Statement of Financial Affairs: What Is It?

01 Apr Statement of Financial Affairs: What Is It?

This is the first in a series of blogs about the Statement of Financial Affairs and the questions it asks.

The Statement of Financial Affairs (SoFA) is a rather long document that is filed in every bankruptcy case. It consists of 18 questions if you don’t have a business, and 25 if you do.

This series of blogs will discuss each of these questions, and give you some idea as to what is behind them and how to make sure they are properly answered. This will help both you and your lawyer to make sure the information you put down is correct.

Overall, the SoFA is a financial history. It lets the Trustees and the Court know where your case came from–what sort of income, debts and claims have been made against you–and where it may be headed. As will be discussed in these blogs, the practical purpose of the SoFA is to give the Trustees and the Courts the information they need to determine whether you are truthful, accurate and complete in the information you provide.

A bankruptcy petition and schedules (including the SoFA) is like a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces must fit together in a particular way. If they don’t–and the SoFA is a big part of seeing that they do–the Trustees will generally spend some time digging deeper to see if something was left off (either intentionally or inadvertantly). Completing the SoFA properly is one way to make sure that your Meeting of Creditors and case goes as smoothly and uneventfully as possible.

The SoFA must be completed in all cases–Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13–regardless of whether you are an individual or a business.

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Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his law partner, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, and the Civil Justice Network. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007 for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and in 2011 received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, The United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.
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