Know Who You Owe

October 18, 2010

Bankruptcy attorneys see people from all cross-sections of our population.  Most people have a good understanding of their financial obligations and know who they owe.  Others bring in grocery store bags and boxes full of bills they have collected for months and, in some cases, years.

 

It is very important to identify all of your creditors when you file a bankruptcy.  The Bankruptcy Code requires that you list all of your creditors, even those you want to pay in the future.  You must also make a good-faith effort to list the amount owed to the creditor.

 

There are two excellent sources for discovering who you owe.  The first is the US Postal Service.  Creditors and collection agencies are very good at sending monthly bills when you owe them money.  Collect your mail for a month and you will have a good start on listing your creditors.

 

The second excellent source for creditor information is your credit report.  There are three main consumer credit reporting agencies:

 

Equifax

http://www.equifax.com/

800-685-1111

P.O. Box 740241

Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

 

Experian

http://www.experian.com/

888-397-3742

P.O. Box 2104

Allen, TX 75013

 

Trans Union

http://www.tuc.com/

800-916-8800

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19022 

 

Each of the above consumer credit reporting agencies are required by federal law to provide one free credit report to you every 12 months.  You can obtain an absolutely free credit report from Equifax, Trans Union, and/or Experian by visiting the following website: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp

 

Obtaining a copy of your credit report is a very good step in making a good-faith effort to identify all of your creditors.  However, it is important not to rely exclusively on the information contained in the credit reports.  Not all creditors report to the credit reporting agencies.  Additionally, the information contained in your reports may be inaccurate, outdated, or incomplete. 

 

If you are considering a bankruptcy filing, get a free copy of your credit report and seek legal assistance.  You and your bankruptcy attorney can review your credit report and assess you financial situation.  While bankruptcy isn’t the answer to all financial problems, it can provide powerful relief to people who are buried in debt.

 

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