Don’t replace unsecured debt (credit cards, utility or medical bills) with secured debt (home equity loans). Most people try desperately to avoid bankruptcy however, if you can’t pay your unsecured bills you won’t be able to pay your secured bills. If you use your home to secure bills you could lose your home if you cannot pay.

Don’t use your 401k, IRA or retirement plans to pay bills. Withdrawing from these types of accounts involves early withdraw penalties and taxes which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. These funds remain safe under the umbrella of bankruptcy protection.

Don’t be fooled by Credit Counselor & Debt Management/Loan Consolidation businesses. Did you know that several credit card companies pay a commission to these “Credit Counselors” for the money they collect from you? If you were to try to buy a car your credit report will show that you are in credit counseling/debt management/loan consolidation and you will be turned down. You are more likely to get a car loan after bankruptcy. Plus every cent you pay to these types of businesses would have been saved if you qualify for Chapter7 or 13.

Don’t transfer assets within one year of filing. This is a no no and considered a “preference” payment. The person or business would have to repay the court who then distributes it equally to your other creditors. You may want to protect your friends, relatives or your local bank where Aunt works. I can usually show you a way to get what you want accomplished legally.

Don’t do the obvious no nos…… buy luxury items, transfer property into someone else’s name, run up your cards before filing, forget to list income or assets etc…

Do try to RELAX and calm yourself down. If you are like most people you may feel like things are out of control. The bankruptcy process done well will give you hope for the future with a clear path forward.

Do move your checking and savings accounts to a bank where you do not have a credit card or loan. This will keep your accounts from being frozen and the money seized by the bank if you are not able to pay.

Do let me know of EVERYONE that you owe money to. The list must be complete even if it includes family and friends.

Do continue to make payments on vehicles which you intend to keep. With secured loans your car or truck could be repossessed at any time if you are behind on your payments.