10 Bankruptcy Commandments: Difference Between Discharge Success & Failure
To insure a successful bankruptcy, concluding in the discharge of your debts – follow these 10 Commandments:
1. Thou shalt not keep information from your attorney.
Effective representation requires all information be provided. Information requested is required by the bankruptcy court; if not provided – cannot file.
2. Thou shalt not hide assets.
The court will investigate your assets and claimed debts. Fail to claim an asset and it is discovered by the court – face criminal penalties. DO NOT DO THIS!
3. Thou shalt not fail to appear.
Want a discharge? All debtors must appear at the 341 Meeting of Creditors. Don’t appear – trustee may dismiss your case. Want a fresh start – SHOW UP!
4. Thou shalt not forget to bring your cards.
Several documents are required at the meeting. #1 most forgotten – driver’s license and social security card. Several days before your hearing, make sure you have these cards. If you do not have them, the trustee will not allow your case to move forward.
5. Thou shalt not fail to provide all requested information to your attorney.
Again, if your attorney asks for an additional tax return, mortgages, deeds, statements, bills, ANYTHING – give it to them! Your attorney must be able to give the trustee what they want, when they want it. If the trustee asks for documentation and it is not produced, your case can be dismissed.
6. Thou shalt not fail to listen to your attorney.
During representation you will receive information, tips, and advice. If your attorney tells you to do something, do it. Forget what they told you, call them and ask them to remind you. It is very important to follow the advice and instructions of your attorney. Listen, listen, listen.
7. Thou shalt not buy new things.
This does not mean you are not allowed to buy groceries or school supplies. Do not buy a new car, a new TV, jewelry, or any sort of item that could be considered an asset. If you do, your financial position may be changed, causing dismissal of your case. Any asset gained will be considered property of the bankruptcy estate and subject to creditors’ claims. Have money for new things, court assumes you have money to pay bills.
8. Thou shalt not fail to take your classes.
All debtors are required to take 2 classes. 1st class must be taken prior to filing. 2nd class must be taken after filing, but the certificate of completion must be received by the court before they will issue a discharge. Many clients fail to complete the 2nd class, other clients only fail to provide their certificate, and their bankruptcy is dismissed. Get your fresh start! Take the classes and provide the certificates.
9. Thou shalt not forget to tell your attorney about changes.
If your financial situation changes after filing, inform your attorney. If unemployed prior to filing and then become employed after filing, tell your attorney. Gaining employment will not always cause your case to be dismissed, but hiding important information from the court will.
10. Thou shalt not fail to provide everything your attorney wants.
You may have noticed this is the 1st, 5th, and 10th Commandment – it is that important!