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One of the first things attorneys look at are a debtor's preceding 6 months of paystubs. So if a debtor's first meeting is in October, he or she should have paystubs for April through Sept and the most current October stubs. This information is used to complete the "means test," which is a major factor in determining if a person is able to file for chapter 7 protection.
Clients also need to know the balances on secured loans and the value of the property securing the loan. The most common secured loans are home mortgages and car loans. Take the most current statements showing the most current balances into the meeting. Clients should also have a sense of the value of their homes and cars. For estimated home values, clients can check sites like Zillow and for cars, they can use sites like Kelley Blue Book. This information will help a debtor determine if chapter 7 or chapter 13 is the appropriate choice.
Other good information to bring to the first meeting are copies of any law suits or judgments filed, an understanding of other assets the debtor has like bank and other financial accounts, recent federal tax returns, a recent credit report, and a list of questions. This type of information will help lead to a productive first meeting and aid a client with making decisions.
Some attorneys may want more information to start and some may need less but this provides anyone a good start. This should be enough information to start the decision-making process.
If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark Medvesky or our firm of Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at www.whhmlaw.com.
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