Like any legal proceeding, bankruptcy is a big step to take in your life, and if you’re considering filing, you should prepare to be completely frank with your bankruptcy attorney about your financial circumstances/problems and you should prepare to collect paperwork that substantiates the assets you own and the debts you owe. Due diligence and a careful review of your financial troubles and of how those troubles came about are big components that come into play with every case. Unfortunately, there is a lot of irresponsible advertising misinforming people that bankruptcy is “easy”, “simple” and consists of “just a bunch of forms” that you fill out. It is important to understand that the papers you complete and file are legal pleadings. When you sign and file them with the bankruptcy court, you make representations in those pleadings under oath and subject to penalty of perjury. Many parties rely upon the accuracy of those representations.
Even though it’s a big step to take, bankruptcy is undeniably helpful for thousands of households every year. It may be the best choice for your financial wellbeing as it will provide long-term debt relief and stability. While bankruptcy is nothing to be afraid of, one must have due respect the for the process and certain rules and procedures must be observed and done correctly to get you through it with as little disruption to your life as possible.
The two main types of bankruptcy available to individual consumers are Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy and Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy. They are each designed to treat debt specific to each filer’s income, types of property, and types of debt.
At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we offer services to people seeking to file for Chapter 7, Chapter 12 and 13 bankruptcy relief. Our attorneys can guide you through the process of preparing and filing your case and they can help you understand how to do it correctly in Worthington, MN.
No matter what type of bankruptcy chapter you file, you will be required to provide documentation of your financial circumstances and you will have to do certain things, including completing a credit counseling course, before your case is filed. If you work with Behm attorneys, you can be sure your petition will be correctly filed and you will receive hands-on guidance on what to do so that your case is properly prepared.
Filing without the help of a trained professional comes with significant risks. Without the assistance of an attorney, you could fail to list assets, fail to list creditors or engage in other conduct that could be perceived as fraudulent. The permanent financial benefits of bankruptcy are intended for individuals who are honest and forthright. It is important to understand that even simple mistakes could be perceived as fraudulent conduct.
There are four main ways a filer could commit bankruptcy fraud. Some of those actions could be accidental, but the court could still view them as fraudulent and could dismiss your bankruptcy case. In addition, you could be federally prosecuted for bankruptcy fraud. The penalties for making a false statement, concealing property, or obtaining money or property by fraud in connection with a bankruptcy case can result in fines of up to $250,000, or imprisonment for up to 20 years, or both.
The four most common ways bankruptcy fraud is committed are as follows:
- The filer might try to bribe a bankruptcy trustee. This is generally the most obvious type of fraudulent behavior but it is also very rare.
- The filer might hide property to keep it from being liquidated or included in a case. This is the most common fraudulent action. One may even engage in this type of fraud accidentally if a filer fails to fully understand the asset-listing section of the bankruptcy petition paperwork.
- The filer might file fake, inaccurate, or incomplete forms in their petition. Again, this may happen accidentally without the guidance of an attorney during the process of constructing a bankruptcy case. However, even though it may be unintentional, this may be deemed as perjury depending on the circumstances.
- The filer might file multiple cases in an unlawful time frame using false information. Filers must wait a minimum of eight years between Chapter 7 cases, and a minimum of two years between Chapter 13 cases.
Mistakes and accidents that can be perceived as unintentional fraud are easily avoidable with the expert knowledge and legal counsel of a bankruptcy attorney. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information on filing and bankruptcy code in Worthington, MN.