Truthfulness in the details of your bankruptcy petition is absolutely essential. Dodging the truth, failing to list some debts or creditors is tempting as you might unconsciously attempt to lessen the degree of severity of your situation. But, failing to be up front with all your information will only serve to prolong or worsen your situation. So, bite the bullet and 'fess up. Your honesty will aid both you and Chicago IL bankruptcy lawyers in getting you the most relief from your bankruptcy petition.
Here are some guidelines:
Don't exclude creditors. Perhaps one of your creditors has been particularly kind to you during your ordeal or perhaps you know them personally and you are tempted to exclude them from your list of creditors and attempt to pay them off privately at a later date. This almost always never works and prevents you from achieving the relief that bankruptcy will ultimately afford you. Plus, if you omit certain creditors and the trustee becomes aware of this, you will have to add these creditors in and that can raise suspicions about the rest of your information. Chicago IL bankruptcy lawyers depend on you to bring as complete information as possible to the table.
Include any money or assets due you. When you list property and income in your filing package, be sure to list any assets or income due you, but not yet received. Some examples are:
-- A recent inheritance.
-- Stock options, tax refunds or monies from trust funds
-- Structured settlements
-- Pensions or retirement funds
You may claim some of this as exempt and keep it, but it must be listed so the court will have a clear picture of your assets. Chicago IL bankruptcy lawyers will help you determine what of your assets may be classified as exempt.
List all creditors. Omitting creditors from your list defeats the purpose of going through the bankruptcy process. You receive no relief from these debts and your creditor is still in limbo. If a creditor claims you owe them money and you think you do not, list them anyway and term them "disputed." If a debt is already being contested in a lawsuit, you may list them as "contingent" based on the outcome of the lawsuit. At the end of the bankruptcy process, you will no longer owe any of these debts, including the ones that are contested, and the dispute will be irrelevant.
Don't try to hide property or other assets. This will surely come back to haunt you. When you sign your prepared bankruptcy papers, you declare that all information in them is correct to the best of your knowledge and you will be held to the truthfulness of them under penalty of perjury. Intentionally filing incomplete or incorrect information can lead to your case being dismissed or your being charged with perjury. Honest mistakes are expected and can be corrected with a reasonable explanation to the trustee.
Trying to defraud creditors. C'mon now. Aren't you in enough trouble? The role of the bankruptcy court is to act as a neutral party between you and your creditors to settle outstanding debts. The trustee is charged with the responsibility of fairness to both you and your creditors. Attempts on your part to untruthfully state your position or to deny these creditors what they are legally due can result in deepening the severity of your situation. Some examples of actions sure to raise red flags with the trustee are:
-- Transferring assets to family or friends in an obvious attempt to hide their existence.
-- Maxing out credit cards just before filing for bankruptcy, especially if the purchases are for luxury items.
-- Concealing property
-- Concealing debts
-- Lying about income or monies and property due you.
Being truthful in your bankruptcy filing is for your benefit as much as for the court's. By listing all debts, property, assets and expected incomes, you are putting all your problems up front and soon it will all be behind you.
When faced with the possibility of bankruptcy, Chicago IL Bankruptcy Lawyers can help get your financial situation back under control.