Find out about all your debts

Produced by Attorney Mariah Jennings-Rampsi for MassLegalHelp
Created October 2016

How much do you owe? and whom do you owe?

To file for bankruptcy you need to know how much you owe each of your creditors.

When you file for bankruptcy you must list the original creditor and any debt collectors that tried to collect the debt.

If you do not have a statement, contact the creditor or debt collector.  Ask for a written statement that shows your current balance. The statement should also tell you if your account has been sent to collections.  If you cannot reach the creditor by phone you can write a letter. If you owe a court judgment or fine, call the court to get the current balance.  If you owe child support or alimony, get copies of the most recent court order. You will have to go to the court that made the order to get a copy. Also get the most recent statement from the child support collection agency.


The amounts on credit reports are not always up to date.  The best way to get this information is to ask the creditor directly. 

List every debt, even if it is not on your credit report. Your credit reports do not always show all your debts.  Some creditors do not report to credit bureaus.  For example, many doctors, landlords, and utility companies do not show up on credit reports.  Also court fines may not show up.

Private people generally do not report to credit bureaus either.  If you know you owe money to a business or a person, you need to list it on your bankruptcy petition. Also list any debt you owe to a family member or a friend.

Write a letter right now.

Or get the letter as a

Word icon Word or

RTF icon Rich Text Format file.

Use it to ask your creditors for a written statement.

Filing without a lawyer

  • Bankruptcy is complicated. Filing without a lawyer is risky.
  • You can lose property and money. You can go to jail if you do not tell the truth.

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