Get started with your bankruptcy today even before your first appointment! To help you get started with your bankruptcy case right now, Lakelaw has developed its unique “Four Steps to Financial Freedom”™ process. “Four Steps to Financial Freedom” ™ is Lakelaw’s proven system to get you through the bankruptcy process with little fuss and bother.
It’s easy to mess up a bankruptcy case. We’ve seen many cases ruined by carelessness and inattention. Our “Four Steps to Financial Freedom” ™ system makes it much easier for you to have a flawless bankruptcy case. We tell you just what you need to give us to satisfy the most demanding bankruptcy trustee. We give you the tools you need to be sure assure you list every debt – and for free! Not only that, we research your situation through public records ourselves, just to be sure that we list every creditor you owe and every asset you own.
You complete your personalized private information at your own computer and send it to us online. You do this in the privacy and convenience of your own home. You work at your own pace. You send it to us through a secure connection. We download it. We then prepare a detailed first draft of your bankruptcy petition and statement of financial affairs. We check your petition against public records just to make sure that everything is included.
You’ll then meet in person with the lawyer assigned to your case. Together, we’ll go over every line of your bankruptcy petition and bankruptcy schedules. We’ll explain everything to you in plain language. We’ll make sure that you take the mandatory credit counseling session. We will shop for an inexpensive provider. (We don’t make a penny on this – nothing is marked up.) After you and we are sure that everything is complete and accurate, you can sign your bankruptcy papers and we’ll file your case.
You’re protected immediately. All lawsuits and collections stop. All wage garnishments stop. All nasty phone calls stop. Soon you’ll meet with the bankruptcy trustee, take your financial management course and receive your bankruptcy discharge.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT “FOUR STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM” ™
Is it free?
Use of the “Four Steps to Financial Freedom” ™ is totally 100% free.
Are there any strings attached?
You are under no obligation to Lakelaw until you hire us as your attorney.
Is it secure and safe to use my social security number to identify myself?
All information is sent to us through a Secure Socket Link. We don’t disclose or share your information with anyone.
Is it confidential?
As a prospective client, you are entitled to rely on the attorney-client privilege.
Does completing “Four Steps to Financial Freedom” ™ make me a Lakelaw client?
Not yet. You are not a Lakelaw client until you sign a retainer agreement with our firm.
Why do you ask me to complete the “Four Steps to Financial Freedom” ™?
“Four Steps to Financial Freedom” ™ is the best way for you to give us the information we need to evaluate your case. It helps us know whether you are eligible to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy case or a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. It helps us identify special problems which you might have. It makes our first meeting with you much more productive.
STEP #1 – DISCLOSURES
We give you all the disclosures we are legally required to give you. These disclosures don’t make much sense to us either – what do you expect from Congress
Congress makes it hard to file your bankruptcy case. You can’t file a bankruptcy case at the very last second. Bankruptcy cases require careful planning and preparation. As a matter of fact, since we need to have your most recent six months of data, if we have to wait past the end of a month, we might have to wait until we have the next month’s data from you to file your case. Everything must come together at the right time. Coordination is very important.
DON’T TRY TO FILE YOUR BANKRUPTCY CASE ON AN EMERGENCY BASIS!
If you are facing foreclosure lawsuits in the state court, it may be impossible to file your bankruptcy case before the court date. If you are thinking about bankruptcy, we may be able to appear for you in state court to delay foreclosure or judgment.
THERE WILL BE ADDITIONAL ATTORNEYS FEES AND COSTS FOR REPRESENTATION IN THE STATE COURT. DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MOMENT!!
If you and we don’t prepare for your bankruptcy case very carefully, your case can be dismissed.
That will make it all the more difficult (and expensive) to file your case again correctly. So you must gather and organize all necessary paperwork before you see us or any other bankruptcy attorney. Here are some things that you will absolutely have to organize:
Itemized monthly income and supporting documents for the prior six months
Tax returns to be filed at any time during the case and for the year immediately prior
Photo identification and social security card or other proof of social security number issued by some governmental authority
Pay stubs or other evidence of payments from employers if any, within 60 days of filing.
Bills – how much you owe each of your creditors.
List of Creditors – The name, address and account number of each of your creditors, when you incurred the debt and what you incurred the debt for. Use addresses from current billing.
An itemized listing of your personal property as well as your best estimates of what it’s worth.
An itemized listing of your real estate as well as your best estimate of fair market value. You may need to have an appraisal. Ask us.
Statements – Your most recent statement for each checking account, savings account, brokerage account, retirement account, thrift savings account, annuity or any other asset you own which might be readily converted to cash. You have to verify your account balances on the date you file your bankruptcy case.
Titles – Titles for each of your vehicles and evidence of ownership and liens against all of your real estate
You can complete a questionnaire in the privacy of your home through our website to provide this detailed information to us at your own pace. If you simply deliver this information to us, we can work with it but it will take longer to file your case.
Credit Counseling Before you can file your case, you’ll have to get a briefing from a not-for-profit credit counseling service approved by the Office of the United States Trustee. We anticipate that the charges for this will also be reasonable and that this won’t take very long, but you will have to provide a certificate that you have received this briefing before we can file a case for you. If you need help in finding out how to get this briefing, we can direct you to qualified counseling services who can provide this briefing to you for a reasonable fee.
As a “Debt Relief Agency” – the Bankruptcy Code’s term for someone who helps people file bankruptcy cases – we have to give you several notices at different various times while we are helping you. We also have to have a written fee agreement with you. We have to ask you to sign these documents and we have to keep them on file. We work hard to handle these details so that your case will proceed in the dignified and professional manner you expect.
STEP #4 – CONFIDENTIAL NO OBLIGATION QUESTIONNAIRE
If you have business or personal debts and would like us to evaluate you for a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can complete our on-line bankruptcy interview.
Under the Bankruptcy Code, all debtors must provide a lot of information about their assets, their debts, and their financial history.
Disclose where you live.
Tell us how long you’ve lived there.
Tell us what you made for the past three years and what debts you paid recently.
Tell us about any pending lawsuits against anybody and even any claims you might have.
Tell us about all of your businesses and accounting. Tell us about any unusual transactions you’ve had in the past 4 years.
Tell us about any money or property you transferred to friends, family or relatives.
We need to know all this information so we can give you proper legal advice. This is just like telling a doctor all your symptoms and giving a complete medical history so you can get a proper diagnosis.
Don’t feel embarrassed. Everything you tell us is privileged and confidential. Be completely truthful in your bankruptcy case. If you are not, you may not get your bankruptcy discharge. You could be subject to large fines or even criminal prosecution!
Be completely open and honest with your bankruptcy attorney. If you are, we can offer you the best advice and representation in your bankruptcy case, whether it’s under chapter 7, chapter 11 or chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.