It’s my job to prepare and review all of your bankruptcy paperwork, but in order to ensure accuracy, we’ll both need to communicate clearly with each other. Part of your case includes listing all of your property and assets, which includes real property (home, car, household items) along with “Future Interest” property. This is property or assets that you may receive in the future, such as property that’s being held in an irrevocable trust. You’ll also need to include possible future legal claims, even if it’s uncertain whether you’ll decide to take legal action or how the judgement would be resolved.
If you have any possible future claims, they’ll need to be listed on Schedule B . This is where you list all the information related to your property, which includes contingent and unliquidated claims, along with potential legal claims. Potential legal claims could apply to auto damage or injuries from a car accident, any possible claims you have against an employer, or claims you may make for breach of contract. I’ll guide you as you complete this form, which is especially important because there are ramifications to omitting this information. Skipping this information could change the outcome of your bankruptcy case or make you legally unable to file a claim at a later date.
One of the most important responsibilities of the court trustee is to evaluate your case to see if you have any assets that can be used to repay creditors. This includes possible settlements. If the trustee determines that you intentionally didn’t list a potential source of funding for your case, you could be charged with Bankruptcy Fraud. The trustee could discontinue your case or disallow exemptions that could have been used to protect your property and assets. This means your creditors could take your assets to repay your debts.
When you complete your bankruptcy forms, you’re stating that all of the information you provide is correct and complete. By omitting a potential claim, you’re essentially saying you have no legal right to this claim. If you do file a claim at a later date, the defendant could claim “judicial estoppel,” which would disallow your claim, since it is inconsistent with what you listed on your bankruptcy paperwork. Not including the claim could give you an unfair advantage in the resolution of your case, which would be disallowed by the court.
Valuing Your Claims
In addition to listing your possible legal claims, you’ll need to provide an estimated value of the claim; this can be a challenge since the judgement has not yet been issued. I’ll help you as you complete these forms. For medical bills or auto damage, this is fairly simple, but for claims that are more subjective, such as employer disputes, I’ll need to research past similar cases to come up with an estimated value. Accuracy is important, because if you undervalue your claim, this could limit the amount you could be awarded for a future claim. Furthermore, if the court determines that this low ball value was intentional, you could be stopped, or barred, from making future claims. Your exemption percentage could also be reduced.
Each and every step you take in your bankruptcy could have long-term consequences, and when it comes to legal proceedings, the stakes are even higher. When we work together, you can be confident that all aspects of your case will be resolved without any issues.