Filing for bankruptcy involves providing the court with a detailed description of all of your assets and liabilities. In exchange for a discharge of your debts, the court needs to be satisfied that your financial condition precludes your ability to pay off some or all of your debt. Failure to provide all of the financial information that the court needs to make this determination could result in the dismissal of your bankruptcy petition without the granting of relief.
Assemble all the information you can about your financial life. To successfully complete your bankruptcy petition, you must provide information on your cash assets, property holdings, household furnishings, debts owed, payments and transfers made, and income received.
Get the most recent copy of the entire bankruptcy petition from your local bankruptcy clerk. The forms for federal bankruptcy are updated often, so verify with the court that you have the most recent paperwork. Local courts also often have forms you must attach to your federal petition and local rules you must follow in addition to the federal rules of bankruptcy procedure, so confirm local customs with the bankruptcy clerk.
Complete Schedule A, "Real Property." List any physical property in which you have any current or future interest. Include property that you co-own with any other entity, such as your spouse. Describe the property, indicate the nature of your ownership, provide a value for the property and list any secured claim in the property that another individual or entity asserts.
Complete Schedule B, "Personal Property." Schedule B is divided into 35 separate subheadings where you can classify the nature of any personal property that you own. Examples include cash on hand, bank accounts, apparel, jewelry and household furnishings. Provide a description of the property, the location, the nature of your ownership and the current value.
Complete Schedule C, "Property Claimed As Exempt." Each state allows you to exempt a certain dollar amount of property in various categories that cannot be considered as a source of money to help pay your creditors. Whether or not you work with an attorney, it is your responsibility as a debtor to determine what property you own may be considered exempt by your state. On Schedule C, you must list the property you are exempting, cite the law that provides for the exemption and provide values for both the claimed exemption and the property itself.
Complete Schedule D, "Creditors Holding Secured Claims." List all creditors holding a secured interest in any of your property. Include the creditor's address, the date and amount of the claim, a description and value of the property securing the debt and the amount of the unsecured portion of the claim, if any.
Complete Schedule E, "Creditors Holding Unsecured Priority Claims." Schedule E lists categories of liabilities that the court considers priority claims, including domestic support obligations, contributions to employee benefit plans and certain taxes owed to governmental units. Provide the creditor's name and address, date of the claim, total amount of the claim, priority amount of the claim and any portion not entitled to priority.
Complete Schedule F, "Creditors Holding Unsecured Nonpriority Claims." Nonpriority creditors are typically credit card companies. As with your other liabilities, provide the creditor name and address, the amount of the debt and date incurred, and whether the debt is in your name only or if it is joint or community debt.
Complete the Summary of Schedules. Once you have filled in all of the other bankruptcy schedules, you must transfer the totaled amounts to the Summary of Schedules sheet.
John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served for 18 years as an investment counselor before becoming a writing and editing contractor for various private clients. In addition to writing thousands of articles for various online publications, he has published five educational books for young adults.