Proving your expenses in bankruptcy - sending money to family abroad

Family is important to everyone. We work with a lot of people who moved to the United States specifically because it provided them the opportunity to earn a better living, which in turn allowed them to support family in their native country. Unfortunately, this does not make them immune from the same issues that often cause people to consider bankruptcy (divorce, major medical expense, and job loss). When we file bankruptcy for a client, one of the things we need to demonstrate to the Court is that the expenses our client claims are accurate. This can be tricky when one of their major expenses is sending money back to their home country to support family members (or buying phone cards to call them). People often use wire transfer services such as Western Union to send money to places in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Our clients often send their families some amount of money each time they get paid. The wire transfer companies provide a paper receipt, but generally don't keep records by customer (at least that they've seemed willing to release to the customer). When it comes to international phone cards, the buyer doesn't often get a receipt at all.

We know it's easy to toss or misplace receipts, particularly when they aren't for goods you are likely to return. That said, good record keeping is really important, especially if you need to file bankruptcy. We suggest picking up an accordion folder or other organizer and making a habit of placing receipts for all regular expenses in it. We also advise keeping all used phone cards rubber-banded together, separated by month of use, if possible. We can't guarantee that all your expenses will be justifiable to the Court, but having documentation will help us make the best case possible.

If you're in the Minneapolis area and have questions about bankruptcy or any other financial challenge you're facing, please call us anytime. We provide free consultations.