If you’re filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be getting frustrated by the fact that you have to report all of your assets and potentially include them in your bankruptcy estate. Due to that fact, many people who are preparing to file for bankruptcy, or already in the process, try any number of things to hide assets. This is not an advisable action.
If it is found that you intentionally did not fully disclose your assets, not only will your debts not be discharged, you could be facing criminal charges. Every person who files for bankruptcy must fill out a statement of financial affairs (SOFA), requiring full disclosure about your financial history. This includes bank accounts, recently sold property, currently owned property, businesses you own and any transferred property.
In addition, you will be required to go to a meeting of creditors. When you attend your meeting of creditors, your bankruptcy trustee will ask you about any properties you own. Both the meeting and the paperwork are all under the penalty of perjury, meaning you are under oath. If you lie, there may be some fines to pay, as well as other penalties.
Many think that the bankruptcy trustee will never find out. Some assets, like an inheritance, overseas property or lottery winnings, are easier to mask than others. However, you should understand that your bankruptcy trustee is a professional and skilled at detecting and then tracking down hidden assets.
A Bankruptcy Trustee Will:
– Search public records
– Examine tax returns and bank records
– Investigate any digital assets
– Review your debts
– Look at payroll stubs, bank deposits and retirement accounts
What Happens if I Accidentally Omit an Asset?
If you discover that you inadvertently left out some of your assets, you need to be proactive and immediately file papers to correct the error. The court will not likely deny or revoke your debt discharge if it is shown that your mistake was not intentional. By being upfront and reporting the omission before it is discovered, it will show that the mistake was accidental.
Contact the Law Office of Joel R. Spivack today for a risk-free consultation to discuss your financial situation and your options. For more than 20 years, Joel R. Spivack, Esq. has helped countless people, like you, get back on the road to financial health through bankruptcy protection.