Law Offices of David P. Leibowitz LLC
Lakelaw is a registered assumed name for Law Offices of David P. Leibowitz LLC
There are several different ways to prepare a bankruptcy petition in a bankruptcy court. The first is the most common – hire an attorney. Your attorney will be required to electronically file your bankruptcy schedules, plan (if you have a Chapter 11, 12, or 13) and other paperwork through your local court’s electronic service after helping prepare and review everything.
Courts also allow debtors without attorneys (“pro se” filers) to prepare and file the paperwork directly with the clerk of the Bankruptcy Court. This involves handing in the paperwork to a clerk, who will scan and input it into the court’s system. It’s a self-help system to allow people who cannot afford or do not want an attorney’s help to file.
Other non-attorneys called Bankruptcy Petition Preparers will charge a small fee to type the paperwork into bankruptcy software (or hand-write it in some cases). They advertise as being cheaper than attorneys and will claim to save time and skip the hassle of using an attorney. However, these preparers (sometimes called BPPs) can be more trouble than their fees.
The US Bankruptcy Court in Milwaukee has permanently barred 7 petition preparers from helping people out. They have been barred for a number of reasons, including passing themselves as real attorneys. They are not, and are barred by United States Law from giving legal advice or pretending to be lawyers. Other preparers have been ordered to attend court to explain their behavior to judges, but have not been barred. That step could come at any time.
As long as petition preparers disclose their fees in the schedules, sign the required forms, and avoid giving legal advice, the Bankruptcy Code allows them to help prepare petitions. But many times they fail to do so and lie to the courts, telling people not to inform the court that they were used to prepare the paperwork. Does committing a crime by lying to the court and your bankruptcy trustee sound like a good iea? It’s not.
The only source of legal advice is to see an attorney, preferably one with a long history of experience in bankruptcy. It is well worth the extra money to protect assets, stop creditors, and ensure a successful bankruptcy.
If someone charges you a fee to prepare paperwork and instructs you to hide that fact, do the smart thing and go see an attorney immediately. To contact Lakelaw and speak with a professional attorney with bankruptcy experience, please contact us at 866-LAKELAW, (262) 694-7300 in Wisconsin, or visit our website at www.lakelaw.com
Posted by David Leibowitz on October 27th, 2009 in Bankruptcy Crimes
We meet clients who have secrets. But bankruptcy is no place for secrets. Bankruptcy requires full disclosure. Clients who don’t disclose all of their assets, all of their income or even all of their debts could lose their discharge in bankrutpcy. Why?
Everything that you say in your bankruptcy petition is supported by your solemn oath, under penalty of perjury. So if you leave out something important from your bankruptcy petition, and it is clear that you knew better, there’s a strong likelihood that you can lose your discharge, just for making a false oath.
You also have to keep your paperwork intact. How much you need depends on how significant your business and debt is at the time you file your case. However, the more sophisticated you are, the more paperwork you must have. Failure to provide necessary papers to a trustee could result in loss of a discharge too.
You have to answer questions honestly too.
If you fail to do so, not only might you lose your discharge, you might also be committing a bankrutpcy crime.
Count on us at Lakelaw to help you file your bankruptcy papers correctly. Call us today at 1 866 LAKELAW (5253529). Lakelaw represents people in bankruptcy cases in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Banks may care about what you say on the financial statement in your loan application. When you apply for a loan, the bank asked you about your assets and liabilities. If you told the bank you have less than you actually own, this may not be a problem. Some financial statements create problems. Here are some common problems in financial statements:
If the bank or another lender justifiably relies on something you put in a financial statement, you could be in trouble if you knew your statements were material and not true when you made them. A bank might seek to bar dischargeability of your debt even if you do file a bankruptcy case. Sometimes a bank might try to bar your discharge altogether. A bank may threaten to prosecute you for bank fraud.
Banks today are under severe stresss. If you plan to file a bankruptcy case, you should consider how a bank might react to your filing. Tell your bankruptcy lawyer everything you told your bank when you took out your loan. It will help your lawyer advise you and help you to be ready for any claim a bank or other creditor might make against you during the course of your bankruptcy case.
For more information, check Bankruptcy Code section 523(a).
For more information about discharge in bankruptcy, click here
Call Lakelaw now at 1 866 LAKELAW (1 866 525-5359).