Understanding Bankruptcy, 3/28/2019

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Question: If you don’t have information about an asset, can you just put down “unknown”?

If you are filing for bankruptcy but you have an asset that you don’t have information about, can you just put down “unknown” and leave it at that? That depends.

The short answer is that you can file your bankruptcy case without all your information, meaning it is possible to do it; however, I don’t recommend it under most circumstances.

First and foremost, filing bankruptcy without having all the information you need could get you into a lot of trouble or complicate your case, depending on the circumstances, why, and how it is done. You don’t want your case to turn into a train wreck, but sometimes you don’t have a choice.

Problems you might face may be something as simple (but humiliating) as being verbally reprimanded by a Trustee at a creditors’ meeting for not having the information on the bankruptcy petition, or it might involve more-serious problems like motions, litigation, contempt/sanctions, and to being taken to court to have the judge determine what to do.

Unresolved issues in a bankruptcy case can drag out the bankruptcy proceedings for a long time, and tie up the debtor in court for months or even years. The trustee can subpoena records from the people who may have information about assets of a bankruptcy estate, and they can also depose or sue to get some answers.

In some circumstances, the debtor may not only face monetary costs, loss of property, and denial of discharge – but they can also face bankruptcy crime prosecution.

Next Week’s Question: Can I keep a credit card out of my bankruptcy?

Michael A. Cibik, Esquire

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