Here is the main thing I have to offer about filing an emergency bankruptcy petition: DO NOT DO IT. Now that I have that out of the way, I will rejoin the world of reality. Sometimes filing a last minute emergency bankruptcy petition happens. Such filings are referred to a "skeletal" petitions because there is no way anyone can do all the work it takes to prepare the schedules and statements of financial affairs at the last minute, the last hour or even the last day. So, all that gets filed in the petition (the first three pages), the mailing matrix of creditors, and a few verifications and notice items. The flesh of the petition is then left to complete and must be filed within fourteen (14) days. For me, a practitioner who likes to cross the t's and dot the I's, that is not enough time with all the other matters I must also tend to. Invariably, something gets left out and amendments must be filed or the Debtors do not get everything pulled together to meet the deadline and their case is dismissed. There
seems to be two reasons that skeletal petitions become inevitable: 1) people so dread the idea of filing bankruptcy that they put it off until the very last possible moment even when they see it coming, or 2) people ignore and deny the lawsuits and judgments or foreclosure until the garnishment hits or the master commissioner sale is about to happen and they wake up surprised. Bottom line is that folks want to hold on to the notion that if they just wait, things are bound to get better. This reminds me of the story of the guy that was stranded on a tiny island and was starving to death. Despite his dour predicament, he was sure God was going to save him. A ship comes by and the Captain hollers over and offers to help. The man, steadfast in his faith yells back, "Jesus is coming for me; He'll save me. You go ahead." A second ship comes by, but the man remains rooted deeply in his faith that God will work a miracle and save him. So, the man sends the second Captain away and moments later is face to face with Jesus in heaven, having expired on earth. The man is thrilled but perplexed. He asks Jesus why he did not rescue him off of the island. Jesus looks back and says, "I sent two boats after you!" So, perhaps bankruptcy is your boat. Certainly, remain hopeful of a better alternative, but go ahead and get prepared for what you already see coming at you. The benefits to seeing an attorney early on and then gathering together the information and documents needed are: 1) fewer chances of mistakes if the bankruptcy is filed so you are more likely to sail through it, 2) lower cost, and 3) peace of mind rather than panic.