This is Omaha and Lincoln Bankruptcy Attorney
Burke Smith with the Top 10 Mistakes people make with their bankruptcy. One of the first is not listing all of their
debts, not listing every single debt that you owe in your bankruptcy puts you at risk
for not having that debt discharged. The trade-off in bankruptcy is that you get
to get rid of all the financial and legal responsibilities of most of your debts and
in return you need to give notice to all of your creditors and not listing them on your
bankruptcy schedules can lead to that debt not being discharged. So it’s an easy fix list everybody. The other another mistake people make is not
listing all of their assets. All of the property that they own when you’re
filling out your bankruptcy schedules, you’re signing them under penalty of perjury saying
that these are all of the assets that I own and these are all of the debts that I owe. So when you’re filing your bankruptcy petition,
you may need to make sure that all of the assets that you own are included. Obviously, all the cars that you own, real
estate, personal property a full disclosure is expected and required. Another mistake people make is not showing
up for their court appearance after they filed their bankruptcy case. This is typically called a “Meeting of Creditors”
or a “341 Hearing”. 341 coming from the Bankruptcy Code where
it’s specified and this hearing is required for a couple of reasons. One the bankruptcy trustee is required and
to ask you about your bankruptcy case and to make sure there aren’t any mistakes that
have been made in filing it. The other is a chance for any creditor to
ask you questions about your case and about the debt that you owe them. Now nine times out of ten a creditor is not
going to show up in your case and ask you for questions and if they do your attorney
if you have one will be there to make sure that questions are asked or proper and for
any follow-up that comes afterwards. Another mistake people make is not taking
the required credit counseling classes before they file bankruptcy and after they filed
bankruptcy. Before you file your bankruptcy petition and
schedules you need to take the required credit counseling class and have that done again
before you file once you’ve filed your bankruptcy case you can then file that Credit Counseling
Certificate with the court. After the case has been filed you need to
take a second financial management class oftentimes called the “Second Credit Counseling Class”
and that needs to be filed before your bankruptcy case is closed. Typically within three months after the petition
has been filed. If you don’t get that second class taken and
filed before your bankruptcy case is closed your case will not get a discharge and you
will still owe all of the debts that you wanted to get rid of. The another problem or a mistake that people
make is not coming to their bankruptcy hearing prepared. And that means being familiar with all of
the questions and answers you gave in the petition. Now, there’s going to be a period of time
before preparing and signing your bankruptcy case or petition and filing it and then going
to the hearing the hearing is typically 30 to 40 days after the case has been filed and
when you go there if your attorney has done all the work that they he or she should have
done, you’re gonna know all of the questions that are going to be asked on the categories
of questions that the trustee is going to ask and you’ll be able to answer those questions
a thorough and intelligent way. Another mistake not made somewhat related
to this is not giving the trustee the documents that they require before that hearing. Once you file your bankruptcy case you’re
required to provide bank statements to the trustee that show the amount in your account,
amount in your checking and savings accounts on the date that you filed bankruptcy. You’re also required to send the trustee
your most recently filed tax returns and that needs to be done soon enough in advance that
the trustee can look through them and make any notes and have before the hearing itself. And if those statements and documents are
not given to the trustee with enough time to prepare for that it’s very possible that
your hearing will be dismissed in that you’ll have to come back at another time perhaps
you know 30 or so days down the road take time off from work etc. Another problem that often happens before
filing bankruptcy is not doing sufficient planning which causes you to lose assets that
you normally wouldn’t have to. I’ve been at hearings before where a person
filing bankruptcy found out at the hearing that there was too much equity in there in
the say a vehicle and that the trustee was going to demand the surrender of that vehicle
to them and with enough preparation in in front of before filing that person would not
have had to have had that happen to him. They would have been able to file bankruptcy
and not lose that vehicle. So talk with a professional qualified bankruptcy
attorney before you file and work out and make sure that all of the assets you own,
you’re going to be able to keep. Another mistake that happens regarding bankruptcy
is not timing it properly and as a consequence losing a tax refund. When a person files bankruptcy and they are
owed a tax refund, the trustee is able to can claim that refund as a property of the
estate. With proper planning and consultation with
a bankruptcy professional, it is entirely possible for you to receive that refund, use
it for proper perk proper purposes that that you need and still file bankruptcy and stay
within the bounds of the law. Another item that comes up that it can cause
problems with your bankruptcy is selling or transferring property before the case is over
or without the court’s permission. As soon as you file bankruptcy, the assets
that you own are now property of the bankruptcy estate and transferring or selling them without
the court’s permission is a serious problem and can cause you to either have your case
dismissed without a discharge or perhaps even a criminal referral to the Department of Justice
or the FBI. And just knowing that you need to hold on
to your assets and not dispose of them or transfer them until the trustee and or the
court has made that call and said that you may it’s an important thing to know and don’t
get caught in that situation. Finally, one of the big mistakes made is just
not showing up for that court appearance the “341 Hearing”. Again that is a required appearance that you
need to make and without going there the trustee cannot take care of the duties he or she is
required to and without that your case will be dismissed without a discharge. If you have any questions regarding any of
these mistakes that I’ve gone over or have questions about your particular case please
give me a call at 402 718 8865.