If you’re seriously contemplating filing for bankruptcy to address your financial situation, you’ve probably been researching the process online. Filing for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy is a big decision; your attorney can answer your questions and guide you every step of the way to make the process as efficient and stress-free as possible. There are, however, mistakes that can derail your plans for a more positive financial future.
If you want your bankruptcy case to move smoothly, avoid making these costly mistakes:
1. Charging up your credit cards immediately before you file bankruptcy. It may be tempting, but believe us, the courts are on to this practice and they don’t allow it. When you file bankruptcy, you may not be able to discharge certain types of goods and services charged shortly before filing for bankruptcy, especially luxury ones and non-necessity items. Same goes for cash advances.
2. Signing paperwork with knowledge of inaccuracies. When you file bankruptcy, you’ll have to file a lot of paperwork that discloses your income, assets, debts and expenses. When you sign these documents, you’re signing under penalty of perjury. In other words, if you intentionally lie about material facts, such as your income or assets, you could become ineligible for a discharge.
3. Missing the Meeting of Creditors. Every debtor is required to attend the “Meeting of the Creditors” in bankruptcy court. If you are unable to go in person because you have an emergency, contact your attorney and find out if you can attend over the telephone. If you are away on business, out of the state, on military deployment, or even in jail, you may be able to attend the Meeting of Creditors by phone. Whatever you do, don’t neglect this meeting.
4. Faiure to honor the trustee’s requests for information. If the trustee on your case has questions or if he or she requests additional information or paperwork, do not ignore these requests. If you cause unnecessary delays in the case, the trustee can’t do their job and you could lose your discharge.
5. Failure to disclose assets. In bankruptcy, this is the most prosecuted crime. If you conceal assets, fail to disclose them, or transfer them before or during the bankruptcy with the intention of shielding them from creditors, you can face fines, incarceration and criminal prosecution.
The above bankruptcy don’ts are only the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about the consumer bankruptcy mistakes to avoid, contact our office to meet with a York bankruptcy attorney. All of our initial consultations are free.