When you walk into the Orlando Florida Federal Bankruptcy court for a meeting with the trustee and your attorney, your bankruptcy papers, your assets list, your vehicle exemption, your homestead exemption are reviewed.
This is a very serious meeting during which your paperwork is carefully reviewed. You’re sworn in, you will be asked questions and your entire bankruptcy case is looked at for any discrepancies. Does your attorney know what the bankruptcy exemptions are? There are many attorneys who have so many bankruptcy clients that they are not properly prepared clients for this meeting in which case you’re left to respond to the trustee. Do you know the correct bankruptcy exemptions?
Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan completely prepare all bankruptcy filings personally. They don’t pass paperwork off to an assistant to review. The Lanigans will tell you in your first bankruptcy meeting that you will have to tell the truth at all times.
Bankruptcy Exemptions Videos by the Lanigans
When you have completed your bankruptcy forms, there is a common misconception that because you have an attorney that if you divulge to the attorney that you have forgotten to list an asset that it will all work out if you tell them later.
This is not always true. When you turn in your bankruptcy forms, you sign the papers in front of witnesses stating that the forms are inclusive of all your assets and that you are telling the truth. If you get into the trustee meeting and something comes to you, do you know what to say? Do you tell the trustee or do you tell your attorney to tell the trustee?
Do you know the consequences in this situation? Hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney like Eric Lanigan who has practiced law in Florida since 1976 and has filed all types of bankruptcies for couples, individuals and businesses.
He has handled bankruptcy in Orlando and has seen people from all walks of life hit by the poor Florida economy since 2007. The number of bankruptcies may be down, however, there is no sign of bankruptcies slowing to levels prior to 2007.
Honesty is Your Responsibility
It’s your responsibility to carefully go through your home and take a list of all of your assets. One of the most common misconceptions people have about bankruptcy is that you can pick and choose which debts you list.
Assets include future rights such as potential income tax refunds. Tax refunds are commonly forgotten by those filing bankruptcy. Here’s a video by Eric Lanigan about Assets also include intangible things such as business goodwill, the right to sue someone, or stock options.
If you make a mistake and leave something out of the bankruptcy, you must tell the Lanigans, as soon as you realize the mistake, so that they can immediately file papers to correct the mistake and disclose the asset.
It’s a common misunderstanding that assets must have a high value. Assets are simply all the property that you have and include every form of property not only real estate (the house, condo, vacant lot, commercial building and/or apartment building).
All forms of assets must be disclosed if you file for bankruptcy. Assets that someone is holding for you and assets that are out of the country are all listed. There is even a place to disclose assets that belong to someone else that you are holding for them.
Assets are a very thorough accounting of what you own:
- 401(k), Annuities, IRAs, etc
- Cemetery plots
- Insurance policies
- Business accounts
- Gold, coin collections
- Sports equipment
- Vacation property
- Lottery winnings
You Can Try, But You Can’t Hide From the Bankruptcy Trustee
If you hide assets, try to lie about assets, or give assets to a friend or a relative, also known as illegal conveyance of assets, you’re intentionally deceiving the court. You’re also very likely to be caught.
The system can’t afford to send a private investigator out to dig up whether someone is telling the truth. But the bankruptcy trustee appointed to review your case is skilled at looking for any sign of hidden assets. You thought you could hide something? Think again.
According to the Tampa Bay Times in 2011, bankruptcy-related crimes ranked low on prosecutors’ priority lists. As of 2011, criminal charges had been filed in just 24 of the 1,611 cases referred for prosecution nationwide.
Begin With the Penalty for Lying to the Court
Knowingly making false statements in a Federal bankruptcy court about your assets is a felony that could send you to federal prison for five years. Consider a consultation with Roddy Lanigan and Eric Lanigan to handle your Florida Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.