Why Hiding Assets in Bankruptcy is Never a Good Idea

You may have heard it before, and your Morris County bankruptcy attorney will tell you, that you must disclose all of your assets when filing bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court will dismiss your case if you intentionally refuse to disclose property you own or omit material information about your financial affairs. Furthermore, the United States Trustee may pursue fraud charges against you, and you can go to jail if the government convicts you of bankruptcy fraud.

Disclose Everything When Filing Bankruptcy

When you sign your bankruptcy paperwork, you do so under the penalty of perjury that all the information contained therein is true; your signature is an oath that you have disclosed everything and have listed all your property, income and debts. If you purposely omit information or hide information, the court can dismiss your case.

Honest mistakes will not cause you any trouble. If you accidentally omit or misstate information, you can file an amendment or explain the mistake to the bankruptcy trustee. However, if you omit too much information, the court may consider the omission a reckless disregard for the truth, which can result in dismissal and which can also bring criminal charges.

List all property you currently have and any property that you know is coming to you, such as pending inheritances, tax refunds, lawsuit judgments, life insurance proceeds and retirement funds. If you are on the deed to real property or the title of a car, list that property, even if you think the property is not really yours or you own it with someone else. Deeds and titles indicate legal ownership, despite the informal arrangement you may have made with any joint owner.

Your Morris County bankruptcy lawyer can explain all of your obligations. You will likely get to keep a majority of the property you list through the various exemptions available to you.

The bottom line is that if you purposely try to hide assets and information from the bankruptcy court, you may have a bigger problem to deal with than your original debt. Contact a qualified Morris County bankruptcy attorney for more information on how to have a problem-free bankruptcy case.

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