Like just about any legal proceeding, filing for bankruptcy requires that you have exhaustive documentation. For example, when you first meet with an attorney, ideally you will bring paperwork such as proof of income (workers' compensation, pay stubs, unemployment payments and the like), any notices about foreclosure and wage garnishment, bank statements, debt statements from each creditor and paperwork if any creditors are suing you.
At least, that is the recommendation. What if you are unable to come up with these documents and others? You should still be able to file, although the timeline will probably be stretched to allow time to track down all the documents.
Planning can start
Your attorneys can normally start planning for your bankruptcy even if you do not have everything you need. While they work on the petition, you track down the paperwork that is missing.
Attorneys can help get the paperwork to you
For many bankruptcies, you will need to have titles and deeds as well as appraisals of jewelry and other items you own. Your attorney may be able to get the relevant documents sent or guide you in the right direction, letting you know how to order new copies of paperwork.
Organization is key
Of course, before your attorneys can help, they need to know as much as they can about your financial situation. So, having a list of all of your assets, debts, creditors, income sources and the like can make it much easier for you and your attorneys to reach out to the relevant parties to ask for another copy of the paperwork.
Likewise, it is helpful to keep track of things that do not necessarily show up in physical form. For instance, if creditors have been harassing you to the extent they have broken the law, keeping good documentation should help if you later decide to take action against that creditor's harassment.