When you file for bankruptcy you must disclose all of your assets. There are a few common assets that people forget to list. While the oversight may be unintentional, failing to list assets can cause problems in your case.
The bankruptcy petition is filed under penalty of perjury, so it is critical that you provide a complete list of all of your assets. The list will include the fair market value of your assets, as well as the applicable exemption that protects it and allows you to keep your belongings through bankruptcy.
Purposefully not listing assets in your bankruptcy petition and trying to hide assets from the court is a federal crime. It amounts to bankruptcy fraud.
Of course, if you forget to list an asset it may not amount to fraud, but it may still cause serious problems with your bankruptcy case. The following are assets that people often forget to list:
Bank accounts are assets that must be listed. Remembering to include the checking and savings accounts you use most often is easy, but what about other bank accounts with your name on them?
For example, your name may be on the accounts of your minor children. Or, your name may be on the accounts of your elderly parents so you can help them manage their finances.
Even if you do not consider the money in these accounts to be yours, if your name is on the account then it must be disclosed in your bankruptcy petition.
Things Done For “Estate Planning Purposes”
First, before you do anything for “estate planning purposes,” we encourage you to consult with an estate planning attorney. Second, things people do for estate planning may cause problems in their bankruptcy. Some actions may harm your ability to file for bankruptcy, or it may make it impossible to protect the asset through bankruptcy.
For example, sometimes ageing parents will add their child’s name to the deed to their house. The thinking is that in the event of death the child will have ownership of the house. This is exactly the kind of “estate planning” that can harm a person’s ability to file for bankruptcy. If your name has been added to a deed, or to any other asset, that must be disclosed in your bankruptcy petition.
Money Owed To You
If someone owes you money, that must be listed in your bankruptcy petition. This is true even if you think or know that you will never be able to collect the money owed to you.
A final asset that people often forget to list in their bankruptcy petition is legal claims they may have. These include things like insurance claims or plaintiff’s claims in a lawsuit. For example, if you were injured in a car accident you may have a claim to collect money from the person who caused the accident. That legal claim is an asset that must be disclosed.
Discovering Undisclosed Assets
If undisclosed assets are discovered, the court has the authority to deny your bankruptcy discharge. This means you will still owe on all of your debts. Moreover, the bankruptcy trustee has the authority to seize and sell non-exempt assets to pay your creditors. This authority includes the seizure of assets that were discovered, even if they were not properly disclosed.
Disclose All Assets
When you work with us, we will prepare your bankruptcy petition and together we will review it for completeness and accuracy before it is filed. Call us today (912) 351-9000 to schedule your free consultation. The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel proudly serves all of Savannah, GA and the surrounding counties including Chatham County, Effingham County, Bulloch County, Bryan County, Liberty County, Long County.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.