By: Ronald J. Ellett
One of the most important duties of a bankruptcy debtor is to disclose all assets and liabilities. This disclosure is made through bankruptcy schedules in the bankruptcy statement of financial affairs. A bankruptcy debtor will be asked under oath to confirm the truthfulness of the bankruptcy schedules in the bankruptcy statement of financial affairs. In order for your bankruptcy attorney to properly complete your bankruptcy schedules and statement of financial affairs, it is extremely important that you provide accurate and detailed information to your bankruptcy attorney.
Completion of the client questionnaire is one of the essential ways that this detailed information is conveyed to your bankruptcy attorney. At 53 pages, filling out the Questionnaire may seem like no small task, however once you begin, you may find that it is not as daunting as it first seemed. The following information will help guide you through completing the form as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Section 1- Basic Information
Please fill out this section completely. If you are married, please list your spouse’s information even if he or she is not filing bankruptcy.
Section 2- Property
Part A. Residence: Be sure to answer each question fully. List the name and address of other owners of your property if applicable, as well as the percentage they own.
Part B. Vehicles: List all vehicles that you currently own. Do not list vehicles that you no longer own. For example, do not list vehicles that you used to own but that have been repossessed and then sold at auction by the lender. There is a separate section toward the bottom for ATVs, boats, planes and motor homes. Disclose all vehicles owned, the value and who owns them.
Part C. Personal and Household Items: List all major household items under the correct heading to the left of the page. The value of the items is determined by how much you might be able to sell the items, not how much you paid. Indicate the sale value for all of your clothing. Firearms should be also be valued at the price at which what you could sell them. If you wish to get an opinion for the value of your jewelry you might inquire at a pawn store.
Part D. Financial Assets: Fill out this section completely. Be sure to list the bank name, the last 4 digits of the account and the names of anyone on the account. List any online deposit accounts such as PayPal or Venmo. If you do not have the type of account listed, check the “No” box. Your retirement account(s) will be listed in this section as well as security deposits and other financial assets. It is important to disclose everything so it may be protected by exemptions if applicable. List alimony and child support received if applicable.
Part E. Business-Related Assets, Part F. Farm and Commercial Fishing-Related Property and Part G. Miscellaneous: List if applicable. Check “no” if not applicable.
Section 3- Debts (Schedule D/E/F):
It is important that you list each of your debts in Section 3 and fill out the information completely. This information is used to notify your creditors of your bankruptcy. If you are unsure of the exact amount you owe, please provide a good-faith estimate. If the account has been sent to a collection agency, please list the agency under number 5 for that creditor.
Part A. Debts Secured by Property: List all information requested in each column, including the last four digits of your account number.
Part B. Credit Card Debts: Fill out completely and provide last 4 digits of account number. Also list cash advances under this section on page 28.
Part C. Medical Debts: Fill out completely and provide last 4 digits of account number.
Part D. Tax Debts: Fill out completely. For Federal or State tax debt, please provide the year and amount owed for that specific year. Please do not combine years and amounts.
Part E. Student Loan Debts: Although Student Loans are not dischargeable, they still must be listed as a debt. Please list each loan separately and fill out the section completely.
Part F. Other Debts: Please list any other debt you have. Some examples are: Title loans, Payday loans, Back child support or back alimony, loans from friends or family and any other loans.
Section 4- Unexpired Leases and Contracts (Schedule G)
If you rent your home or lease your vehicle, provide the name and address if the individual or company you lease from.
Section 5- Current Income (Schedule H)
Part A. and B. Debtors’ Employer Information: Provide the name and address of your employer, length of time you have been at the job and your job title or description.
Part C. and D. Debtors’ Wage Information: You do not need to complete this section. We will retrieve it from your paystubs.
Part E. and F. Debtors’ Current Monthly Income: You do not need to complete this section. An income chart will be drafted based on your paystubs.
Section 6- Current Expenses (Schedule J)
Please answer all questions. List monthly amount. Explanations of certain questions as follows:
- Please list your dependents by their relationship, not their names. Please list their ages and who they live with.
- Do not include amount deducted from paycheck.
15b. Do not include amount deducted from paycheck.
- Be sure you have listed the creditor in Section 3.
Section 7- Statement of Financial Affairs (Form 107)
Please do not skip this section! Each question must be answered. If it does not apply to you, check the “none” box. An explanation of certain questions follows:
- This information can usually be found on your tax returns or final paystub. Please be sure to use the gross amount.
- List income from retirement, pensions, social security, disability. Essentially any income that is not considered wages.
- If you have paid any one creditor a total of $600 or more over the past 90 days fill out this section completely. List the dates of each payment and the total amount paid. Alimony and child support do not count for this section.
- If you have business debts and have paid any single creditor a total of $6,425 or more in the past 90 days, fill out this section completely. List the dates of each payment and the total amount paid. Alimony and child support do not count for this section.
- If you have made any payments to friends, family, business partners, your business or anyone else personally known to you, fill out the information completely. List the total amount paid.
- If you have made any payments for friends, family, business partners, your business or anyone else personally known to you or transferred any property to them, answer this question completely.
- List your lawsuits from the past year here.
- List any repos, foreclosures or garnishments that occurred in the past year along with the dates. Write the value of the home or car when it was repossessed or foreclosed upon. If garnished, write the total amount taken.
- List any times that a creditor refused to pay you monies that were actually owed to you because that creditor asserted that it was entitled to an offset of one of your debts.
- If a court has appointed a third party to take control of your property for the benefit of creditors, complete this question.
- If you have donated $600 or more to a charitable cause or church within the past 2 years answer this question.
- If you have gambling losses, list them here. If you had any losses from fire, theft or disaster, list them here.
- If you paid anyone else to help file your bankruptcy, even if you didn’t follow through, answer this question.
- If you paid anyone to help deal with creditors (a consolidation company for example), answer this question.
- If you sold, traded or transferred any property within the past 2 years, answer this question.
- If you have a trust or are listed as a beneficiary of a trust or similar device, answer this question.
- If you closed any bank accounts or other financial accounts (401k, IRA etc.) within the past year, answer this question. Be sure to provide all of the information asked for.
- For example: Minor children bank accounts, a vehicle you are driving that is owned by someone else.
24- 26 are questions related to hazardous materials and environmental law. If they do not apply to your situation, check the “none” box.
- In the past 4 years, if you owned a business, answer this question.
- If any creditor, lender, bank or other financial institution has required you to submit statements about your business to them, answer this question.
If you have any questions or concerns about properly completing your bankruptcy client questionnaire please be certain to contact your experience bankruptcy attorney to get your questions appropriately answered. Providing truthful and complete information to your bankruptcy attorney is essential to allow your case to proceed appropriately and smoothly.
A copy of the bankruptcy questionnaire can be accessed here: CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE WITH CERTIFICATION