Bankruptcy / Personal Property

Protecting Assets in Bankruptcy: Personal Property Debtors Commonly Forget to List When Filing

When bankruptcy is filed, debtors are required to list assets and personal property as part of the bankruptcy estate.  While common items such as saving accounts, jewelry, homes and vehicles are included, there are assets that some may forget to mention upon filing their petition.  Debtors who realize they may have forgotten to list an asset may worry or panic.  They don’t want their trustee or attorney to think they are hiding assets on purpose and don’t want to jeopardize the outcome of their case.

The filing process for bankruptcy includes providing a vast amount of information about your finances and living situation.  It’s easy to get caught up in making sure you collect and present details such as creditors owed, outstanding debt, and producing other necessary documentation.  But, when it comes to personal assets, a debtor may accidently forget to include something if they are unaware the item is indeed considered an asset.  It could be something you have yet to receive or have entitlement to under state law.  So what are assets a debtor may forget to list?

  • Personal injury or insurance claims you have filed (such as a lawsuit).
  • Annuity payments being made overtime (such as lottery winnings).
  • Trusts with beneficial interests.
  • Retirement accounts (even if you are not receiving payments from them currently)
  • Inheritances (have yet to receive or are being settled in probate court).
  • Assets you share co-ownership (vehicle, real estate, bank accounts, etc.).

If you have filed bankruptcy and realize an asset was omitted by mistake, contact your trustee or attorney as soon as possible.  Explain your findings as an honest mistake and review steps needed to take to correct the situation.  Your paperwork may still be amended to include it and obtain legal protection from creditors.

Reference: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy/hiding-assets-property-bankruptcy.html