NJ Bankruptcy Do's and Don'ts
- by New Jersey Bankruptcy Attorney Bolko Rokicki
If you're going to file bankruptcy, here's a list of things you should be doing as well as a list of potential pitfalls. Not following these instructions could result in unneccessary delays or problems in your bankruptcy case, so read carefully:
- Obtain the mandatory credit counseling. You can't file without it!
- Save all financial documents sent to you. Bills, notices from creditors, lawsuits, everything you can think of. You need to show these to your attorney to make sure all of your debts are included in your bankruptcy filing.
- Collect personal financial documentation. Bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, real estate property valuations, and other financial documents will be necessary in the administration of your case.
- Continue making payments on any secured assets you want to keep. If you want to keep your car, keep making the payments on it!
- Figure out the value of your assets. Your house, car, furniture, and other personal property all have to be listed in your bankruptcy petition.
- File bankruptcy blindly without consulting an attorney first. Once you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you usually can't back out, even if it was a terribly wrong idea! For example, if you filed for bankruptcy but had substantial assets you could not exempt, you would probably lose those assets.
- Use credit cards. If you do, you risk the credit card company filing suit in Bankruptcy Court to find the debt non-dischargeable.
- Make payments to any relatives, friends, or close business associates prior to filing bankruptcy. Such individuals could be considered "insiders" and the Trustee could demand they give up any monies paid to them by you.
- Let anyone give you substantial gifts. Any property you own at the time of bankruptcy filing becomes part of the Bankruptcy Estate; if you cannot exempt it, the Trustee will liquidate it to pay off your creditors.
- Transfer property out of your name. New Jersey has a 4-year "fraudulent transfer" look-back period, meaning that a Trustee could undo certain property transfers if the Court found that they were made in an attempt to defraud creditors.
- Stress over creditors. This is your attorney's job!
Due to the complexity of bankruptcy law and the severe consequences of any mistakes made in your bankruptcy petition (potentially resulting in a denial of discharge or losing assets that could have been exempted), it is highly recommended that you retain an experienced New Jersey bankruptcy attorney to represent you in NJ Bankruptcy Court. For a free bankruptcy consultation, call the Rokicki Law Firm at 973 - 671 - 8529. Free yourself from debt today!