Once your bankruptcy petition and schedules are prepared, you will meet with your attorney to sign your paperwork. This meeting is much more than simply signing your name to the documents. It is your last chance to ensure that the information in your bankruptcy is correct.
The bankruptcy laws require that the debtor provide complete and accurate information regarding assets, debts, income, and expenses. “Accidental” omissions of property and debts can be corrected during the bankruptcy, but will certainly cause the bankruptcy trustee to take notice of your case. The goal of any bankruptcy case is to progress quickly and quietly to discharge. Errors and omissions will only cause delay and create additional costs.
Your attorney will review your paperwork with you. Your attorney is required to certify to the bankruptcy court: that he or she has performed a reasonable investigation into the circumstances that gave rise to the bankruptcy petition; that the petition is well grounded in fact; and that filing the bankruptcy case is not an abuse of the bankruptcy process. The signature of your attorney on your petition constitutes a certification that the attorney has no knowledge, after an inquiry, that the information in the schedules filed with such petition is incorrect.
After you and your attorney review your bankruptcy paperwork, you will be asked to sign the documents under penalty of perjury. Providing intentionally false information, or simply not taking reasonable steps to discover the correct information, can result in dismissal of your case, fines, or even jail! Consequently, reviewing your bankruptcy paperwork before filing is critical.
Once the bankruptcy paperwork is reviewed and signed, the appropriate fees are delivered to your attorney, and you have completed your credit counseling course and that your certificate has been issued, your case is ready to file. Bankruptcy cases are filed electronically with the bankruptcy court and it does not take long to receive a case number. You will receive notice of your Section 341 Meeting of Creditors about a week after your case is filed.
Signing your bankruptcy petition and schedules is an important step in the bankruptcy process that should not be taken lightly. It is your last chance to discuss important aspects of your finances prior to filing the case. After filing, any errors or omissions must be corrected with additional filings that can cause delay and expense.