Bankruptcy rarely comes as a complete surprise. With this in mind, it’s crucial to monitor your actions well before filing. By avoiding the following behaviors, you increase your chances at a successful filing.
Don’t be dishonest.
This seems like a no-brainer, but so many filers provide inaccurate information. This can be either intentional or unintentional, but regardless — it will land you in trouble. If you don’t include all details regarding your financial situation or get the facts wrong, you could face a perjury charge. Often, debtors simply get careless with the paperwork and fail to provide all of the required information. This is why it’s important to enlist the help of an attorney when filing for bankruptcy.
This also means you shouldn’t hide or sell assets, as doing so can not only threaten your bankruptcy’s success, but could actually lead to criminal charges. Even if you’re just selling assets to pay off your debt, you could still run into issues. Selectively repaying some debts shortly before filing, whether that be to lenders, friends or relatives, can complicate matters as well. If your trustee determines a transfer was preferential, he can actually have it undone, and then divide up all the recovered funds amongst all owed creditors.
Don’t add to your debt.
Three months before filing, you’ll want to avoid incurring more debt. When you take on new debts before declaring bankruptcy, you provide lenders the opportunity to argue that you did so under the assumption that you would not have to repay them. This will hinder your chances of having those expenses discharged.
Don’t fail to stay on top of the situation.
In the years leading up to filing, you’ll need to practice responsible financial behaviors. For instance, your income taxes must be filed correctly for at least two years before you file for bankruptcy if you hope to be granted discharge, especially if you’re filing Chapter 13. Additionally, you don’t want to put off contact with creditors in the time leading up to a bankruptcy filing. Your lawyer should immediately inform lenders about your intent to file bankruptcy, in order to avoid unnecessary complications. Staying on top of your financial situation is key to a successful bankruptcy filing.
From the time you realize bankruptcy is imminent, you should consult a reputable West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney. Even if you’ve already done one of the things on this list, the attorneys at Kelley & Fulton can guide you through the rest of the process. Call today (link to contact) to have all of your questions answered.