You have finally received a discharge in your Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. Great! You are on your way to financial freedom, but your work is not over. For starters, make sure to keep copies of your bankruptcy paperwork, which includes the petition, schedules, and order of discharge. If you do lose them, the court will have it on record but will cost you time and money to retrieve them. The reasoning to keep these records is because creditors have been known to try to collect debts that have already been discharged in the bankruptcy. If your creditors actually try this, make sure to contact your attorney or the appropriate authorities.
Second, check your credit report. Obtain a copy of your credit reports and make sure there are no errors or inconsistencies. Every debt discharged in your bankruptcy should be noted as “discharged in bankruptcy” or something similar. If a debt is still listed as owed, send a copy of your discharge to the credit-reporting agency along with the schedules that lists the debt.
Third, list the debts that did not get discharged i.e. student loans, family support, recent taxes. Make arrangements to pay non-dischargeable debts. There are payments plans and settlement opportunities you can take advantage of to get these debts under control.
Fourth, start rebuilding your credit. One of the easiest ways to improve your score is to make sure you pay bills on time. Also, set up reminder on your calendar to pay bills every month by the due date. Most banks offer services that allow you to make payments electronically. Car loans can also help you to rebuild your credit and are more readily available than other forms of credit after bankruptcy. However, stay within your limits and buy a car that you can afford.
Fifth, make sure to start saving. Set up a savings plan even if it is for a few dollars per pay period. You never know when there will be an emergency. Also, try to put money towards your retirement.
Lastly, update your will. Your financial situation has changed, and you want to make sure your will reflects the position you are currently in and what you want going forward. You may require an attorney to draft one for you.
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