Bankruptcy Petition Schedules Reveal Your Basic Information

29 Aug Bankruptcy Petition Schedules Reveal Your Basic Information

Filing a bankruptcy petition is a process in which you disclose important information about your assets, your debts and your income and expenses. Anyone looking at your petition can usually see all they need to know about your financial condition by studying your bankruptcy schedules.

Who will be looking at your bankruptcy schedules? Your bankruptcy petition is public information, accessible and available for anyone to view. Usually, however, the only ones who will study your schedules include the trustee assigned to your case, the United States Trustee’s office, and any creditors who care to.

Assets are divided into real property (land including any buildings permanently affixed to the land – listed on Schedule “A”) and personal property (everything else – listed on Schedule “B”). The question is whether and to what extent are your assets protected by an exemption – listed on Schedule “C”. If an asset is exempt, it is out of the reach of a Chapter 7 Trustee, and does not figure into how much has to be paid into a Chapter 13.

Debts are classified as Secured – listed on Schedule “D”, Priority – listed on Schedule “E”, and Unsecured – listed on Schedule “F”.

With secured debts, you usually have three choices in a Chapter 7 – you can surrender the collateral that secures the debt and discharge the debt entirely; you can reaffirm the debt and keep the collateral; or you can redeem the collateral, by paying the creditor the value of the collateral.

In a Chapter 13, you can surrender the collateral, let the creditor repossess and sell it and pay any deficiency in the plan as an unsecured claim at the percentage paid to all other unsecured creditors; in some instances you can keep the collateral and continue to make regular payments to the creditor outside the Chapter 13 plan; you can “cram down” the collateral by paying the creditor only its value at a court approved interest rate; in many courts, you can pay mortgage arrears in the Chapter 13 plan and continue to pay the regular mortgage payments directly to the creditor.

Unsecured creditors are generally discharged in a Chapter 7 (unless a debt was incurred through fraud). In a Chapter 13, depending on several factors, unsecured creditors can be paid through the Chapter 13 plan at a mere percentage of what they are owed.

The third important section of the bankruptcy schedules is the budget, including monthly income (Schedule “I”) and monthly household expenses (Schedule “J”). The difference between your income and expenses will often determine whether you can file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

This oversimplified explanation is not meant to be all one needs to know about the bankruptcy schedules. If you are having financial difficulties, be sure to speak with a knowledgeable consumer bankruptcy attorney for a full and detailed explanation.

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Peter Orville is a bankruptcy lawyer in Binghamton, located in the Southern Tier of New York. He is a member and New York co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
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