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Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure!

Madison Attorney David Krekeler is known for putting on entertaining and informative seminars for bankruptcy attorneys. I have attended several of them, and one thing that he often emphasizes in these talks is the importance of disclosure. As David puts it, just as the three most important things in real estate are “location, location, location,” the three most important things in bankruptcy are “disclosure, disclosure, disclosure.” If someone gets into trouble in a bankruptcy case, it is often because of a failure to disclose something about their finances. An example of this was reported by the Peoria Journal Star on 11/27/2017. http://www.pjstar.com/news/20171127/brimfield-man-sentenced-for-concealing-assets-during-bankruptcy-filing

A man from Brimfield, Illinois “was sentenced last week to home confinement and a $3,000 fine for concealing $100,000 worth of insurance policies when he filed for bankruptcy.” Initially, the man had reported no life insurance policies on his bankruptcy schedules. He then amended his schedules to reflect his ownership of one life insurance policy worth $3,000. It was later discovered that he in fact owned seven life insurance policies worth a total of $100,000. “He also admitted he hid three cashier’s checks worth $65,000 and a 2005 motorcycle.”

Obviously, this guy was pretty outrageous in his failure to disclose, but his story shows that it is important that a debtor take the completion of his or her bankruptcy forms seriously. However, this shouldn’t cause the debtor to lose sleep over whether their 10 year old couch is worth $200 or $250. You need to provide information to the best of your knowledge and ability. If you make an honest mistake and forget to provide some information in your forms, you are allowed to amend your forms accordingly.