One thing good New York bankruptcy lawyers tell their clients to do is to obtain a credit report in preparation for filing bankruptcy. (In fact, it’s probably a good idea to get the report even before your first consultation with your bankruptcy lawyer.) This can easily be accomplished through Web sites like AnnualCreditReport.com, which allow people to access their credit reports from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). Our office can obtain them as well. The bureaus are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act to give you a report for free once per year. As always, if you try to get a credit report through a Web site that asks for a credit card number, it might charge you after a 30-day trial period.
Credit reports can tell you four things worth knowing before filing bankruptcy.
Who your creditors are: It can be difficult tracking all of your debts and your creditors’ identities. The credit report will contain all that information in one convenient document. The creditors’ addresses can be readily incorporated into a bankruptcy petition and since they are furnished by the creditors to the credit bureau they are presumptively correct. It might not be an exhaustive list of debts, e.g. if you owe a friend money, but it will certainly be the biggest creditors.
How much you owe: You might not know how much money you owe to each creditor or in total, but knowing this from a credit report will help you adjust your strategy accordingly. If it’s low, can you settle your debt directly with your creditors? Do you owe too much to file in chapter 13? The amount listed on your report might not be perfectly precise, but it should be very close.
Repayment status: If you’ve missed payments, it’ll appear on your credit report. Equally important is that the report will inform you if any of your debts are in collections as well as the identity of the debt collection agency. This information can help you calculate arrearages, or tell the debt collector that you are filing bankruptcy.
Preventing surprises: Anything can happen with debt. Settled debts might still be on your credit report as a zombie debt. Others might have been charged off. Sometimes people who have already filed bankruptcy find that some of their debts are not listed as discharged. Getting the information from your credit report should straighten it out.
Most people aren’t so organized that they track all their debts at all times, but knowing what you owe and to whom can make dealing with your debts a lot easier. It can also help you if you choose to file bankruptcy.
For answers to more questions about credit reports, bankruptcy, the automatic stay, effective strategies for dealing with foreclosure, and protecting your assets in bankruptcy, please feel free to contact experienced bankruptcy attorney near me Bruce Weiner for a free initial consultation.