Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Document Checklist

Using a checklist can help organize the financial documents you’ll need in Chapter 7.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is more than 50 pages long, so it won't come as a surprise that preparing one requires a lot of financial information. But gathering information doesn't have to be miserable. Checklists can help you stay organized while searching your file cabinet, storage bin, or shoebox for the following:

  • documents needed to complete the Chapter 7 petition
  • documents produced after filing for Chapter 7, and
  • other items needed during a Chapter 7 case.

Also, if you haven't filed yet, take a moment to learn how bankruptcy works and what you should know about bankruptcy. And check out our quick ten-question bankruptcy quiz—it can spot potential bankruptcy issues fast.

Documents You'll Need to Complete Chapter 7 Forms

Here are the primary things needed to get a Chapter 7 case started:

  • six months of paycheck stubs
  • six months of bank statements
  • tax returns (the last two years)
  • current investment and retirement statements
  • current mortgage and car loan statements
  • home and car valuations (printouts from online sources work)
  • property list with values (you can group small items, such as clothing, cookware or bedding)
  • repair estimates for damaged property (photographs can also be helpful)
  • credit card, collection, and other billing statements
  • a current credit report (a free copy is available at www.annualcreditreport.com)
  • your Driver's license and Social Security card
  • a credit counseling completion certificate

If you plan to hire a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, bring copies to the initial consultation. Not only will doing so help the lawyer assess your case but getting documents from clients can be challenging. Showing up prepared will make you a more desirable client.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Documents Needed After Filing

After filing, you'll produce documents verifying the accuracy of the information in your petition. You'll also file proof that you attended the second required course—the post-filing debtor education course. Here's your list:

These are the documents you'll need for the 341 meeting. You'll send them to the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee appointed to oversee your case at least seven days before the date set for the 341 meeting of creditors—the one hearing that all filers must attend.

If you can, submit the forms earlier. Here's why.

  • You'll finish sooner. The trustee will schedule multiple debtors during the same hour. Some trustees reward people who submit documents early by hearing those cases first and setting late submitters and matters with complicated issues later in the hour.
  • You'll avoid a continuance. You can resolve most bankruptcy issues with minimal effort, so give the trustee your paperwork early. If you fix the problem before the 341 meeting you'll avoid a continuance.

Important: Some states require you to file verification documents with the court. Review the local rules on the court's website or call the court clerk. The Court Locator tool has contact information.

Additional Documents for the Chapter 7 Trustee

The trustee can ask for other documents reasonably necessary to investigate your filing. Here are a few items trustees routinely request:

  • additional paycheck stubs and financial statements
  • if you own a business, profit and loss statements and proof of liability insurance
  • photographs and valuations of rare, antique, or collectible items
  • mortgage and car loan statements showing the current amount owed
  • a marital settlement agreement or divorce order
  • any other documents reasonably related to your financial affairs

A trustee who continues the meeting to give you time to produce more documents will often cancel the new date after receiving them.

Navigating Your Bankruptcy Case

Bankruptcy is an unusual area of law because it's essentially a qualification process. The laws provide instructions for completing a 50- to 60-page bankruptcy petition, and because all rules apply in every case, you can't skip a step. The forms and resources below will help you find more information. Also, you can use this list of Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy forms to see where this topic falls.

More Bankruptcy Information

Bankruptcy Forms

You'll find fillable, downloadable forms here:

U.S. Courts Bankruptcy Form webpage

Related Information

How Long Before Filing for Bankruptcy Are You Supposed to Stop Using Credit Cards?

How Much Debt Do I Need to File for Bankruptcy?

Will I Lose All My Property If I File for Bankruptcy?

Questions to Expect at the 341 Meeting in Your Bankruptcy Case

Need More Info?

We want to help you find the answers you need. Go to TheBankruptcySite for more easy-to-understand bankruptcy articles, or consider buying a self-help book like How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O'Neill and Albin Renauer, J.D.

We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by consulting with a local bankruptcy lawyer.

Disability Eligibility Quiz Take our bankruptcy quiz to identify potential issues and learn how to best proceed with your bankruptcy case.

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