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Why Do I Have To Tell The Court About Everything That I Own When I File For Bankruptcy?

Because not disclosing to the Bankruptcy Court a list of everything that you have an ownership interest in can possibly result in the court ruling that you have committed bankruptcy fraud. So it’s really not worth withholding information, especially when the item in question is just a simple piece of personal property.

When you file a St. Louis bankruptcy, it is necessary for you to do a number of things. These responsibilities will include providing evidence of household income over the six (6) months prior to filing (this is usually the last six month’s worth of paystubs), your most recent tax returns (which is usually your federal and state returns from the year before), and an accounting of all of your assets (whether it is in the form of personal or real property).

Real property is easy enough to disclose. You just provide a list of all the real estate in which you claim an ownership interest in. This could be your home, rental property, farmland, a camping site, or timeshare. The main thing that the Bankruptcy Trustee will be interested in will be whether or not there is any equity in the property. If there is substantial equity in any real property that you own, it is possible that the Trustee will either want to liquidate it in a St. Louis Chapter 7, or make you guarantee the amount of equity to your unsecured creditors in a St. Louis Chapter 13. Whatever the case may be, it is not as if disclosing to the court what real estate you own means that you will lose these assets. In today’s real estate market, with declining values and the number of foreclosures increasing yearly, the fair market value of most homes is less than what is currently owed on the mortgage loan (in other words, most houses are “upside down,” and therefore have no equity at all).

In terms of everything else that you own, this is broadly categorized as “personal property”. This would include things like clothes, furniture, appliances, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, claims against someone for a potential judgment in court, automobiles, water craft, intellectual property, and tools. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you an idea. Again, it is not as if by listing your personal property that you will lose any of these things. Your attorney can apply state exemptions to your property which will have the effect of making your stuff untouchable. This is done by providing your attorney with “garage sale” values of your furniture, dishes, appliances, etc. As a result, you will almost always be in a very good position to keep everything you own. But again, just because you have to make the court and Trustee aware of all that you own does not mean that you will lose these possessions. It’s just that you have an initial duty to disclose everything.

The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy attorneys at Brinkman & Alter, LLC have been assisting people with their financial troubles for over ten (10) years. Our goal is to get you back on the right path, by getting you a fresh start / clean slate in life.

We have two locations: in the Central West End, at 1 North Taylor, St. Louis, MO 63108; and in the Twin Cities of Festus / Crystal City, at 1000 Truman Blvd (Highway 61/67) 63019. The initial consultation is free of charge. So contact us today to learn more!!