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What information is required in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition?

When people in Bradley County consider filing a bankruptcy petition, they are usually more concerned with the outcome than with properly commencing the proceeding. Sometimes, gathering the information that must be provided with the petition can seem an overwhelming task. This post will provide a bird's eye view of the types of information that must be submitted to the bankruptcy court in order to start a Chapter 7 proceeding.

The debtor must acquire a set of the official forms specified by the Bankruptcy Court. The court will not provide these forms, but they are available online and in most stationery stores. The bankruptcy forms are intended to ensure that the debtor provides the types of information that will illuminate the debtor's financial situation and expectation for future income.

A debtor must provide a list of all creditors, the amount and nature of each claim. The debtor must also provide the source, amount and frequency of his or her income. The debtor must all disclose all assets, including any liens on these assets. Finally, the debtor must provide a detailed list of monthly expenses, including food, clothing shelter, utilities, taxes and the like. A debtor who is filing an individual petition must nevertheless provide this information for his or her spouse.

One of the most important schedules is the list of exempt property. Exempt property is property identified in either state law or the Bankruptcy Code as unavailable to satisfy the claims of creditors. If an asset is exempt, it cannot be sold to satisfy the claims of creditors. A debtor may choose which list of exempt assets to use, but a debtor must use only one list and cannot pick and choose between the lists.

Gathering this information and enumerating exempt assets can be a daunting job. The advice of a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can provide significant assistance, especially if selecting exempt assets involves complex legal questions.

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