Bankruptcy cases are unique in many ways; one of those happens to be the vocabulary. There are many things about a bankruptcy that have special names, and that can get confusing fast when you’re trying to hurry up and get your debts taken care of. When you file for bankruptcy, for example, you are filing a petition. And in order to file a petition, you also have to file bankruptcy schedules.
What Are Bankruptcy Schedules?
There are ten bankruptcy schedules, each of which lists a different type of asset and liability that you own. These schedules tell the court what your finances truly look like as it relates to bankruptcy. These documents are what provide the basis for how the court will ultimately rule. Those schedules are:
• Schedule A: Real estate
• Schedule B: Personal property
• Schedule C: Exemptions allowed by New York or the federal government
• Schedule D: Secured creditors
• Schedule E: Priority creditors
• Schedule F: Unsecured creditors
• Schedule G: Executory contracts and leases
• Schedule H: Co-debtors
• Schedule I Debtor’s income
• Schedule J: Debtor’s monthly expenses
When you file the schedules, you’ll also have to include a signed declaration that swears all information within the schedules is true. This is important; any false information, or information left out of the schedules, can result in a felony charge.
Where It Gets Complicated
Schedules can get complicated and difficult because the court wants to know about every single item you own that falls in the categories on the schedules. And by everything, they mean everything. For example, Schedule B has a section for electronics, which includes things such as your Kindle or your Fitbit. But you also have to list intangible property on the same schedule, such as your stocks or retirement accounts. And absolutely everything you list must have a value attached to it. Get ready to estimate how valuable the knickknacks your grandparents left you may be.
Schedule C is another very complicated form, because the laws regarding exemptions are very situational. It is a very good idea to complete this schedule with your lawyer. And on the Schedule J, for instance, listing your monthly expenses also must include information about your dependents and your spouse, if applicable. Dependents in this case means anyone that you and your spouse provide at least 50% of support for.
Finally, you’ll need to understand the difference between types of debt in order to fill out Schedules D through G. Secured debt means anything that is tied to a tangible asset, like a mortgage on your house. Unsecured debt is usually credit cards and similar creditors, that could not repossess any of your property if you didn’t pay your bill.
In addition to filling out the schedules, you’ll also have to include the Form 107, a “Statement of Financial Affairs”. This is a document of questions that reveal how you’ve handled your money over the last two years. This means every major purchase or financial deal you’ve made will be revealed. This document also lists any major legal changes you’ve had, such as getting married or divorced, in the last two years. This form can feel extremely personal, but without it, the court cannot make a good faith determination on excusing your debts.
With all of these schedules and other forms to fill out, filing with an experienced attorney on your side is very important. Filing incorrectly could lead to far bigger problems. Call my office at 212-244-2882 to find out how I can help ensure that your bankruptcy filing in NYC is right the first time.