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What documents should i gather before seeing a lawyer for chapter 7?

Phoenix, AZ |

i plan to file chapter 7 soon , what documents should i have ready for the lawyer?

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Attorney answers 4


Are you asking what documents are needed to file your case, or to have the initial consultation? I provide clients a list of items I need them to provide prior to an initial consultation, as well as a more detailed list once they retain me to file a case for them.

The list of what you need to file your case is too lengthy to list here, but essentially what you will need so a competent attorney can properly evaluate your options is:

1. Evidence of any and all income received in the past 7 months (this includes paystubs, or if self-employed, profit and loss statements for that period).

2. List of all debts

3. List and value of any and all assets (personal and real property, as well as intangible items such as royalties, business interests, etc.)

4. List of monthly expenses

5. Tax returns for the past 2 years

Mark J. Markus, Attorney at Law
Handling exclusively bankruptcy law cases in California since 1991.
bankruptcy blog:
Follow Me on Twitter: @bklawr

Legal disclaimer: Mark J. Markus practices law in California only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation.


If you are merely planning to do an initial consultation, you should bring a recent paystub, but you should not need anything more. Once you retain the attorney, you should be given a questionnaire that specifies exactly what documents are needed.

When you do the consultation, do not feel pressured to retain the attorney right away. A bankruptcy is an important decision; and a good attorney will explain all of the pros and cons to filing. Some of the large firms in town just tell you that you can file, without ever telling you what you need to consider.

I would also recommend that you check reviews and the Arizona State Bar Association. The figurehead for a well-known firm that advertises on T.V. was sanctioned with a 6 month suspension for various ethics violations.


Every lawyer will probably want different things. While I cannot speak for other lawyers - I can tell you that if you visit my office for the FREE 20 minute initial consultation that we offer, it would be great if you would bring a few recent paychecks (if you're working), a list of your debts, and your 2009 & 2010 tax returns. That is easily enough to get us started! Some law firms demand that you bring in all your documents and pay in full before they will even start working on your case. My law firm does not operate like that - we take payments and will start working on your case immediately.

Mr. Greeves is licensed to practice law throughout the state of Arizona. His office is in Tempe. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 480-345-8100 or his email address is His website is Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon. Each state has different laws, every situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


First i commend you for consulting with an attorney regarding your bankruptcy options. Tackling a bankruptcy by yourself is a difficult process. My colleagues have already given good advice as to what to bring to your initial meeting so i will not repeat those here. However, during that meeting, your attorney (and please make sure that you are meeting with the actual attorney that will be representing you) should also explain non-bankruptcy options that you may have. While bankruptcy is an option in most cases, there may be other routes you can take to alleviate your debt obligations.

As also indicated, most bankruptcy attorneys will provide an initial free consultation whether it be from 20 mins, an hour or more. Feel free to use that time to get your questions answered.

Good luck and let me know if I can be of any assistance.