No matter what, filing for personal bankruptcy is always an incredibly complicated process and it’s not uncommon to see bankruptcy mistakes. You probably have many different types of accounts, multiple creditors and possibly even numerous assets. There are many different pieces that are easy to misunderstand and incorrectly address. That’s why it’s so important to have an attorney represent you. But, even then, your attorney will use the information you provide to file your forms. Everyone makes mistakes, but in the end bankruptcy mistakes can cost you, in money, time and even your freedom.
Bankruptcy Mistakes vs Accidents
Recently, reality TV couple Joe and Teresa Guidice both received jail sentences for, among other things, incorrectly filing information on their bankruptcy. While they were found to have been intentionally deceitful by failing to report both assets and income, it’s possible to make similar bankruptcy mistakes by accident.
Judges are trained to recognize the difference between purposeful fraud and honest bankruptcy mistakes when looking over bankruptcy filings. If you were trying to hide assets or income, just like for Joe and Teresa, expect there to be legal repercussions. If it was an honest bankruptcy mistake, you will usually have an opportunity to fix the problem and move on, but depending on your circumstances, the court can decide to punish even accidental inaccuracies with significant penalties. So the sooner you speak with an attorney the better!
Common Bankruptcy Mistakes
Some of the most common bankruptcy mistakes that people make are:
- Not listing all your debts – Your debt listing should include every debt you owe. Leaving a creditor out, even if it is a family member, is not allowed.
- Not listing all your assets – Everything has value, and it’s up to you to find and list that value when you file. Discovering that you have missed or misrepresented the value of an item could cause your case to be dismissed or lead to other negative consequences.
- Not listing all your income – Everything, even income that was from work done “under-the-table,” must be counted and disclosed on your bankruptcy form.
The most important thing to do if you find bankruptcy mistakes in your filing is to immediately consult with an attorney to find out what you can do to fix it. The sooner you deal with the issue, the less likely you’ll be to end up like Joe and Teresa.
If you believe you’ve made a mistake on your bankruptcy filing, contact our bankruptcy attorneys here right away. We’re ready to help!