In this blog we will explore a very important step in your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy process: Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition Signing and Filing.
Once you have met with me for your free initial consultation, retained me to file your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition and delivered to me all of the required documents, I will then prepare your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition and schedule a convenient time for you to come in to our office to sign your Petition.
Your Bankruptcy Petition signing is a very serious step in your Bankruptcy Process and you will be required to carefully read your Petition. This appointment will take approximately one hour in which I will go over each and every page with you and answer any questions you may have. Ultimately, you will be asked to sign several pages of the Petition under oath, swearing that the information provided is true and accurate to the best of your ability, and I will then electronicall or texty file your Petition with the Bankruptcy Court.
|QUICK TIP: The name of the Bankruptcy game is disclosure. You always want to make sure that you report every source of income, every asset and every liability you have because you are signing your Petition under oath and it will be examined by your Chapter 13 Trustee.|
This blog is intended to give you a preview of the many parts of a typical Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition. Please keep in mind that your Petition may differ according to your specific financial circumstances and that it is vitally important to always disclose all of your income, assets, debts (liabilities). A failure to fully disclose all of your information could be deemed Bankruptcy Fraud, which is a crime.
The first part of your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition consists mainly of identification and general information. It will list your name, address, and the last four digits of your social security number. It will give a rough estimate of how many creditors, assets and liabilities you have. It will also include your signature (as the “Debtor”) and mine (as your Attorney), affirming that the information provided is true and accurate. Please note that your Bankruptcy Petition is a public document and because of that your Social Security Number will always be redacted to the last four digits to avoid identity theft.
The next several pages in your packet will be your Statement of Current Monthly Income, the assessment used to determine if you qualify for a Chapter 13 filing and calculate your disposable income. For more information on your Statement of Income please consult me, and/or my previous Blog in this Chapter 13 Series as seen here [insert link to blog].
Your Statement of Income will be followed by Exhibit D which is your statement to the Court that you successfully completed your Credit Counseling requirement. Credit Counseling is a mandatory course taken usually on the telephone or internet, which takes about one hour, analyzes your financial circumstances and helps you create a budget. For more information on the Credit Counseling requirement please consult me, and/or my previous Blog in this Chapter 13 Series as seen here [insert link to blog].
The next part of your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition will be a Summary of the Schedules to follow. This is a snap-shot view of your income, assets and liabilities as more fully reported on each individual schedule (described in detail below).
The Summary will be followed by a series of Schedules as follows:
- Schedule A – Real Property: This Schedule will list any Real Property that may be in your name according to the Land Records with a brief description and its location, along with the nature of your interest in the property (e.g. whether you own it solely or jointly), its current value and the amount of any liens (e.g. mortgages) against the property. This list may also include time shares, if any.
- Schedule B – Personal Property: This Schedule will list all of your personal belongings, such as cash, contents of bank accounts and safe deposit boxes, security deposits with public utilities or landlords, clothes, jewelry, antiques, collectibles, firearms, sports equipment, household goods and furnishings, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, patents, copyrights, or other intellectual property, future interests in any estates or life insurance policies, legal claims against other persons or entities, vehicles and any other personal property not already listed.
- Schedule C – Property Claimed as Exempt: This Schedule will list all of your property that is exempt (or, in other words, immune) from being liquidated by your Chapter 13 Trustees in order to pay back your creditors. It will also list the specific law that provides for each exemption. A typical exemption is that for the equity in your car, or home (usually referred to as a “homestead exemption”). Depending on your specific set of financial circumstances, I will determine if it is in your best interests to use the State or Federal exemption scheme in order to maximize the protection of your assets under the law. (Check back to the LadyBankruptcy Blog site in the future for an extended explanation of the exemption system!)
- Schedule D – Creditors Holding Secured Claims: This Schedule will list any creditors you have holding a security interest in any of your property. Common examples of such interests are mortgages and car loans.
- Schedule E – Creditors Holding Unsecured Priority Claims: This Schedule will list any of your creditors that are holding unsecured (for which they do not have a lien) priority claims. These types of claims arise when you have child support obligations, government student loans or tax debt. These types of debts are considered “priority” and take precedence over your other debts. They are usually not discharged in Bankruptcy and you will continue to pay them while your Chapter 13 case is pending. Some exceptions apply, especially with regard to taxes. (Check back to the LadyBankruptcy Blog site in the future for an extended explanation of taxes in bankruptcy!)
- Schedule F – Creditors Holding Unsecured Non-Priority Claims: This Schedule will list all of your unsecured debt, such as credit cards, personal loans and medical debt. Unless otherwise determined by the Bankruptcy Court, all of the debts listed on this Schedule will be discharged. There will be an ancillary document related to this Schedule call or texted the Verification of the Creditor Matrix. This verification will include a list of your creditors in a matrix format for easy uploading to the Bankruptcy Court.
- Schedule G – Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases: This Schedule will list all unperformed contracts and leases that you may be subject to. The example I often give for an executory (or unperformed) contract is for snow plowing when it has not yet snowed and/or you have not yet paid the plowman. A lease, for example, for an apartment or a car is an executory contract to the extent that it has not expired.
- Schedule H – Codebtors: This Schedule will list any persons you have become liable with on a debt, other than a spouse in a joint petition. Examples often include parents who have co-signed a loan for a child.
- Schedule I – Current Income of Individual Debtor(s): This Schedule will list all current income you are receiving at the time of the signing of the petition. If you are married, your spouse’s income must be included whether or not your spouse is filing Bankruptcy.
- Schedule J – Current Expenditures of Individual Debtor: This Schedule will list all of your expenses that you will continue paying regardless of ever having filed for Bankruptcy, such as your mortgage, utilities, transportation and food expenses.
At the end of all of the Schedules there will be a “Declaration Concerning Debtor’s Schedules” which you will sign under oath stating that all of the foregoing information contained in the various schedules is true and accurate to the best of your ability.
Next there will be a document call or texted “Statement of Financial Affairs.” This statement will include information about such things as any pending lawsuits you are involved in, how much you paid for debt counseling and information related to any businesses you may own or have owned, among other pertinent information.
That statement will be followed by a Disclosure of Compensation of Attorney for Debtor. On this document I will list the amount of money you have paid for my services.
The final document in your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition will be your Form B21, otherwise known as your “Statement of Social Security Number.” This statement is the only non-public part of your Bankruptcy Petition and will only be seen by you, me and the Bankruptcy Court. It is not a public document and therefore, your entire Social Security Number will be protected against identity theft. This is quite possibly the most important document you will read and sign at the time of filing. In fact, I will require that you re-read this document several times, and even show me your Social Security Card to confirm the accuracy of your Social Security Number. If your Social Security Number is wrong on this form, your debts will not be discharged…but someone else’s may be! So always triple check…and then check again!
After you have read and signed all of the documents you will be given a copy of your entire Petition. After you go home, I will then electronicall or texty file your Petition. During the e-filing process a Case Number, the Chapter 13 Trustee, and a date for your 341 Meeting will be randomly generated and assigned to your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case. I will deliver this information to you by phone or email, and a Notice will be mailed to you by the Bankruptcy Court including this and other pertinent information about your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case.
In my next blog post, I will continue discussing what you will be reading and signing when you come in to see me with a full explanation of your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan.
For more information on Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, contact us today at 203-713-8877.