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What if I left something out of my bankruptcy case?

When you file for bankruptcy you are required to list all of your assets, your debts, and your income. All the statements and schedules filed in your bankruptcy case are signed under penalty of perjury. Therefore it very important to make sure you tell your attorney about everything that you own. Even if you don’t believe it is something that you would normally list or disclose.

From time to time errors are made and things are left off. If you forgot to list an asset or a debt contact your attorney immediately and they can amend your schedules to add the missed item. Typically missed items are life insurance policies—especially those that carry cash value—child support payments owed to the person filing, and cars titled to the filer but driven by someone else.

The reason it is so important to give your attorney this information up front is that all assets must be exempted or they may cause major changes in your case. A non-exempt asset in a chapter 7 can be sold and can cause a plan payment to increase in a chapter 13. While the exemptions can be amended if it something that was not originally anticipated, it may not be something that can be exempt.

If you forgot to list one of your debts, these can also be added. Most courts charge a filing fee to add or remove creditors after the case was filed. Also, notice needs to be sent to the creditor. A judge or trustee will not usually have an issue with adding creditors but may deny the amendment if the addition would have an adverse effect on the creditor; in other words, it may be denied if the creditor was not missed in harmless error.

If your bankruptcy case has already ended it may not be possible to reopen it to add the missing information. However, it is very important that you contact your attorney especially if an asset was left off. The bankruptcy code also imposes strict fines on people who knowingly try to deceive the court by failing to list assets. This is known as a bankruptcy crime. To avoid committing this crime, be sure to contact your attorney if you discover anything missing from your petition and they can discuss the issue with you further.

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