After you have finished the process of declaring bankruptcy, you are ready to begin the long road to rebuilding financial stability. It can be tough to kick old habits and learn to live within your means once debt has become a way of life. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to get off on the right foot.
Keep Your Bankruptcy Paperwork
Every scrap of paper used during your bankruptcy could be valuable after your bankruptcy discharge, so be sure not to throw any of it away. If a creditor attempts to collect on one of your discharged debts, you will need hard proof of your bankruptcy discharge. You will also need to have access to all your records in order to correct any flaws in your credit report as it changes following your bankruptcy.
Know How to Handle Creditor Harassment
If you are contacted by creditors attempting to collect on any of your discharged debts after your bankruptcy has been finalized, this does not necessarily constitute harassment. Once you have provided creditors with your case number and informed them that the debt you owed has been discharged, they are required to leave you alone. However, if they continue to contact you to collect on that debt, contact a Richmond bankruptcy attorney today. With the right lawyer on your side, a harassing debt collector could end up owing you money.
Keep Track of Your Credit Report
Your credit report will change about 3 months after you receive your bankruptcy discharge. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain on your report for 7 years. If you receive a credit report that lists any of your discharged debts as still active, take immediate action by contacting the credit reporting agency and sending in copies of your bankruptcy discharge paperwork.
Work a Plan to Rebuild Your Credit
Bankruptcy is a chance to start fresh. You'll have to work to avoid going back into debt, but a new way of life is possible if you do all of the following:
- Learn to live within your means and current income and keep your debt-to-income ratio low.
- Avoid opening new credit card accounts.
- Arrange to pay all non-discharged debts as soon as possible.
- Make payments on time.
- Create a budget, savings plan, retirement plan, and an updated last will and testament.
- Consult a bankruptcy lawyer for assistance before making major purchases, such as a home or vehicle.
If you are being harassed by debt collectors, need help managing your assets, or require assistance with drafting your will, our team at Bruce W. White, P.C. is here to help you navigate the aftermath of your bankruptcy and prepare for the future.
Call us at (804) 655-0502 or contact us for a free case evaluation today.