A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee’s Perspective

Below you’ll find an outline I’ve posted with permission from one of our South Carolina Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees.   Robert F. (“Bob”) Anderson prepared this for our recent South Carolina Bankruptcy Law Association seminar in Ashville, North Carolina.   Bob gave me permission to post this on the Charleston Bankruptcy Blog.   The outline is targeted at bankruptcy lawyers, but it provides a great overview of what Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees are looking for in bankruptcy schedules.   In two words: (1) disclosure, and (2) accuracy.   If you’re contemplating filing bankruptcy, this is a “must read.”   You might not understand it all, and that’s why this is in the “in-depth” section of this blog.   However, you’ll understand most of it, and it’s well worth reading.

When I think of Bob Anderson, I think the Godfather of South Carolina Bankruptcy.   He’s been a bankruptcy trustee since many bankruptcy lawyers have been in grade school.   And he’s seen it all.   Bob’s got a great sense of humor, but he’s serious about his job as a bankruptcy trustee and lawyer.

He practices in Columbia, and I had the pleasure of working for him from 1991-1993 while I was in law school.   If you’re in Columbia and need bankruptcy advice, I strongly recommend you contact his firm, Anderson & Associates, P.A. at (803) 252-8600.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee Suggestions

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Bankruptcy Practitioners

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How to keep your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee Happy

 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case Trustees have differing perspectives than Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustees concerning debtors’ estates. Our aim is to, as economically as possible, (a) ensure that the Debtor has complied with the mandates of the Bankruptcy Code; (b) locate assets that have value above both liens and exemptions claimed in them, and liquidate that property; (c) locate litigation that can be brought, continued or pursued for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate; and (d) close the Chapter 7 case as expeditiously as possible.

PRELIMINARY MATTERS

Simple things that you can do will make life easier for both you and your bankruptcy clients. For example:

  • Before filing the original bankruptcy petition, ensure that you have, correctly, listed the debtors’ Social Security Numbers. (Your client’s bankruptcy hearing cannot go forward if there is a discrepancy.)
  • Do a complete job on the bankruptcy schedules and statements of affairs. If you don’t, we’ll just demand it.
  • If you goof, or if your client erred, and we insist at the bankruptcy hearing that you amend, don’t make us wait three, four, five or more weeks for that amendment to your bankruptcy schedules. Make it promptly.
  • DISCLOSURE, DISCLOSURE, DISCLOSURE. There cannot be enough during the bankruptcy process. Emphasize this to your clients.
  • Disclose prior bankruptcy filings, and review the pleadings in those prior filings, for inconsistencies and then have your client explain those inconsistencies (and disclose the reasons for those in the bankruptcy schedules and statements of financial affairs you are about to file!)
  • Proofread: make sure the bankruptcy schedules and statements of financial affairs are correct.
  • CHECK, CHECK, CHECK.   Do a professional job: again, if you cannot do this job professionally on what you are charging, then charge more, or find someone else to malpractice upon.

Your relationship with your clients is at the heart of your bankruptcy representation. You represent them. But, you have ethical duties also to the Bankruptcy Court. Do not ever forget that; the key is the balance between the two. One of my mentors, years ago, said that this balance is simple: tell the truth, and don’t let your client lie.

Represent your client. It is your duty to know your client, and to represent him fairly and zealously. That includes attending your client’s bankruptcy hearing, unless it is impossible for you to so do because of illness, surgery, jail, etc. There ARE ethics rules concerning this; and there are equally powerful ethics advisories concerning your shifting the representation at the bankruptcy hearing to non-firm attorneys. North Carolina Ethics Advisory Opinion 12 is directly on point regarding bankruptcy hearings in that state: “when a lawyer appears with a debtor at a meeting of creditors in a bankruptcy proceeding as a favor to the debtor’s lawyer, the lawyer is representing the debtor and all of the ethical obligations attendant to legal representation apply.   They are:

Consent of the client required;

Conflict of Interest review must be performed; and

The substituting lawyer must provide competent representation.

The substituting bankruptcy attorney may make a limited appearance (limiting the representation only to the bankruptcy hearing) but only after consultation and consent with the debtor.”

 

South Carolina rules of conduct are very similar, so there is no reason to assume that our rules would be applied differently. Some applicable rules are:

S.C. Rule 1.1: Competence. A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for representation.

S.C. Rule 1.4: A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.   A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information.   A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to representation of a client unless the client consents after consultation.

Simple things to do in your representation include

  • Meet with your client more than in the initial interview. Review the Schedules and Statements with your clients. Don’t be surprised at the first meeting. Make sure that the Schedules and Statements are correct.
  • If there has been a delay between the initial intake and the date of filing, be sure to go over the Schedules and Statements of Affairs, and update them.
  • Go over with your clients what is expected of them at the First Meeting.
  • Please tell your clients not to answer the Trustees’ questions before the Trustee has completed asking the question!
  • Do tell your clients to have their proof of Social Security Number, and photo id cards, available at their §341 Meeting. Without both, the Case will be continued.
  • Be Prompt, have your clients be prompt, and draw a map as to how to get to the bankruptcy hearing Room. Explain that they have to be at the hearing room before the scheduled hearing time. Showing up late shows both your, and your client’s, utter contempt for the Bankruptcy system.
  • If you are doing a joint filing, decide ahead of time if the husband or the wife is going to testify; and explain our procedures. You should all know it by heart, by now.
  • Tell your client to tell the truth. Make sure that your client is telling the truth: you are required by the Bankruptcy Code to do more than merely accept what your client says as the truth. Use the Internet. If you think your client is not telling the truth, do not hide that fact, and do not participate in that action €”that’s aiding and abetting! Follow the Model Rules regarding this sort of action.
  • Tell your clients to cooperate with the Trustee’s liquidators/appraisers. The faster they complete their job, the fewer times the Debtors call you.
  • Please tell your clients that at their bankruptcy hearing that:
  1. They should quit chewing gum when being questioned.
  2. They should speak up.
  3. They should answer Yes or No, instead of Uh huh or Uh hun.
  4. They should turn off their cell-phones and/or pagers (so should you!).
  5. They should dress cleanly and appropriately for the bankruptcy hearing.
  • Do not put folks into Chapter 7 bankruptcy who belong in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not equal no asset. If you think so, then some Debtor will sue you, sooner or later, for malpractice. If your retirees have equity in their house, we’ll sell it: don’t ask us to ignore the equity. And we will tell your client, as we sell the house, that its your goof, not ours. If the Debtors owe $3,000, and have income that will allow repayment of that, plus the Chapter 13 fees, over a short period, they do not belong in Chapter 7.   Period. Don’t expect the Chapter 7   Trustees not to do an abuse referral.   And, the U.S. Trustee is now enforcing §707(b).
  • Do not tell your client to call the Trustee for advice that you should be giving. They paid you for your advice, and WE ARE NOT THE DEBTOR’S FRIENDS!!

Your relationship with the Case Trustee is equally important. You should provide assistance and prompt responses to inquiries. Delays can cause your clients’ discomfort–or result in the dismissal of their case.

  • Tax returns and bank statements MUST be in the hands of the Trustee not less than one week prior to the bankruptcy hearing, or the Case MUST be dismissed.
  • When providing Tax return, be sure to include all schedules to those returns, attached to the returns. Returns, without the supporting schedules, are worthless.
  • Provide the Trustee, by separate e-mail, with copies of Alimony/Support certification & property settlement agreements at least provide a copy of the divorce decree, and any documents setting such rights in a third party.
  • Do not wait until the bankruptcy hearing to disclose these Domestic Support Obligation claims. Even if money is not owed at the time of the filing to the Domestic Support Obligation Recipient, the Recipient, and the entity responsible for the collection of delinquent payments, must be notified by the Trustee’s office both prior to the hearing, and after the discharge is issued to your client.
  • Respond to the Trustees requests in writing. Telephone calls don’t get it. E-mail does. Find out where the Trustee wants that e-mail to be directed. Each Trustee has a system by which they operate their office: they do not appreciate your ignoring that system it causes delays, and unneeded expense.
  • Do not wait until the night before the bankruptcy hearing to send information: those missives are a total waste of the Trustee’s (and the sender’s) time. Send information requested promptly to the Trustee, and ensure that it is the Trustee’s offices at least five (5) working days BEFORE the hearing.
  • If there are going to be problems with the Case, let the Trustee know immediately. If we know of problems ahead of time, it will all go easier. This applies equally as well to Creditors’ Attorneys. The sooner you let us know of problems, the better we’ll be prepared for the bankruptcy hearing. Also, this gives us reason to hold a Rule 2004 examination soon after the bankruptcy hearing, which very well might provide sufficient information for the record to close the Case, or quit pestering your clients. This also allows the Trustees to get subpoenas out for appropriate documents from third parties, allows title searches to be ordered, and gives the Trustee a leg up any other matters which should be investigated. Without your input, we have no way of knowing of wrongs the Debtors have had committed against them.
  • If your client is too ill to, or physically cannot, attend the bankruptcy hearing, provide the Trustee with a copy of a doctor’s excuse, and a telephone number where your client can be reached, to be able to conduct the First Meeting. Be sure that you can certify that the voice on the phone is in fact your client’s voice. You will need to contact the Trustee’s office well in advance of the scheduled hearing, so that we can arrange to have you provided with a list of what we need in order to conduct a telephonic hearing. If a spouse or guardian is going to testify for a Debtor, we shall need a certified copy of the Recorded Power of Attorney, under which that spouse or guardian is to testify.
  • If it will be necessary to utilize a translator, let the Trustee know ahead of time, so that the Trustee can make arrangements for an interpreter to be available. The Trustees cannot utilize interpreters brought by the Debtor!
  • If your client is in the service, and is out of the Country at the time of the bankruptcy hearing, provide the Trustee with a copy of the TDY or PCS documents prior to the First Meeting; a telephone number where your client can be reached, to be able to conduct the hearing. Be sure that you can certify that the voice on the phone is in fact your client’s voice, if your client is somewhere where telephone contact can be made.
  • If your client is too ill to, or physically cannot, attend the bankruptcy hearing, provide the Trustee with a copy of a doctor’s excuse, and a telephone number where your client can be reached, to be able to conduct the hearing. Be sure that you can certify that the voice on the phone is in fact your client’s voice.
  • You will need to contact the Trustee’s office well in advance of the scheduled bankruptcy hearing, so that we can arrange to have you provided with a list of what we need in order to conduct a telephonic hearing.
  • If a spouse or guardian is going to testify for a Debtor, we shall need a certified copy of the Recorded Power of Attorney, under which that spouse or guardian is to testify.

Remember that a good attorney does more than just perform the mechanics of a Chapter 7. They offer to assist the Debtors in living on a budget, and determining what is best for them.

NUTS AND BOLTS

Schedule A

In too many cases, the Schedules and Statements of Affairs that are filed have major holes, inconsistencies, or downright stupidities, verging on incompetence or active concealment of assets by Debtor’s counsel. For example, starting at the beginning, with Schedule   A

  • If the Debtors own real estate, Schedule A should always have a property description, providing the street or mailing address, the city or town in which the property is located, and the zip code for the location.
  1. A TMS Number for the realty is an added bonus.
  2. There is nothing more aggravating than receiving Schedules and Statements of Affairs that disclose that the Debtor owns 10.4 acres, with no further description. This is bound to bring you a snippy letter from the Case trustee.   Be specific!
  3. Since most counties are on-line in South Carolina, go on-line and get a copy of the deed into the Debtor; and send a copy of that deed to the case trustee via e-mail as soon as you file the case. That will enable the Trustee to quickly determine the capital gains taxes that might be incurred by the bankruptcy estate if the trustee chooses to sell the realty.
  • State clearly the basis for your client’s estimation of value of any real estate (e.g., tax assessor, recent appraisal, Zillow, drive-by valuation by the debtor’s nephew, who worked as a lawn-maintenance person for a real estate company, etc.). Remember the estimate of value is your client’s, not yours nor your staff’s.
  1. A useful starting point for real estate valuation anywhere in the Continental United State is www.zillow.com.
  • If the realty is jointly owned, and the co-owner is not in the same bankruptcy case, please give the name and address of the co-owner; and give the nature of the joint ownership (TIC, JT, JTWROS, etc.)
  • If your client owns other than fee-simple title to realty, provide a copy of the document creating the bankruptcy state.
  1. For example, if your client holds a remainder interest in the property, subject to the life of Aunt Emma, then please provide at least minimal information concerning Aunt Emma age, where she lives, etc. You probably are going to want to give this information off of the public record just e-mail the trustee the information immediately after filing the bankruptcy Schedules and Statements of Affairs.
  2. Remember: any interest in realty has value the question is what value (If sweet Aunt Emma has one foot in the grave, then her life estate does not have much value, and your client’s remainder interest is growing in value with each heart-beat).
  • PLEASE make sure that the lien value on Schedule A at least approximates the values in Schedule D.   (Of course, the corollary of this is that Schedule D should be accurate, and list the property that is securing each note with descriptions that tie to Schedule A.)
  • Under current South Carolina law, in order that a Mobile Home may be considered to be realty, rather than a titled vehicle, it must be so registered with the Register of Deeds in the county in which it is located. Otherwise, despite what a mortgage might claim, it is personalty, and any lien must be recorded on the title.

Schedule B

Schedule B is where new practitioners (and old ones, too!) fall woefully short. The errors on any normal filing are broad, egregious, and continuing. Attorneys using short-cuts in Schedule B are, and continue to be, a major problem; as is the general perception that if it is personal property, it is not worth talking about.

  • In this age of electronics, it is possible for almost anyone to go on-line, and get a balance in their checking or savings accounts as of their date of bankruptcy. It is very good form for you, at the time your clients come to sign their bankruptcy schedules and statements of financial affairs, to have them go on-line at your office, and update #2 of their Schedule B, with a balance as of that moment.
  • It is amazing that, in South Carolina, whether your clients live in a 30-year old single-wide manufactured house on a rented lot, or a 5,600 square foot mansion on The Battery, they always seem to have exactly $4,125.00 worth of household goods per person.
  1. Perhaps you could show some originality, and add a little to it, and then utilize the (a)(7) wild card to cover it?
  2. While their furniture might not be worth much more than that, at least try to be realistic.
  3. Of course, those clients that forget they own much of value (e.g., Elf beds, Goddard pieces) have other problems and that could lead to problems for you.
  4. An inventory of household goods, attached as an exhibit to the bankruptcy schedules and statement of financial affairs, is very helpful: it also ensures you have a basis, in Consumer cases, to justify your certification (by signing) that the bankruptcy schedules and statements of financial affairs are correct.   How can you, with a straight face, say that an autographed Ted Williams bat is worth $5.00? (If you do not know who Ted Williams was, then you don’t deserve to claim to be a sentient human being!)
  5. Remember also that, by definition, when they walked out of Sam’s with the $15,000 entertainment center, it lost about 75% of its value. Please be realistic in your guiding your clients towards valuations of these items of personal property.
  • Books, pictures, and art objects, and collections as far as the Official Bankruptcy Forms are concerned are not household goods. List them separately.
  1. Everyone has a book, a picture, computers, CD’s, or audio and/or video equipment. Even if it merely an I-Pod, they have that; and they all have at least one book, even if it is Dick and Jane.
  2. Please include them, and if they say that they have a Jackson Pollard ask them if they mean Jackson Pollack. Ensure that they are talking about real art, and not sofa paintings or Wal-Mart prints.
  • It is against the law in South Carolina to appear in a public place naked: and, other than for proms and weddings, I know of few people that rent clothing to wear.
  1. Be sure to have them include clothing in their list of assets in Schedule B.
  2. Also remember that a bespoke suit made by Richard Anderson at No. 13, Saville Road, may have cost your client £25,000; but it is now worth about 75 ¢ a pound, as rag stock.
  • Everyone, but for very few exemptions, has some jewelry.
  1. If they claim not, ask your client (while interviewing her) what time it is. Look at her watch, and ask her is that not jewelry?
  2. List the jewelry, if it is more than simple costume jewelry.
  3. Ask your client, at the interview stage, if they have a rider on their household insurance for their jewelry: if they do, it is worth something. Get a copy of it, and give the copy to the Trustee.
  4. If your client has jewelry of substantial value an Audemars Piguet, a Vacheron Constantin or a Patek Phillippe watch, for example have it independently appraised prior to filing the Original Petition.
  • Sporting goods: Please list general categories of these, unless there is anything of special value.
  1. Golf clubs are, generally, worthless for more than killing a morning or afternoon.
  2. Ditto most other sports paraphernalia. But, if you list them, then both you and the Trustee have some idea of the worth.
  • Firearms generally have value $100 GENERALLY is a misstatement.
  1. Please list the name of the manufacturer of the firearm, its caliber or gauge, its model name and/or number, the grade, and its condition.
  2. Old does not equate lack of worth: a 1900-manufacture Smith & Wesson M&P can be worth from $300 to $3,500. A 108 year-old Lugar just sold for $875,000. Pre-1964 manufactured Winchester rifles are worth from 10 to 25% more than currently-manufactured rifles of the same nomenclature.
  • List insurance policies, even if they do not have cash surrender value. Even if they do have cash surrender value, they are in all likelihood exempt, or the wild card should cover them; their exclusion is more than a simple error.
  • Educational IRAs for the Debtors’ children should be listed separately, for each IRA. Your client will be asked the amount of, and dates of, contributions to those. It will save your client time, effort and trouble if you have that information prior to the Case filing, and e-mail it to the Case trustee immediately after the filing.
  • You will be asked for the same information for IRAs, SEP IRAs, and self-funded 401(k)s. If the retirement plan is a roll-over, please so state on the bankruptcy Schedules and Statements of Financial Affairs; if it is self-funded, then, expect that your client will be asked the amount of, and dates of, contributions to those. It will save your client time, effort and trouble if you have that information prior to the Case filing, and e-mail it to the Case trustee immediately after the filing.
  • Please list the number of shares/bonds/instruments for any publically-registered instruments, and (if practical) the stock symbol. It would be nice to have the value for each of these as of the date of filing, especially if your client has substantial numbers of these.
  • For partnerships, joint ventures, incorporated or unincorporated businesses in which your client holds an interest, please provide the Trustee, as soon as practical after the Original Petition has been filed, with the name(s) and address(es) of the co-owners. Your client will be asked for the formation documents, for the tax returns for at least three fiscal years prior to the Original Petition date, and for the financial statements for those entities. If you have them in your possession as of the filing date, you can, upon the request, provide these copies electronically to the Trustee.
  • List separately all accounts receivable owed the Debtor, and state what supports the debt (e.g., quantum meruit, moneys had and received, conversion, note receivable, judgment, etc.). State the name of the account debtor, and provide the Trustee with the address, and back-up, for each account receivable.
  • If the debtor has an interest in a lawsuit, please provide the name of the attorney representing the Debtor, and that attorney’s address and telephone number, a copy of the pleadings filed to date, and a summary of the current status of that litigation.
  • Remember: Failure to list litigation is grounds (i) grounds for an opposing party to have the litigation dismissed, with prejudice, (ii) grounds for a 727 revocation of discharge, (iii) a criminal act, (iv) a loss of any exemption that the Debtor might have had in that litigation, and (v) if you knew, and did not disclose, at least a visit by the Ethics Committee’s investigators.
  • If the debtor has an interest in a probate estate, provide (at the minimum) the name of the deceased, the name and address of the personal representative for that estate, the County (and State, if applicable) in which the probate estate is filed, a copy of the  Inventory filed with probate court, a copy of the will, any trusts that were created under the will, any deeds of distribution already made in the estate, and a statement as to the current status of the estate.
  • Provide any and all information you possibly can on any unique assets that are listed and be sure to ask your clients about these, so you can list them. Explain in your client’s Schedules and Statements of Financial Affairs the methodology used to value the asset.
  • When valuing assets, remind your clients that their creditors are going to be on the phone to us, telling us about Aunt Jennie’s Grotesque Jug: one just like it was on the Antique Road Show last week, and the feller there says its worth Forty-zillion Dollars, and why can Aunt Jennie keep it and not pay me for the money I went and loaned her to fix her boy’s teeth, the no account . . ..
  • Most used personal property now has a web-page associated with its value. Some Debtor Counsel now attach a copy of the current web page utilized to value the assets -that is a very good practice.
  • Be Specific and Complete in Asset Descriptions. A 1959 Chevrolet can mean anything from a 1959 Cherry Corvette, or a 1959 Bel Aire, or a 1959 C-1500 pick-up. Each is worth something; that something varies drastically. Use the NADA Book, Southeastern Edition, or the Kelley Blue Book, for vehicles, boats, motorcycles, and mobile homes for Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, use the private party values. Give mileage, and any special issues that either increase or decrease the value of the vehicle. A useful webpage for valuing automobiles is www.kbb.com.
  • A great idea is to use the digital camera that you bought your significant other last Christmas, and take a picture of the thingy; then when the trustee asks you about the souvenir Walther PKS (please at least spell it correctly) that my granddad brought back from the war that your client inherited, you can e-mail the pictures to your friendly Trustee, and he can decide whether or not to harass you or your client for more information concerning the asset.

Schedule C

Schedule C should mirror Schedules A & B: and Schedules A&B should tie to Schedule C. Check behind your paralegals! It is amazing how many times even experienced Debtor’s counsel manage to get wrapped up in these simple errors. Most software used now will catch errors but, remember that software is generally written these days by 14-year-olds, with the attention span of €¦ whatever. So, do not count on those errors being automatically corrected by your software. And, of course, do not forget the old programmer’s motto: garbage in, garbage out. Common errors in Schedule C include:

  • If your clients have lived in South Carolina for less than 730 days, then they are not entitled to claim South Carolina exemptions. It is astonishing how many people continue to utilize improper exemptions, five years after BAPCPA came into effect. Be sure to ask your clients about their residences for the preceding two years, and be sure to look at your client’s Statement of Affairs: it asks the same question. You will need to look at §523(b)(3)(A), and utilize the applicable Exemptions.
  • A good webpage for your starting your independent determination of the proper exemptions for your client (can the client use state as opposed to federal bankruptcy exemptions) is www.exemptionexpress.com.
  • Specify the exemption being claimed for each item claimed as being exempt; and specify the Dollar amount of exemption utilized for that particular piece of property.
  • An excellent practice we have seen is done by several more experienced practitioners, when using South Carolina exemptions: they set up a summary page for each exemption claimed, explaining how the unused exemptions in (a)(1)-(5) are being used in (a)(7).

Schedule D

Schedule D should:

  • have the current payoffs of the loans, not the total amount that will be paid if all of the payments are made on the loan; and not the amount of the original loan.
  • mirror either Schedule A or Schedule B assets. It is embarrassing, for example, for you to say that the Debtor owns a 1996 Pontiac on Schedule B, and disclose that it is a 1966 Pontiac GTO. There is a tad difference in the assets.
  • have the name and address of the creditor, and if an appearance has been made the name and address of any attorneys involved in the Case.

Schedule E

Schedule E should include any and all DSO obligations (including contingent obligations); AND at least the state and county, if known, of any enforcement body; AND the address of the DSO recipient and ex-spouse (if different)

Schedule F

Schedule F should be as complete as possible:

  1. Please do not list all of the debts as Unknown, or Disputed: most especially if they are not unknown, nor disputed.

Schedule G

Schedule G leases of property by the Debtor to third parties should be attached, or sent as soon as possible after filing to the Trustee. This makes it easy for the Trustees to determine whether or not to assume or reject executory contracts.

Schedule H

Schedule H should include the addresses of co-obligors, if known.

Schedule I

Schedule I should match the tax returns and the Statement of Affairsshould match the tax returns and the Statement of Affairs, and the Means Test; or there should be some explanation as to why there is a difference between Schedule I income and Statements of Affairs’ past income. Gross income of $1,500 monthly on Schedule I is simply not believable when a Debtor earns $72,000 per year.

Likewise, when a Debtor has been earning $250,000 a year, and now is earning $2,500 a month, you should explain somewhere (either here, or in the Statement of Affairs) what happened to cause such a drastic decrease in the Debtor’s income.

Schedule J

Schedule J should be realistic. $1,200 per month for food for a family including four teenagers might be realistic; but for two retirees, it is probably excessive! Think before you print.

Be sure to include an estimate for non-withheld income taxes.

Statement of Affairs

Statements of Affairs should list all transfers of property. Be sure   that your clients provide full and complete information.   If there is a transfer to a family member, have your   clients provide full information, giving the date of the transfer, the description of the property, and the value of the property transferred, the method of the transfer, and the disposition of the proceeds of the transfer.   Debtors should turn over to the Trustee the original or a clear copy of canceled check prior to the date of the First Meeting, and the original documents (if the Debtors have them) of transfer.     This is not a definitive list of do’s and don’ts; it merely reflects the author’s pet peeves concerning the repeated omissions of practitioners that regularly–or irregularly–appear with their clients in-tow at bankruptcy hearings and leave with hurt feelings when their work-product is maligned for failure to fully disclose information that the Code mandates be given.


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