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Myths and Truths About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Part III


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5/11/2012
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Myths and Truths About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Part III
Myth:  If a debtor wishes to retain personal property or real property, the property can be excluded from the bankruptcy and does not need to be listed in the petition.
Truth:  All property, real and personal, a debtor owns at the time of the bankruptcy must be listed in the bankruptcy schedules, even if the debtor intends to retain the property and maintain the payments.  Many debtors believe that if they are current on their payments and are going to continue paying for the real or personal property, such as a vehicle or home, they can leave the debt off the bankruptcy petition entirely.  This is not true.  The trustee and bankruptcy court want to know the assets debtors have at the time of filing.  They want to know what property the debtors have, the value of the property, and the amount still owed on the property.  The lien holder for the property must be listed with their address so they get notice of the bankruptcy.  If the debtor wishes to retain the property and maintain the payments, the debtor will indicate that in the petition so the creditor knows they intend to retain and reaffirm.  It is important for debtors to list all their property, even if they wish to retain it, so the trustee may determine whether there is unexempt equity and proceed accordingly.
Myth:  A debtor is not required to list cash they have on hand.
Truth:  A debtor must list any cash they have on hand at the time of filing the bankruptcy.  Schedule B specifically asks about cash on hand.  If the debtor leaves that question blank, they are stating to the trustee that they do not have cash on hand.  The debtor has an obligation to list any money they have in their possession, in their house, or anywhere else, such as a safe deposit box at the bank.  This rule also applies to un-cashed checks the debtor possesses.  Many debtors may believe it is acceptable to take money out of the bank or cash a check and keep it in cash so the trustee does not know about it and potentially require the debtor to turn that money over to pay some of their unsecured creditors.  This is false.  Any property a debtor has must be listed, including cash.  If not reported, the debtor can be investigated.  It is essential for a debtor to list all property and value that property honestly and fairly. 
If you have any questions, please contact a St. Louis or St. Charles bankruptcy attorney.


Category: Bankruptcy


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