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Frequently Asked Questions for providing Documents and Payments

Contents

Q:

How do I turn in the requested documents from the Document Checklist?

A:

You have 4 options for submitting documents to our office. Use whatever method works the best for you.  We do ask that regardless of what method you use to turn in your documents, that you please turn in the majority/ all of the requested documents to our office at one time, rather than piecemeal over a period of time. 


Electronic Method - Shared Secure DropBox Folder

  • To provide documents electronically, you will need to ensure your documents are in "PDF" file format. Please do not take pictures with your camera phone

    • Instead, download a free camera scanner app (such as Simple Scan on Apple or Android), This app will automatically convert your image to a compact PDF file that can be uploaded. Additionally, you can scan multiple page documents and save as a single PDF file, rather than taking pictures of each individual page.

    • For documents that you will obtain online, you can use the "Print to PDF" or "Save to PDF" option on your web browser's Print Menu and save the document as a PDF. To learn how to use the "Print to PDF" option on your web browser, go to https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to-save-a-webpage-as-a-pdf/

    • Upload your PDFs to the secure Dropbox folder that was shared with you. Go to the shared Dropbox folder using the link that was provided to you. To sign in you do not need a Dropbox account: Your ID is in parenthesis in the Dropbox file name. Your PW is your zip code.

    • Using the blue Upload button in the upper-left of the screen, upload your documents to the secured


Electronic Method - Email to 'documents@atlasfirm.com"

  • To provide documents electronically, you will need to ensure your documents are in "PDF" file format. Please do not take pictures with your camera phone

    • Instead, download a free camera scanner app (such as Simple Scan on Apple or Android), This app will automatically convert your image to a compact PDF file that can be uploaded. Additionally, you can scan multiple page documents and save as a single PDF file, rather than taking pictures of each individual page.

    • For documents that you will obtain online, you can use the "Print to PDF" or "Save to PDF" option on your web browser's Print Menu and save the document as a PDF. To learn how to use the "Print to PDF" option on your web browser, go to https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to-save-a-webpage-as-a-pdf/

    • Attach your PDFs to an email and send to 'documents@atlasfirm.com". Please do not embed images for documents (such as screenshots) into an email.


Hard Copy Method - Drop-off

  • Drop off the documents at our Anoka office (2006 First Ave. N., Suite 206, Anoka, MN 55303). Note that any originals you provide will be returned to you either at your case document review meeting or after your meeting with the trustee. 


Hard Copy Method - U.S. Mail

  • Mail the documents to our Anoka office (2006 First Ave. N., Suite 206, Anoka, MN 55303). Note that any originals you provide will be returned to you either at your case document review meeting or after your meeting with the trustee.

Q:

How do I make a payment to Atlas Law Firm for my fees?

A:

You have 3 options for making payments to our office. Use whatever method works the best for you. Please make your payment contemporaneous with turning in your documents.   

  • ACH Payment via Electronic Invoice

    • After electronically signing the Filing Agreement, an invoice was emailed to you. Follow the instructions in that email to submit an ACH payment (electronic check) through the invoice. If you did not receive an emailed invoice, please email 'billing@atlasfirm.com' to request an invoice be emailed to you. 

  • Drop-off check or money order

    • Drop off the check/ money order with your documents at one of our 7 office locations. Note that Atlas Law Firm does not accept cash. Make checks or money orders payable to Atlas Law Firm. Please be sure that your printed name is on the check or money order.

  • Mail check or money order

    • Mail the check or money order to our Anoka office (2006 First Ave. N., Suite 206, Anoka, MN 55303). Make checks or money orders payable to Atlas Law Firm. Please be sure that your printed name is on the check or money order.

Q:

Does Atlas Law Firm accept cash?

A:

Atlas Law Firm does not accept cash. Please obtain a money order at your local post office or Cub Foods. The cost of a money order is approximately $1.50 per $1,000 money order. Make money orders payable to Atlas Law Firm. Please be sure that your printed name is on the money order.

Q:

Can a family member or friend pay my fee?

A:

A family member or friend can pay your fee by making a check payable to Atlas Law Firm directly from their bank account. We simply ask that your name be included in the memo field so we know whose account to apply payment. Alternatively, if your family member or friend wishes to pay you directly and have you make payment to Atlas Law Firm, that is acceptable as well. However, if the payment from the family member or friend is considered a loan, do NOT make payment(s) on the loan to the family member or friend before your case is filed, as this can cause issues in your case. If your family member or friend wishes to make payment via credit card or debit card, please see guidance on those forms of payment below. 

Q:

Does Atlas Law Firm accept debit cards?

A:

Debit card transactions are processed by banks on the same network as credit card transactions. For this reason, debit card transactions carry the same ~3.5% transaction fee as credit cards. If you must pay via debit card, Atlas Law Firm will pass the ~3.5% transaction fee onto you. To request an electronic invoice for debit card payment be emailed to you, or to request to make a debit card payment via phone, please email your request to 'billing@atlasfirm.com'.  

Q:

Does Atlas Law Firm accept credit cards?

A:

For bankruptcy clients, Atlas Law Firm can only accept credit card payments from a family member or friend of the client. We cannot accept a payment for bankruptcy from a client's credit card. For estate planning, litigation, and other non-bankruptcy clients, we can accept credit card payments from the client's credit card. However, credit card transactions carry a ~3.5% transaction fee. If you must pay via credit card, Atlas Law Firm will pass the ~3.5% transaction fee onto you. To request an electronic invoice for credit card payment be emailed to you, or to request to make a credit card payment via phone, please email your request to 'billing@atlasfirm.com'.  

Q:

How do I sign the Retainer Agreement?

A:

During your free consultation, or shortly after, an email was sent to you with a link to your Retainer Agreement. You can open and read the Retainer Agreement by clicking the link in that email. After reviewing the Retainer Agreement, you can electronically sign the Retainer Agreement and save a copy for your records.  If you did not receive an email with a link to your Retainer Agreement, please email 'documents@atlasfirm.com' to request that an email with a link to your Retainer Agreement be sent to you.    

Q:

I don't use email, how can I sign the Retainer Agreement?

A:

If you do not use email, we are happy to provide a hard copy of your Retainer Agreement at your free consultation or send it to you via U.S. mail. If you have not already received a hard copy of your Retainer Agreement, please call our front desk at 763-392-7754 to request that your Retainer Agreement be sent to you via U.S. mail. You can return your signed Retainer Agreement with your requested documents via U.S. mail or Drop-off as indicated above.  

Q:

What do you need for my tax returns?

A:

Under the bankruptcy laws, you are required to provide a complete copy of your most recently filed federal and state income tax returns to the Trustee.  We ask that you provide us with a complete copy (all forms and schedules) of your most recently filed Federal and MN tax income returns. If you file property tax refund/ renter's rebate returns, we ask for the most recently filed property tax refund/ renter's rebate return as well. In addition, we ask for the previous year's income tax returns as well, because those will include information needed to complete your case documents. However, if you cannot find your prior year's (2 years ago - not the most recently filed) income tax returns, we can use your prior year's W2s and/ or 1099s. But we are required by law to obtain your most recently filed income tax returns. If you are not required to file income tax returns, we will prepare an Affidavit for you to sign in the presence of a notary in our office stating that you do not have recently filed income tax returns to provide because you are not required to file income tax returns. 

Q:

How do I get copies of my paystubs?

A:

Minnesota employers are required to keep records about each employee including the amount paid each pay period. Many employers use a payroll service that provides an employee's payroll records via a secure online payroll portal. If you do not have access to your employer's online payroll portal, contact your employer's HR department to set up access. Then follow the process to use the "Print to PDF" or "Save to PDF" option on your web browser's Print Menu outlined above at How do I turn in the requested documents from the Document Checklist? 

  • If you work for a small company, that company is still required to keep payroll records, you may need to contact your employer's bookkeeper and request a Pay History Report for the 6-month period we have requested. As long as the Pay History Report includes your gross income and dates of payment, it will be acceptable. 

  • If you're requesting paystubs for the previous 6 months from a company for which you are no longer employed, that former employer has the same legal obligations to provide your payroll records as your current employer. If you no longer have access to the former employer's online payroll portal, you must call the former employer's payroll or HR department and request that the paystubs or Pay History Report for the previous 6 months be sent to you. 

Q:

Can I provide bank statements showing my paycheck deposits instead of my paystubs or Pay History Report?

A:

If you are a W2 employee, unfortunately bank statements will not be sufficient because we need to report your gross income (before deductions) to the court for the previous 6 months to calculate the means test qualifications: your bank statements will only show us your net income after deductions. If you are a 1099 independent contractor (and only if you are a 1099 independent contractor - i.e., no deductions come out of your pay) then we potentially can use your bank statements in lieu of your paystubs for the previous 6 months of income.  

Q:

What can I provide for my Child Support pay history?

A:

You can provide your past 6 months of bank statements showing the Child Support deposits (e.g., US Bank Reliacard statements) or a Child Support Pay History from your Case Worker.  

Q:

What can I provide for my Unemployment Compensation pay history?

A:

For help obtaining Unemployment payment history, go to:  http://www.uimn.org/applicants/getpaid/print-payment-history/

Q:

What can I provide for my Self-Employment income history?

A:

You pay yourself via payroll

  • If you pay yourself via a payroll, please provide copies of your paystubs from the previous 6 months.

You pay yourself via payroll and distributions/ draws from the business

  • If you also pay yourself distributions/ draws in addition to payroll, please also provide 6 months of your personal account bank statements showing distributions. 

You pay yourself only via distributions/ draws from the business 

  • If you only take distributions for your self-employment, please provide 6 months of your personal account bank statements showing distributions. 

You run all business income and personal expenses through one bank account

  • Provide copies of the bank account(s) you run all income and expenses for the previous 6 months. 

You are an independent contractor for a company and are paid through an app

  • If you're an independent contractor for an online company (e.g., Uber, Lyft, Shipt, Instacart, Fiverr, etc.) you can provide PDFs (not screenshots) of your payment history from the app from the past 6 months. Please follow the instructions outlined above for the "Print to PDF" or "Save to PDF" option on your web browser's Print Menu and save the document as a PDF

Q:

What can I provide for my Retirement or Pension income history?

A:

If you receive paystubs from your pension/ retirement income provider and have copies, you can provide those paystubs. If you do not receive paystubs, you can provide bank statements showing the retirement/ pension deposits for the previous 6 months. 

Q:

What can I provide for my Social Security Retirement or Social Security Disability income history?

A:

A current year benefit letter is acceptable for Social Security income.

Q:

What can I provide for my Workers' Comp or VA Disability income history?

A:

Bank statements, paystubs for the previous 6 months or a current year benefit letter is acceptable for Workers' Comp or VA Disability income.

Q:

What can I provide for my Short-Term or Long-Term Disability Insurance income history?

A:

Please provide paystubs for your Short-Term or Long-Term Disability Insurance income from the previous 6 months.  

Q:

How do I get the 1st online certificate (aka Credit Counseling Course Certificate)?

A:

The law requires that you take two "courses" online or over the phone to complete your case. The 1st course needs to be completed before we can file your case. The U.S. Trustee's Office (which oversees administration of bky cases) maintains a list of approved companies at https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111.  You can complete the 1st course through whichever approved company you choose. Atlas Law Firm recommends www.BothCourses.com as we understand that it is the lowest cost option (approx. $12 with discount) and takes approximately 60 minutes to complete. USE CODE FRMS343 TO GET $5 DISCOUNT.

  • TIP: Complete the course when you have compiled your paystubs and tax returns and before you turn them into our office as you will need to complete budget information.

  • NOTE: If you cannot take the course via the internet. A different company called, ACDCAS provides the service via phone 24 hours/ day. The cost is $20/ person. Call (888) 415-8173. Be sure to provide them with the email address of 'documents@atlasfirm.com' to ensure we receive a copy of the 1st course certificate. 

Q:

When do I get/ need the 2nd and final online certificate (aka Financial Management or Debtor Education Certificate)?

A:

You are not able/ need to complete the 2nd course certificate until after your case is filed. Again, you can complete the course though any U.S. Trustee approved provider (https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111). The 2nd course certificate must be filed with the court at least 75 days after your case is filed. You will need to know your case number to register for the 2nd course. You will not need to provide any budget or case information as part of the course. Atlas Law Firm recommends www.BothCourses.com as we understand that it is the lowest cost option (approx. $12 with discount) and takes approximately 120 minutes to complete. 

  • NOTE: If you cannot take the course via the internet. A different company called, ACDCAS provides the service via phone 24 hours/ day. The cost is $20/ person. Call (888) 415-8173. Be sure to provide them with the email address of 'documents@atlasfirm.com' to ensure we receive a copy of the 2nd course certificate.

Q:

What debt information do I need to provide?

A:

Atlas Law Firm will pull your credit report, but please provide a list (at the end of the Asset Sheet at the end of the Document Checklist) for any debts that you don't think will appear on your credit report (i.e., medical bills, personal loans, etc.) No need to turn in any bills.

  • NOTE: For any non-credit report debts (e.g., medical bills, personal loans, etc.) we only need the name of the business/ person to whom you owe the money. We do not need account numbers or even balances. 

Q:

How should I complete the Asset Sheet? 

A:

Anything you own that can be sold is considered an asset (even if low value). For property acquired for personal use (e.g., furniture, home electronics, clothing, etc.) you should use what you estimate a retail consignment merchant would charge for the item for considering its age and condition. You do not need to search the internet for items for sale similar to yours. Instead, provide a good faith estimate on what you think you could sell your items for in their present condition - not garage sale or pawn shop sale value. For collector items or unique items, you may want to search online for similar items for sale. For larger items, such as vehicles, use Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, or NADA values to obtain Private Party Sale (not Trade In value). 

Q:

What are the Mandatory Disclosures required under 11 U.S.C. § 342(b)?  

A:

Under the bankruptcy laws Atlas Law Firm is required to provide a copy of the Mandatory Disclosures to a prospective client within three days of the initial consultation. The Mandatory Disclosures were linked in our first email to you after your free consultation. The Mandatory Disclosures can also be found at: https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/form_b2010.pdf 

Q:

What is the Bankruptcy Information Sheet?

A:

Under the bankruptcy laws Atlas Law Firm is required to provide a copy of the Bankruptcy Information Sheet  to a prospective client within three days of the initial consultation. The Bankruptcy Information Sheet was linked in our first email to you after your free consultation. The Bankruptcy Information Sheet can also be found at: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/ust/legacy/2011/10/06/bky-info_english.pdf