Top 10 Bankruptcy Mistakes
Once the decision is made to file bankruptcy, you need to be aware of common mistakes and learn to avoid them so your bankruptcy case will go smoothly. Here are the top 10 bankruptcy mistakes:
- Trying to settle with creditors before filing bankruptcy. Many people will clean out their bank accounts, sell off property, even cash out retirement accounts to try and pay off creditors before finally realizing bankruptcy is the only answer. Creditors have no incentive to work with you, they want all they can get, including the high interest charges that keep growing. Once a bankruptcy is filed, their collection efforts are stopped, sit down with a bankruptcy attorney and discuss your options.
- Putting off bankruptcy for too long. Many people visit a bankruptcy attorney, then decide it can wait. That can lead to your wages being garnished, bank accounts being seized, collection calls and letters to continue, and the debts getting bigger and bigger. If you decide a bankruptcy filing is right for you, do not put off filing.
- Not responding to your bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. If your bankruptcy attorney requests information from you to provide to the Trustee or the Court, provide it by the deadline the bankruptcy attorney gives you. Failing to meet a deadline, could result in your bankruptcy case being dismissed.
- Taking out another loan on your home before filing bankruptcy. Some people put off filing bankruptcy, they decide to take out a second mortgage to pay off credit card bills or other unsecured debt. Do not do this, your home is secured property, debt on it could result in you losing your home.
- Not listing all creditors on your bankruptcy paperwork. All creditors must be listed in your bankruptcy case. Forgetting to list a creditor could result in that debt not being discharged in your bankruptcy case.
- Paying back creditors before filing bankruptcy. Many decide that they want to pay back certain creditors before filing bankruptcy, such as a family member who loaned you money. Do not do this! This will jeopardize your entire bankruptcy case. You are not to give certain creditors preference over other creditors. The Trustee in your bankruptcy case can sue creditors that were paid back in order to recover the money.
- Making transfers of property to others before filing bankruptcy. Never do this, you could be found to have made a fraudulent conveyance. This could put you and your bankruptcy case in peril. In addition, the bankruptcy trustee can sue to recover the property for the bankruptcy estate.
- Running up debt right before filing bankruptcy. Do not run up credit card bills, make balance transfers, or take out cash advances. Stop using credit cards once you make the decision to file bankruptcy.
- Making the decision to reaffirm on dischargeable debt after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There is no reason to reaffirm on an unsecured debt that would otherwise be discharged in bankruptcy.
- Finally, be honest. List all your debts and all your assets. Bankruptcy fraud is a crime. Do not do it. Visit an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to help you through the process.