Debtor Responsibilities in Reviewing and Filing a Bankruptcy Petition
Many people filing for bankruptcy choose to hire an attorney to file their petition. Bankruptcy law is very complex and changes from time to time making it somewhat difficult to navigate for a pro se debtor. It is important to remember, that even though you have an attorney you are still personally responsible for the completeness and accuracy of your petition.
Your attorney will ask you to provide a number of documents including, but not always limited to, pay stubs, tax returns, and lists of assets and debts. When you are providing information about your debts it is imperative that you provide a complete and accurate list. It is also imperative that addresses of creditors are correct. Your attorney cannot obtain all of this information for you because your attorney doesn’t know what your debts are. We can run a credit report for you, but you still need to review that information for accuracy and missing information.
You will also have to provide information regarding your assets. Your attorney will then review this information and prepare your bankruptcy petition. Your attorney can only properly advise you about your case when all of the information is accurate and complete. Any missing information hinders your attorney’s ability to advise you and it may adversely affect your case.
After your petition is prepared, your attorney will have you come in to review and sign the petition. This time should be used very wisely. It is imperative that the debtor thoroughly review the petition for any inaccuracy or missing information. This is the last opportunity to add creditors prior to filing. If you realize after filing that you missed a creditor there will be fees to add the creditor(s) to your bankruptcy. Undisclosed assets can cause very serious problems as the trustee may consider the failure to disclose an asset fraud.
When you sign your petition you are signing it under penalty of perjury. You alone, and not your attorney, is responsible for the contents of the petition. This is also a great time to ask any questions you may have. This is the time to make sure you understand what has been listed. You can also ask your attorney about the process and any other questions you may have. We cannot answer an unasked question.
If you have questions, or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact a St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney today!