copy of child support payment history
  • any documentation regarding a personal injury claim or other claim where you expect to receive a money award
  • copies of any lawsuit to which you are a party
  • mail received from creditors for the past 90 days (obliged to use any address received within 90 days of filing
  • Certificate of Attending Credit Counseling

My list contains the warning: YOUR FAILURE TO PROVIDE ME WITH ANY OF THESE DOCUMENTS WILL DELAY THE FILING OF YOUR BANKRUPTCY.