Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one. Once you decide to file for bankruptcy, it is important that you avoid making mistakes that could impact your case or jeopardize your debts from being discharged. Here are the top bankruptcy mistakes you should avoid before filing.
Filing too quickly
Bankruptcy is an excellent way to wipe out burdensome debt. However, you are limited to how often you can do so. The law places a limit on how often a person can file for bankruptcy. An attorney can advise you if the timing is right for bankruptcy and make sure your assets and income allow you to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy,
Waiting too long to file
It can also be a mistake when someone waits too long to file for bankruptcy. In fact, a recent study revealed some of the downsides of waiting to file for bankruptcy. Many times, it is best to file for bankruptcy quickly in the event the filer wishes to avoid wage garnishment or has a lawsuit pending against them due to outstanding debt. Initiating a bankruptcy proceeding will allow an automatic stay to be issued, which puts an immediate halt to any collections actions that are ongoing at the time of filing. However, if the filer waits too long, once a wage garnishment is issued, he or she will not be able to eliminate that debt, which would not have been the case if he or she had filed before the final judgment was issued.
Incorrect or Inaccurate Information
When filing for bankruptcy, you are swearing under penalties of perjury that all information regarding your assets, income, debt, expenses and financial history is complete and accurate. If you make a mistake, fail to disclose an asset or file incomplete information, the bankruptcy court may dismiss the petition. If the court believes that you knowingly misrepresented anything at all, you could also be subject to criminal penalties, which includes fines even jail time.
Incurring more debt
Some people when they know they are going to be filing bankruptcy, run up additional debt on credit cards or take out loans. If you run up too much debt 70 to 90 days before filing on purchases that are not otherwise considered daily necessities, the creditor for this debt will likely object to a discharge by stating that you incurred this debt without any intention of paying it back in full. This practice is known as “presumptive fraud” and can result in the debt not being discharge.
Another mistake some filers make before officially starting the bankruptcy process is hiding or moving assets to a friend or family member to keep them from being subject to liquidation. It can be tempting to want to hide an asset that would be subject to liquidation in hopes of keeping it safe, but this is considered bankruptcy fraud and can result in your case being dismissed and even criminal penalties, including fines and jail time.
If you anticipate receiving a large amount of money or substantial assets in the near future, such as a sizeable inheritance or tax refund, it may be best to hold off on filing for bankruptcy. Once these funds are received, they may not be exempt from liquidation in a bankruptcy case. This money could alternatively be used to pay off creditors or attempt to get out of debt outside of bankruptcy. However, it is best to first consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you believe you will be coming into money and are considering bankruptcy.
If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.