The Bankruptcy Code obligates a debtor to fulfill a number of duties to successfully complete a New York bankruptcy. Failure to do so can result in penalties ranging from dismissal to revocation of a discharge order to criminal penalties for bankruptcy fraud. 28 U.S.C. § 521 divides the debtor’s duties into ten subsections, and most of them fall into the first. Because there are so many duties, here is a list of just the documents a debtor must produce to the court, the trustee, or creditors, if requested, to meet those duties.
- A list of creditors
- A schedule of assets and liabilities
- A schedule of current income and expenditures
- A statement of the debtor’s financial affairs
- In consumer bankruptcies, a signed certificate indicating the debtor received the written notice describing the consumer bankruptcy chapters and the types of services from credit counseling agencies, and a statement describing the penalties for making false statements to the bankruptcy court and that the Attorney General may inspect the bankruptcy filing
- Copies of evidence of payment to the debtor by the debtor’s employer within 60 days before the petition is filed
- A statement of the debtor’s monthly net income
- A statement disclosing any reasonably anticipated increase in the debtor’s income or expenditures in the next year
- In chapter 7 cases where the debtor has secured debts, a statement of the debtor’s intention to keep or surrender the property securing the debts, whether the property is claimed under an exemption, and whether the debtor intends to redeem or reaffirm the loan securing the property.
- Any information requested by an accounting firm conducting a bankruptcy audit
- A certificate indicating the debtor completed the required budget and credit counseling course
- A copy of the debt repayment plan the debtor entered into if he or she developed through the budget and credit counseling course, if any
- A record of any interest in an education individual retirement account or qualified state tuition program
- Copies of the debtor’s federal income tax return for the previous year as well as subsequent years if requested
- In chapter 13 cases, a statement of the debtor’s income and expenditures in the previous tax year and the monthly income of the debtor
- Documents that establish the debtor’s identity, if requested by the United States trustee or trustee
Section 521 is very detailed as to when and with whom these documents are to be filed. The section also specifies the contents of the documents. Because so much of a successful bankruptcy hinges on diligently completing and submitting these documents on time or when requested, you can see why it’s important to hire an experienced New York bankruptcy lawyer to ensure mistakes don’t happen. There’s no reason to risk a dismissal for not filing a document on time.
For answers to more questions about bankruptcy, the automatic stay, effective strategies for dealing with foreclosure, and protecting your assets in bankruptcy please feel free to contact experienced fair debt collection practices act Bruce Weiner for a free initial consultation.