10 things NOT to do when filing for bankruptcy
Most people are unaware of the process of filing for bankruptcy. It is for that reason that many consult a bankruptcy attorney like those at Ariano & Reppucci. However, even if you are discussing your case with a lawyer and are seeking his advice, it is important that you be well informed about the process. The following is a list of 10 things that you should never do when you are filing for bankruptcy.
1. Don’t Lie
This is just not the smart thing to do. The majority of people who apply for bankruptcy protection are eligible. If, however, you are not eligible and you want to file anyway by falsifying information, you run the risk of the case being dismissed and being prevented from ever bringing a bankruptcy claim on those particular debts. Like I said, it’s just not smart.
2. Don’t leave out income
All income must be reported, even the small amount that you make from a part-time job on the side. Even other members of your household who work, such as minor children, their income has to be reported as well. So, if your teenager waits tables on the weekend for a little extra money for her school clothes, her income has to be reported to the court when filing for bankruptcy if you want to claim her as a dependent.
3. Don’t leave out cars
Cars can be assets (if they are owned outright) or liabilities (if they are secured by a loan). In either case, all cars must be disclosed. If you own a car, even if you are not currently driving it, you have to tell the bankruptcy trustee about it.
4. Don’t leave out creditors
Credit card companies will be able to tell if you have filed for bankruptcy. Tell the bankruptcy trustee about all credit cards, even those cards that do not have a balance at the time of the declaration. It is not worth the hassle to hide a credit card from the trustee. Just wait until the process is completed and get another card.
5. Don’t transfer assets out of your name before filing
This is fraud and it is a big legal no-no! If you want to keep an asset and you do not want to lose it during the bankruptcy, the best thing for you to do is to consult with a bankruptcy attorney, such as those at Ariano & Reppucci to discuss what options you have available so that you do not have to lose everything.
6. Don’t pay back family prior to filing
There are rules in the bankruptcy code about giving money to family members right before you file for bankruptcy. It looks suspicious and most likely the courts will deem it suspicious. If you owe Dad $10,000 and you have promised to pay him back every penny, do not pay him back in the year before you file for bankruptcy. Although the payment may be innocent and may be what you have intended to do from the time you borrowed the money, it looks like you’re trying to hide $10,000 from the courts and they do not like being lied to.
7. Don’t forget to list all potential or pending lawsuits
Lawsuits that you have against someone are assets. What does that mean? You guessed it. You have to tell the trustee about the lawsuits. It does not matter whether it is a class action suit against a major corporation or whether it is small claims matter against a roommate for damage to your house, in either case, the trustee will want to know.
8. Don’t gamble
Any and all gambling losses that occurred in the previous 12 months before filing for bankruptcy must be disclosed!!! Stay out of the casinos and away from the lottery tickets.
9. Don’t run up credit card balances prior to filing
This, again, is just not smart. If you believe that you are going to run up your credit card balance before filing for bankruptcy and get away with it, you will have another thought coming. The creditor can review the activity on your card just prior to receiving the notification that you have filed for bankruptcy. If the creditor believes that you intentionally drove up your balance right before filing, the creditor can challenge some or all of your purchases and you could end up paying money to the creditor after the bankruptcy has ended.
10. Don’t get depressed
Bankruptcy is not the end of the world. It is an opportunity for you to clean the slate and start over, learning how to make better financial decisions in the process. This is not the time to give up, cave in, and quit. Be proactive and understand that sometimes life deals us lemons and when it does, we have to suck it up, and make lemonade.
If you are considering bankruptcy as an option it is strongly recommended that you consult a bankruptcy attorney. For some friendly guidance contact the skilled Phoenix bankruptcy attorneys at Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC. Call today at (602) 515-0841.