Disclosure of Assets in a Bankruptcy Case
Filing for bankruptcy protection has many requirements; these are the obligations with which your Montgomery, Selma and Central Alabama bankruptcy attorneys at The Sellers Law Firm are intimately familiar. In order to request bankruptcy protection from the Court there are many requirements that must be fulfilled. The Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is generally broken down into several sections. Initially you must provide information about yourself including your current address or prior addresses if any in the last two years, your social security number, marriage status, and any prior bankruptcy or any pending or associated bankruptcy petitions. You also must include information about your income as a petitioner or any other income in your household if those incomes are combined or used to pay combined expenses. Monthly expenses must also be provided. If expenses are combined with other household members then those household members’ expenses must be provided as well. Also, you must include information about your debts. The debt information needs to include the name of the creditor, address, account number, date of the start of the debt, and if the debt is secured by real or personal property, or of the debt is unsecured. Finally, you need to provide information about any assets which belong to you.
While listing assets may seem to be a simple task sometimes the details about the assets is extremely important in how your petition for bankruptcy protection may be handled. In preparing these details you will be guided through the process by The Sellers Law Firm as your Montgomery bankruptcy attorneys. Generally, assets are broken down into four areas. First is a list of any real property you may own. These assets must include the location, type of ownership, any creditor that may have loaned money with the real property as security, and the value of the land. Careful consideration must be given when including the value of the real property because ownership of land is generally the largest value asset anyone may own. If the real property is recently purchased then the sales price is usually accepted for value or if a recent appraisal, broker price opinion or comparative market analysis has been done then the value may be taken from those documents. If none of these sources are available, then you may turn to the Counties tax appraisal office for a determination as to the value of the real property. The value of real property may become an issue in your bankruptcy petition because determining equity, if any, may send your bankruptcy petition in one direction or another. Equity is determined by starting with the value then subtracting the homestead amount of $7,750 per debtor, if the property is used for your primary residence, then subtracting any mortgages or liens on the property. If there is determined to be equity in the real property, then you may have to pay your unsecured creditors the value of that equity if you wish to continue owning the property. This would be true in both a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 case.
Outside of real property assets you need to include any vehicles including motorcycles, ATVs, boats, RVs, and even airplanes. We generally call these items your rolling stock. The third set of assets can be lumped together as your personal property which includes such items as household furniture and furnishings, electronics, clothing, collectables, jewelry, and sporting equipment such as guns, pool tables and golf clubs. The final groups of assets are considered financial assets. These include checking and savings accounts, stock, bonds, retirement and pension accounts, education savings accounts, tax refunds, life insurance policies, and the right to sue anyone for any reason. These last three groups of assets are, like homestead property, subject to your ability to exempt the cash value of up to $7,500.00. In Alabama, some of the financial assets are also given special exemptions over and above the personal property exemption. For instance, a retirement account or a 401(k) are generally fully exempt from access by your creditors.
So why is the disclosure of assets so important? Well bankruptcy protection is allowing you to receive protection from your creditors including harassing phone calls, lawsuits, garnishments and sheriff sales of real or personal property. In return for those protections you must accurately include any assets, their location, and values. Failure to do so can lead to criminal charges for bankruptcy fraud for which you could go to jail, be fined and/or removed from bankruptcy protection. Accurate and timely disclosure will help ensure that you maintain your bankruptcy protections.
Our Montgomery, Selma, and Central Alabama bankruptcy attorneys are ready to assist you and answer any questions that you may have regarding a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We are conveniently located in Montgomery, Selma, Greenville, and Troy. All consultations are always free so call us today, and we can usually meet with you within 24 hours! You may reach us by calling or texting 334-LAWYERS (529-9377) or by using the Contact Form on our website. You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that doing nothing changes nothing so act today!
The Sellers Law Firm is designated a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress and the President of the United States. We have proudly assisted people seeking relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code for four decades.