Truthfulness, or the lack of it, was once one of the key concerns of the US Judiciary Committee when it began investigations into bankruptcy abuse before the reforms of 2005. Their concern was that, in the past, bankruptcy petitions had been filed containing half-truths, omissions and outright false information that resulted in abuses of the system. While some argued that the bankruptcy system had never been abused to the extent the Committee believed, the reforms that were signed into law in 2005 included new provisions to tightened the accuracy of the information contained in filings. The Committee now puts greater responsibility on attorneys to assure the information contained in bankruptcy forms is accurate. Erie bankruptcy attorneys will check your facts and advise you on the accuracy of your information.
Aside from the fact that the new reforms require more fact checking, being truthful on your bankruptcy petition works in your favor, too. Dodging the truth and fudging balances is something that is sure to come back and bite you one day. If you're going to endure a bankruptcy, then include all the correct information so that the relief you feel when debts are discharged will be complete.
Here are some guidelines provided by Erie bankruptcy attorneys on mistakes NOT to make:
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.
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.
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.
Let Erie bankruptcy attorneys help you sort out your debts and put you on the road to a new beginning.
When faced with overwhelming debt and the possibility of bankruptcy, Erie bankruptcy attorneys can help get your financial situation back under control.