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Steps to Take Before Filing for Bankruptcy: Asheville Expert Advice

Deciding to file for bankruptcy is a significant step that involves careful consideration and planning. At Pitts, Hay & Hugenschmidt, we understand the challenges that come with financial distress. Our Asheville-based team of experts has compiled a detailed guide to help you navigate the preliminary steps you should take before filing for bankruptcy. By following these steps, you can ensure that the process is as smooth and effective as possible.

Understand Your Financial Situation

Evaluate Your Debts

The first step in considering bankruptcy is to thoroughly assess your financial situation. List all your liabilities, including credit card debt, medical bills, loans, and any other obligations. This will help you understand the scope of your debts and which ones can be discharged through bankruptcy.

Review Your Assets

Next, take stock of your assets. This includes your home, car, retirement accounts, and other personal property. Knowing the value of your assets is crucial because it influences which type of bankruptcy is appropriate for you and how your assets will be handled during the bankruptcy process.

Explore All Alternatives to Bankruptcy

Debt Consolidation

Before opting for bankruptcy, explore other debt relief options. Debt consolidation, for instance, involves combining all your debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate. This can simplify your payments and reduce the total amount you pay over time.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement is another option where you negotiate with your creditors to pay a lump sum that is less than the total you owe. It can be a viable alternative if you can raise some funds to offer settlements.

Credit Counseling

Consult with a nonprofit credit counseling agency. They can provide you with a detailed assessment of your financial situation and help you develop a budget and a plan to manage your debts. This service is often a prerequisite for filing bankruptcy, so it’s a valuable step regardless of your final decision.

Gather Financial Documentation

Collect Necessary Paperwork

As you prepare for the possibility of filing for bankruptcy, gather all your financial documents. This includes recent tax returns, pay stubs, loan documents, and statements from all your accounts. Accurate and comprehensive financial documentation will be necessary for your bankruptcy filing and will help your attorney assist you more effectively.

Consult with a Bankruptcy Attorney

Understand the Types of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can take several forms, primarily Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 for individuals. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidating your assets to pay off debts, while Chapter 13 allows you to keep your assets and reorganize your debts with a repayment plan. Consulting with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney will help you understand which type is most suitable for your situation.

Legal Advice Is Crucial

A bankruptcy attorney will provide you with invaluable advice on the implications of bankruptcy, help protect your assets, negotiate with creditors, and navigate the complex legal landscape. At Pitts, Hay & Hugenschmidt, our experienced team specializes in providing personalized legal counsel tailored to your unique circumstances.

Consider the Impact on Your Future

Credit and Financial Recovery

It’s important to consider the long-term effects of bankruptcy. While it can provide relief and a fresh start, it also impacts your credit score and can affect your ability to obtain future credit, insurance, or even employment. Discuss these implications with your attorney to plan for your financial recovery post-bankruptcy.

Prepare Emotionally

The Emotional Toll of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is not just a legal process; it’s an emotional journey. Many people experience feelings of shame or failure. Support from a professional counselor or a support group can help you manage these feelings and prepare you for the emotional aspects of bankruptcy.


At Pitts, Hay & Hugenschmidt in Asheville, we are committed to supporting our clients through every step of their bankruptcy process. By taking these preparatory steps, you can face your financial challenges with a clear plan and expert guidance. Remember, you’re not alone—professional help is available to navigate this complex journey. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today. We’re here to help you secure a more stable financial future.

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