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ATTORNEY ARTICLE

FORGETTING TO INCLUDE CREDITOR ON THE BANKRUPTCY PETITION

Each and every bankruptcy filing must by law contain a complete inventory of debts and creditors. It is against the law to conceal any financial info–it constitutes a crime. To obtain a full discharge of debts in a bankruptcy, your list must be all-inclusive. But with so many things going on, it is entirely possible that an honest consumer seeking debt relief in Wisconsin could accidentally leave out a debt from the court petition. If you are pursuing an individual bankruptcy in Wisconsin, and a debt comes to your attention after the fact, notify your lawyer immediately. Your attorney can file an amendment reflecting the new information with the court (there are additional court fees for doing so). If a bankruptcy has already been granted under Chapter 7 or 13, however, the debtor is on the hook to that particular creditor for the entire amount. You may also be required by the court to reopen your case, depending upon the circumstances to add that creditor to your schedule. One footnote: in a no-asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy (one where the debtor has no property that can be liquidated in favor of creditors), the debt in question might be considered discharged even if it wasn’t listed. The proper way to address a missing debt depends of course on the specific nature of the case and the required court procedures. And again, this is a scenario where the consumer in good faith legitimately forgets about a debt, not a situation involving someone who tries to game the system. In the latter case, a criminal prosecution is likely.

So if you are considering a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Milwaukee or the surrounding area, make sure to thoroughly review your personal papers right from the start in close consultation with your Wisconsin bankruptcy lawyer. Then, if something pops up later, contact your attorney immediately so that it can be promptly addressed within the bounds of the bankruptcy laws of Wisconsin.

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