Your After Bankruptcy To Do List
You’ve successfully received a discharge of your debts in bankruptcy. It’s time to begin a new financial future, but there are important steps you must take after bankruptcy in order to ensure that your financial future remains bright.
#1: Make a list of all your debts that weren’t discharged in bankruptcy
Some debts such as child support payments, student loans, willful injuries to persons or property, and taxes won’t be discharged in bankruptcy. You need to make sure that you timely pay those debts in order to keep your finances in good standing.
#2: Save all your bankruptcy papers
You need these papers as proof of a discharge of your debts in case there is a mistaken attempt by creditors to collect those discharged debts. A discharge prohibits creditors from taking any action to collect a discharged debt. If you lose your discharge order, you can obtain another copy from the clerk of the bankruptcy court where your bankruptcy was filed. There will be fees charged for searching for your court record and for making and certifying copies.
#3: Review your credit reports
A few months after your bankruptcy, review your credit reports to make sure all your discharged debts reflect a zero balance. A recent Federal Trade Commission study found that 5% of consumers had errors on at least one of their three major credit reports.
#4: Verify any lien balances
Liens survive the discharge of your debts. If you are keeping your home or car and they have liens on them, find out how much you owe and resume making your payments on time. If you fail to make timely payments, your creditors may enforce their liens by foreclosing on your home or repossessing your car.
#5: Set up an emergency fund
Many consumers do not have an emergency fund. But it is important to have enough money saved in order to be prepared for unexpected situations such as a job loss, medical expenses, car repairs, or other emergencies.
#6: Create a budget and stick to it
Be careful with your spending and don’t buy things on credit that you cannot afford or don’t need. Try and use cash for all your purchases. Ignore any credit card offers you receive in the mail to avoid incurring more debt than you can handle.
Debtor Education Course: Helping You Manage Your Finances After Bankruptcy
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, we offer U.S. Trustee-approved pre-filing credit counseling course and post-filing debtor education course. The debtor education course is designed to help you plan your finances after bankruptcy and for the future by discussing how to manage a budget, money, and credit. The debtor education course is two hours long (required by law) and is:
- Easy to use with clear directions and prompts
- Available online or by telephone
- Given in both English and Spanish
- Flexible to suit your schedule: take it all at once or in segments
- Time-saving: fast delivery of your certificate via email
Consumers who have taken our debtor education course find it helpful, interesting, and valuable for their future financial planning. Once the process of filing for bankruptcy is behind you, you can move forward with a renewed sense of awareness when it comes to managing your finances.