What Is Involved In Preparing The Bankruptcy Petition?

The bankruptcy petition is the document that gets filed with the clerk of the United States bankruptcy court. The petition is basically everything about you financially. It encompasses all of your assets, your liabilities, your income, your expenses and your statement of financial affairs. The bankruptcy petition is what the chapter 7 trustee is going to examine to determine whether or not you are entitled to a bankruptcy and whether or not you are going to have to give up any assets as part of your liquidation, fresh start.

The petition starts with general information such as your name, your address, your Social Security number, the county that you live in, and whether or not you have filed a prior bankruptcy before. The next section deals with real estate which is known as schedule A. If you have any interest in real estate anywhere in the world, it must be listed on this schedule. Moving out the schedule B, which is your personal property. In schedule B, you are going to list everything from checking accounts, savings accounts, household goods, clothing, life insurance, tax refunds, domestic pets and just about any other personal property. The next section, schedule C, is where you are allowed to exempt personal property from the long arm of the trustee. In the state of Illinois, we use Illinois exemptions in lieu of the federal exemptions. The state of Illinois has particular dollar amounts which allow you to protect property while going through the bankruptcy process. Schedule D details secured creditors such as mortgages, auto loans, furniture liens, and any other debt that is secured by property. Schedule E deals with IRS debt and other priority debts. Schedule F is the big section which deals with all of your unsecured creditors. In this schedule you will list all of the people that you owe money to for credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, and any other type of debt.

Schedule I deals with your income. In this schedule you are going to state whether you are single or married, whether you are working or not, whether you have a dependent child and approximately what you bring in per month from all sources. Schedule J, deals with your monthly expenses. This is where you are going to list everything you spend per month from rent, utilities, food, to transportation, to charity, and any other actual expense that you have per month.

The next section deals with your statement of financial affairs. This is where you’re going to list what you earned from a job in the past three years, what you have earned from other sources in the last three years, whether or not you are being sued, whether or not you have closed a bank account in the last two years and whether or not you have transferred or given away anything for less than its fair market value in the last three years. The final scheduled deals with your statement of intention with regard to secured property such as reaffirming the debt on a vehicle or surrendering the debt.

As you can see, the bankruptcy petition is a highly involved, financial document that paints the total picture of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. It is this document which is filed with the court and gets reviewed by the chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee. You do have the ability to make minor changes or amendments to the documents should the need arise. However, your attorney is going to demand that you provide all the information up front. He or she wants to make sure that the petition is accurate and truthful so that you get the best chance of getting a fresh start. If there are errors or significant omissions in your bankruptcy petition, then the trustee or the US trustee can move to throw your bankruptcy case out and you will not receive the benefit of a fresh start. Make sure that the information that you provide to your attorney is true and accurate and complete. If you do this, you should have a successful chapter 7 bankruptcy provided you hired the proper chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer.


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