Can My Bankruptcy Petition Be Amended After Filing?

Bankruptcy Petition Can Be Amended

Your bankruptcy petition can be amended after you file. This is often the case when someone forgets to list a particular creditor. The creditor may not have shown up on the credit report or the debtor simply misplaced a bill from that creditor. In a chapter 13 case, the bankruptcy petition often has to be amended to make changes to the budget. Additionally, secured creditors are going to object to the number that is listed in the plan since they are never exactly correct. For chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in Chicago, attorneys will estimate what the secured debt is on a vehicle or a mortgage. The creditor will file an objection to confirmation whereby they state to the penny what is actually owed pre-petition. From that point, the debtor’s counsel will amend the schedules and the plan to reflect the accurate amount owed.

At the 341 meeting of creditors the trustee often requires certain amendments to the schedules. Perhaps the debtor failed to list an account that they had. Perhaps the debtor failed to list the existence of a prior address in the last two years. Perhaps the debtor can explain in greater detail the fact that they have a personal injury case pending. For these reasons and others a debtor will be required to amend the bankruptcy schedules.

Best Efforts

I believe attorneys and debtors alike make the best effort they can to file accurate schedules. The mere fact that a bankruptcy petition has to be amended post-filing is not an indication that the debtor was untruthful or that the debtor’s counsel was incompetent. Some debtors will review the petition and schedules in great detail prior to filing. Other debtors will rely basically on the work product of the attorney and they will not scrutinize the schedules before filing. If something is brought to the attention of the attorney or if the debtor notifies the trustee or the attorney of additional information that needs to be amended, debtors counsel can comfortably amend the documents without feeling that they are less than complete.

Recent Example

Just recently I had a case filed under chapter 7 where the debtor signed under all penalties of perjury that the information was true and accurate. Two weeks later the debtor sent me an updated version with corrections to the documents. None of the corrections were life changing. Some of the dollar amounts were different, however the general tone and nature of the petition was the same as when the case was originally filed. This debtor was feeling that everything needed to be exact otherwise he would be committing some sort of fraud on the system. I went ahead and made the changes to the satisfaction of the debtor knowing full well that the changes were mostly clerical and not significant.

The take away from this article is to know that bankruptcy schedules can be amended after the case is filed. If you forget to list the creditor, it can be listed post-filing. There are certain court costs for amending documents. You can discuss that with your current attorney. Keep in mind that the court costs are not very high to amend the schedules. For more information on bankruptcy in general or amending schedules post-petition in specific, contact my office at 847-520-8100.

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