When your bankruptcy attorney hands you the bankruptcy petition to sign, you need to review the petition with great detail. When a person signs their bankruptcy paperwork, they do so under penalty of perjury, but that is just the first concern. Also important with all bankruptcy petitions is the complete inclusion of all of your creditors.
Failure to provide the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy trustee with accurate and complete petitions can result in severe consequences. These can range from perjury, your case being dismissed, or a debt not being discharged upon completion of the bankruptcy. Of course the law is not in place to punish or harm an honest mistake and certain mistakes can be fixed if they are caught within a reasonable amount of time.
One of the most common mistakes that is often made when a person files for bankruptcy is when they accidentally leave a creditor off of the petition. Once again, as long as this is caught in time there might be time to rectify this situation. However, if this is not caught in time there is a great chance that the debt will not be dischargeable upon completion of the bankruptcy process.
There are other issues that can arise. Many times a person might owe a debt to a friend or a relative and they would like to keep this person out of the bankruptcy and thus protect their financial interest. Unfortunately the bankruptcy laws do not allow you to pick and choice which debts you are willing to pay and which you would like to discharge when dealing with unsecured creditors. Should the bankruptcy trustee or the Judge become aware that you have knowingly failed to include certain creditors, it could be deemed as fraud and lead to adverse actions against you. The trustee might even start to question your entire bankruptcy petition and make a relatively simple process much more complex.
Finally, be completely honest with your bankruptcy attorney. The laws have been written to protect the good, hard working, honest American who has fallen on hard times. If you choose to try and hide assets, lie under oath, or commit any other fraud the penalties can be quite severe. It is just not worth it. Your lawyer will be your biggest advocate and offer you advice on the best way to move forward, but the only way they can do their job is with your help and honesty.
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