Reviewing Your Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition – A Critical Part of Your Bankruptcy Process

I spend a fair amount of time in 341 hearings.  While waiting for my bankruptcy cases to be called, I listen to the trustee asking debtors and their lawyers questions about bankruptcy petitions.  In my experience, one thing that always that gets bankruptcy trustee worked up, are incomplete or inaccurate bankruptcy petitions.  Because the bankruptcy petition is signed by the debtors who, by signing it, certify its accuracy, debtors’ failure to read their bankruptcy petitions and lack of awareness of factual errors or omissions that they contain may cause significant problems.

While a completed bankruptcy petition usually runs between 30 and 40 pages, it is not an exciting read, and contains plenty of legalese, as well as recitals of the debtors’ financial assets, income, expenses,a a list of all the creditors.  However, by signing it, the debtor certifies that he/she not only read it, but that all information contained in the petition is true and correct, just as if the debtor testified to that information under oath.  At the beginning of every 341 hearing, the trustee asking the debtor if he/she read the bankruptcy petition before having signed it, reviewed it with his/her bankruptcy attorney, and if everything in the petition is true and correct.

Trustees get very upset at debtors because their petitions weren’t accurate or complete.   A typical debtor would tell the trustee, “I didn’t notice a mistake or omission and it needs to be corrected,”  but later admit they did not read the petition carefully.  When the bankruptcy petition is missing important information and that information could have been easily corrected by the debtor, the debtor’s credibility is greatly reduced.  If the petition is completely inaccurate, the trustee can allege that the debtor was engaging in fraudulent and deceptive conduct.

In my practice, I insist that my clients read every page of their petition and review it with me before they sign it.  Even if the client want to rely on my work, the petition has to be read by every client who must understand its contents.

If you are dealing with debt problems in Western New York, including Rochester, Canandaigua, Brighton, Pittsford, Penfield, Perinton, Fairport, Webster, Victor, Farmington, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Parma, Brockport, Spencerport, LeRoy, Chili, Churchville, Monroe County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Orleans County, Livingston County, and being harassed by bill collectors, and would like to know more about how bankruptcy may be able to help you, contact me today by phone or email to schedule a FREE initial consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer.

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