Why You Cannot Lose Your Bankruptcy Case

Authored by Wendy Witt, Esq.

We've got good news - really good news. And, if you're feeling financial overwhelm and contemplating bankruptcy, we know you could use some very good news. Here it is: You CANNOT lose - you can only win your bankruptcy case.

  • If you consult with a bankruptcy lawyer, who knows the law, drafts your bankruptcy petition, and makes sure all of your ducks are in a row, your bankruptcy will proceed smoothly.
  • Of course, you absolutely must be completely honest with your bankruptcy attorney and disclose all requested information.

WARNING: Disclose All Debts, Repayments, and Assets

Even if you think the facts make you look bad or may make you ineligible for a bankruptcy discharge, you absolutely must disclose them.

Why? (It's okay to ask; and, it's a good question.)

  • First, you may not know what facts will help or hurt your case. The best plan of action is to disclose everything and let your attorney decide how to handle it - the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • Second, all information between you and your bankruptcy attorney is always kept confidential. While your attorney can't let you lie to the court, he or she cannot disclose detrimental (or helpful) information without your consent.
  • Third, you will not fool the bankruptcy trustee, the court, friends, family, and creditors. Any dishonesty or lack of forthcoming will come back to haunt you, guaranteed.
  • Fourth, your bankruptcy lawyer can only help you if he or she knows all of the facts. Otherwise, your case is likely to be "misdiagnosed". Withholding information or lying may crush your case and your opportunity for a fresh start.

Why Your Bankruptcy Attorney Needs the Nitty Gritty Details of Your Financial Life

Those bankruptcy case intake forms can be intimidating - page after page asking for your debts, assets, expenses, and repayments. All that paperwork and detail is enough to give even the most organized among us the heebiejeebies.

Here's why the nitty gritty is so important:

  • First, you bankruptcy lawyer needs the details to be able to diagnose your case and determine whether bankruptcy is appropriate for you; and, if it is, what chapter you should file under.

    Your attorney won't know what benefits you're eligible for (e.g. contract renegotiation) if he or she doesn't know about them.
  • Second, the timing of your bankruptcy filing can be very important and determine how much of your assets you can keep, whether you could be in trouble for certain repayments to "insiders", and whether you're eligible for a discharge at all.
  • Third, if you don't list a creditor, that corresponding debt will not be discharged (i.e. eliminated).
  • Fourth, if you lie on your bankruptcy or it's not accurate for any reason, a former business partner, spouse, friend, or relative, can notify the court, which takes such claims very seriously. The fallout would not be pretty.

How to Win Your Bankruptcy Case

This is where we bottom line it - to win your case you need to do two things.

  • First, hire a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
  • Second, disclose all requested information. If in doubt, always disclose.

If you do these two things, you will win your bankruptcy case.

How to Find a Bankruptcy Attorney

You're welcome to use our free - private - no obligation site to find a bankruptcy attorney. Just choose the lawyer of your choice on www.attorneys.org. In the alternative and if you don't mind making public your personal financial difficulties, you could ask a friend for a referral or call the bar association and ask for a list of bankruptcy lawyers.

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