In my bankruptcy alphabet, Z is for zillion.
Zillion is a real word but a made-up number. For certain, it’s lots and lots.
It takes a zillion details, it seems, to file a bankruptcy case.
- Your last six months of income, business expenses, unemployment benefits.
- Your last three years of income from work and from any other source.
- The correct address for anyone who thinks you owe them money.
- Your projection of how much you’ll make and spend in the next year.
And it goes on.
Guess what? The 2005 Congress who passed the bankruptcy reform act wanted to make it detailed and daunting.
Some of those voting for the bill did so out of a moral stance: everyone should pay their bills. Some voted for it to benefit their backers, the banks and car lenders.
The stated aim was to increase the level of detail required to discourage people from getting relief and starting fresh.
Bankruptcy relief works
First of all, those trying to discourage bankruptcy don’t understand the dynamics of debt. A hopelessly indebted population is not more productive than a solvent workforce engaged in the above ground economy.
But second, who cares? We can do paper. The goal of bankruptcy, a fresh start, is worth the annoyance of finding those zillion bits of information.
The actual legal barriers to filing bankruptcy are relatively few. The deterrent of the new, detail driven approach to filing is largely psychological: make it seem like too much work or not likely to succeed, and those needing bankruptcy relief will procrastinate and make more minimum payments until they hit the wall.
A zillion is a fictional number. The relief offered by a bankruptcy discharge is real.
It will take some real effort to find all zillion bits of info; an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine the level of detail that is required to comply with the law. How to interview a bankruptcy lawyer.
There are probably a zillion reasons to make the push, and become debt free.
Image courtesy of Leo Reynolds.