In a previous post we talked about the top 5 things you should do to prepare for your bankruptcy. Once you have filed for bankruptcy, there are also activities you should do to ensure that your bankruptcy goes smoothly.
- Complete your duties. After you have declared bankruptcy you have a number of duties during bankruptcy you must complete as part of the bankruptcy process. This includes things like surrendering your assets to the trustee, filing your statement of income and expenses each month, and making your surplus income payments. It is important that you complete all of these duties so that you receive your discharge. Without your discharge, your debts will not be eliminated so you should focus on completing these obligations correctly and completely.
- Attend two credit counselling sessions. While these are mandatory and part of your duties as a bankrupt, it is important that you get as much as you can out of these credit counselling sessions. They provide useful information about budgeting and money management that can help you understand the cause of your financial problems and prevent them from happening again.
- Create and follow a budget. Once you have learned how to build a budget, make one for yourself. You budget will help you find ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses and make it easier to make ends meet. This will help you stay out of debt once your bankruptcy is completed.
- Keep in touch with your trustee. Circumstances change. If for any reason you are unable to make a monthly payment, contact your trustee right away to talk about catching up or modifying your payments. If you continue to get calls from your creditors, talk to your trustee so they can help you eliminate the calls.
- Begin to rebuild your credit. While your bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 6 to 7 years after your discharge you can begin the process of rebuilding your credit during your bankruptcy. You are still granted credit during your bankruptcy the form of your outstanding utility, phone and internet bills. Make sure that you pay these bills in full and on time. Start building your savings. This will help you obtain a secured credit card once your are discharged or better yet, avoid the need for debt all together.
If this is your first time bankruptcy, you will be eligible to be automatically discharged in nine or 21 months (if you had surplus income), but only if you complete all of your duties. Take the opportunity and use this time to get back on your feet financially. You will be happy you did.