Bankruptcy Alphabet—E is for Everything!

Bankruptcy Lawyer

Next in the Bankruptcy alphabet, E, stands for Everything. Why everything? Because a Bankruptcy is used to deal with everything you own, and everyone or every company you owe. I can’t emphasize this too much. This seems obvious, right? Bankruptcy is a solution to your financial problems, so of course it deals with everything financial. Based on the many meetings I’ve had with clients who are in financial problems, it is not so obvious. When you meet with a bankruptcy attorney, you need to “bare all”. Not by taking off your clothes, though. Rather, you have to talk about your whole financial history and situation. You need to reveal everything you own (all of your assets), and everyone you owe (all of your debts)—Everything!!!

Why do you need to talk about all of this stuff? Because when you sign your Bankruptcy papers, you need to swear that you listed everything you own, and everyone you owe. If you don’t, your bankruptcy Discharge could be denied (bad), or you could go to prison (much worse!).

Everything you own means just that: Each piece of real estate or land you own, all of the things in your house that you own, down to the furniture, jewelry, clothes, etc. Also, you need to list all motor vehicles, such as cars, trucks, boats, and mobile homes. Other things you need to list: bank accounts, retirement accounts or plans at work, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and any other financial investments. Also, you need to talk with your attorney about some other things you wouldn’t necessarily think of right away: any claims or lawsuits you might have against another person or company. What does that mean? Car accident claims, work accident claims (workers’ compensation), or even if a friend or relative, or someone else owes you money. Even if you haven’t hired a lawyer, and even if you haven’t filed an actual lawsuit, you need to disclose, or list, that. Why is this so important? Because, if you don’t list a claim, it could be denied later. You’d lose it! There are rules that allow you to keep or protect certain lawsuits. But, if you don’t list it in your bankruptcy, you can’t keep it at all!

Everyone you owe means: ALL debts! Not just the ones you want to include, or don’t want to pay. ALL debts. So, if you owe $100.00 on a store card, you have to list it. Same with all other companies you owe. You have to list even bills that you want to pay, such as your mortgage or car loan. Those will be included in the bankruptcy filing, but then you can choose to pay them to keep the house or car. You could decide to sign an agreement called a reaffirmation agreement if you review it with your attorney and decide that is the best way to keep the item. A reaffirmation agreement will require you to pay that bill even after bankruptcy, and is voluntary. You also have to list any friends or relatives you owe. You can voluntarily decide to pay them later, but you have to include them also. What is the harm of not listing them? You could be denied your bankruptcy discharge. Also, if you don’t list a credit card, for example, it still will be closed, because the bankruptcy will show up on your credit report. So Bankruptcy includes EVERYTHING—ALL of your Assets, and all of your Debts. Everything , including your Bankruptcy case, is riding on that fact!

Daniel J. Winter 


53 W. Jackson Boulevard

Suite 725

Chicago, IL 60604 312-789-9999