Bankruptcy may seem like a pretty basic process, but there are a few things you can do to mess it up. These mistakes, even if they are honest errors, can result in some of your debts not being discharged or your case being dismissed. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can ensure that you do not make these common mistakes.
Common Mistakes in Bankruptcy
Although a variety of mistakes can lead to catastrophe in a bankruptcy, these are the most common mistakes that are seen when a bankruptcy is filed.
- Making credit charges right before filing bankruptcy.
- Failing to file your income tax returns.
- Attempting to hide assets by transferring property to other people.
- Failing to tell your bankruptcy attorney the entire truth about your situation.
- Waiting too long to file bankruptcy.
- Failing to complete all the necessary paperwork required for a bankruptcy.
- Lying about assets that you own or how much money you have.
- Failing to provide your attorney with information about a pending foreclosure.
Tips for Your Meeting With the Trustee
The above mistakes are ones that your bankruptcy attorney can help you avoid if you are honest with him or her. As part of your bankruptcy proceedings, you may be required to meet with your bankruptcy trustee. If that happens, here are some tips:
- Do Not be Overly Chatty: You will be required to answer questions, but do not offer any more information than is necessary. Avoid giving a while back story and be blunt with your answers.
- Answer the Questions on Your Own: Do not plan to bring anyone else to your hearing to have them answer for you, and do not expect your attorney to answer the questions for you. No one else is allowed to answer the questions, so if you do not know the answer to a question, be honest and tell the trustee you do not know.
- Do Not be Sarcastic or Disrespectful: The trustee is in charge of the hearing so do not be disrespectful. It could have a negative impact on your bankruptcy. Even if the trustee is disrespectful to you, you need to bite your tongue.
- Be Honest: It should be common sense to not lie as you are going to have to testify under oath. If you do lie, you could be charged with perjury.
- Know What Your Petition Says: Even if your petition was created and filed by your attorney, you should always know what your bankruptcy petition says. Before it is ever filed, be sure to review it and know what it contains. The bankruptcy trustee will ask questions based off of the petition so you should be sure that you are familiar with the contents of the document.
- The Bankruptcy Trustee is Not Your Attorney: The trustee may likely be an attorney and in charge of the hearing, but he or she is not your attorney. The trustee cannot give you legal advice or answer your legal questions. If you do have questions, address them to your attorney before or after the hearing.
- Remember the Hearing Time and Date: This is an important hearing so be sure that you are not late. You should plan on meeting your attorney at the place of the hearing at least 30 minutes before your hearing is scheduled. Your attorney may review questions with you and being early will allow you to relax and stay calm before your hearing begins.
- Bring All Required Identification: You should plan to bring your social security card and your driver’s license to your hearing. If you fail to bring these, your hearing may be rescheduled for a different date and time.
Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney Today
Going through a bankruptcy can be intimidating, and the last thing you need to do is make mistakes that are easily avoidable. The attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law can help you ensure that you are taking all possible steps and actions needed to get the best results from your bankruptcy case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.