The Bankruptcy Laws require full and complete disclosure

As I outline information I need from my clients to file a bankruptcy petition, I often hear that they want to keep their home and vehicles so they don’t need to list them. The same thing happens with debts such as mortgages, car loans, certain credit cards, some doctors, taxes or student loans. The client’s financial history, things that happened in the past, must also be disclosed.

  1. All assets and all debts must be listed in order to complete the case and obtain a discharge;
  2. If the assets are listed, but not the associated secured debt, an objection could be filed or a desired asset lost;
  3. If all debts are not listed, the debts would not be discharged and the creditor would be able to enforce collection after the bankruptcy is completed;
  4. Clients often say “I want to keep this credit card.” When you file for bankruptcy, all credit card accounts will be closed, even if you owe nothing on it. And, again, all debts must be listed;
  5. Clients ask, “can I file only on my medical bills?” Again, all debts must be listed and you can voluntarily pay any bill you think you want to. This may happen with a bill from a particular doctor;
  6. Payment of more than $600.00 to any one particular creditor within the 90 days immediately preceding the filing of the case must be disclosed;
  7. Transfer (gift or sale) of any asset to anyone within 4 years of filing a bankruptcy must be disclosed. And, yes, that means cars, houses, etc.;
  8. All bank accounts, including any that were closed within 1 year before filing, must be disclosed;
  9. Safe deposit boxes and their contents must be disclosed;
  10. All income sources for the 2 years before filing must be disclosed. Avon, Mary Kay, seasonal work, etc.;
  11. All gifts, including charitable contributions, made within 1 year prior to filing must be disclosed;
  12. Any business interest, whether a company, partnership or sole proprietor must be disclosed, as well as the value of any assets (inventory, office equipment, etc.) must be disclosed; and,
  13. Anything else that happened in the past that effected you financially must be disclosed.

Your attorney may not know about many of these items, but he/she will ask you. Keep in mind that the US Department of Justice and FBI investigate bankruptcy fraud. This is serious business so do not forget to mention any of the above items or mislead the attorney.


Ronald R. Stanley, Esq. has assisted individuals file Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcy for over 40 years. He is a member of the bar in Ohio (1974), Northern Ohio Federal District Court (1974) and 6th Circuit Federal Appeals Court (1977). 3637 Medina Road #5 in Medina, Ohio 44256, 330-952-1415 Phone, [email protected] email, website