How to annoy, upset and aggravate your bankruptcy trustee and delay your discharge – first of a series

18 Feb How to annoy, upset and aggravate your bankruptcy trustee and delay your discharge – first of a series

When you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you want to get your discharge – fast. That means just after 60 days from the time you have your first meeting of creditors. And that happens about a month after you file your case.

Usually, it is only the chapter 7 trustee who might stand in the way of your discharge.

But the trustee wants to get in and out of your case as soon as possible – especially if you don’t have any assets which can be sold for your creditors.

How can you mess this up?

Oh there are so many ways!

One of the worst things you can do is to leave off an important asset from your bankruptcy schedules. Let’s say you own a motorcycle. Let’s say it’s a Harley-Davidson for example. Maybe you don’t drive it or even have it registered. You don’t think anyone will ever know. So you say to yourself, “Well, I’m not going to file bankruptcy on my Harley.” Or maybe you say to yourself “Well, I’m not going to include the Harley in my Bankruptcy.” Very bad idea. Why? The trustee will find out. Maybe you registered it in the past. Maybe you owe money for service on it. Maybe your ex-wife will mention that she didn’t get it in the divorce. Maybe a neighbor who was awakened early in the morning or late at night by you and your Harley may complain to the Trustee. You never know.

Then what happens?

  • The trustee takes the Harley
  • The trustee complains to bar your discharge – thereby sticking you with permanent liability for all your debts
  • The trustee may make a report that your willful omission of the Harley from your schedules is bankruptcy fraud to the US Trustee and US Attorney
  • You could be prosecuted
  • You could be convicted
  • You could suffer a fine or prison sentence

It’s not worth it. The trustee would have let you buy the Harley back from the Bankruptcy Estate – probably at a discount.

When you file a bankruptcy case, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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