A Quick Bankruptcy Petition Tip

If you have worked in bankruptcy longer than 1 minute, I am sure you know that one of the most time-consuming tasks in preparing a bankruptcy petition is waiting for the client to provide you with the information you need.


1.  Some attorneys designate one specific person in the office to follow-up with clients and make sure the client intake forms are filled out properly as well as gathering all the documentation BEFORE the petition even begins the input cycle.

2.  Some attorneys will enter in the data they have.  Then, as new information comes in from the debtor, they add to the information in the bankruptcy software until the petition is completed and ready to file.

3.  Some attorneys bring the clients into the office and does a live client intake interview to speed up the process.  In the interview the debtor is made to answer all the questions on the forms and sent home with a list of documents they need to bring back to the office before their petition is filed.

4.  Some attorneys just put everything in a file and do not do anything until the debtor pays their entire attorney fee in full.


After preparing and working with literally thousands of bankruptcy petitions, the method that works for me is NOT to enter the data into a Schedule until you have all the information you need for that particular Schedule.

For example, the average debtor does not enjoy filling out debt sheets.  They want the law firm to pull a credit report and gather their own information, rather than caring enough to take responsibility and do the job right. (Note:  A credit report is a tool. It should never be used solely to prepare Schedule F.)

Therefore, before I prepare Schedule F of the bankruptcy petition, I look through the debt sheets the debtors provided.  If the debt sheets are not at least 80% complete, I do not enter anything on Schedule F.  The same holds true for Schedule A.  If the debtors do not have a recent appraisal, know who they pay their mortgage to, provide account numbers, the date the debt was incurred and a balance owed on the mortgage, I do not begin Schedule A.

I have found that by following this procedure, I rarely miss important pieces of data within the bankruptcy petition.  If I enter one piece of info, close the software, find another piece of data, open up the software and enter it, then repeat this process over and over again until one Schedule is complete; errors are much more prominent.  Additionally, the process is much more time-consuming.  If you continually open and close your software program, entering data as it is fed to you, you not only increase your time spent working on the petition but you will greatly decrease efficiency.


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