This is for all of my clients! I can't do my job to protect you if you don't disclose all of your assets and all of your debts. This warning is not because of any thing that my clients have done, but rather because of recent court hearings for other debtors.
The bankruptcy code is very clear: it will protect honest debtors. One of the Trustees likes to say this is "Show and Tell" not "Hide and Go Seek." This means that you need to list all of your property. If you have told us about it, it should be on the forms, but you are the best eyes for your case. So make sure that we have every thing listed! This is why we spend 2 to 3 hours reviewing your schedules with you before they are filed. We want you to know what is on them. We often even send you home with draft copies to mark up and bring back. If you have a $5 gold coin we are not going to know about it but you will. The Trustee or the Trustee's attorney will look you straight in the eyes and ask if you have listed all of your property and all of your debts at the meeting of creditors (also call the 341 meeting). We want you to be able to say YES, I have listed all of my property and all of my debts. I also have listed all of the transfers requested.
Most people are honest. Sometimes you have forgotten to list something. The sooner you tell us that something is missing the better it is for you. If your creditors or your neighbors call the trustees' office and report that you are hiding property or not listing all of your creditors and the Trustee discovers that it is true ... then your problems could turn into a criminal matter. The FBI investigates bankruptcy crimes. I don't think that anyone wants the FBI knocking on their door.
Some one knows your secrets and they will tell someone. I will give you a few examples of things not to do. A debtor in Alaska, put $10,000 worth of diamonds in a coffee can and buried it. Was it listed on their bankruptcy schedules? NO. Do you think someone like that should go to prison. Your answer is likely yes. An couple in south Missouri filled a semi-trailer with antiques and buried it in a pasture. These are extreme examples but they really make the point. Don't hide your property and list it all!
On the other hand, we don't need to list the box of toothpicks by itself. Instead, it would be in a general catergory. We will have have some general categories. For example, small or minor appliances. This covers vacuums, toothbrushes, shavers, and blow dryers and the like. We also group cookware rather than count each pan. But we have have everything thing on your schedules that we know about. The schedule must continue all property you know about.
As I tell everyone at the intake appointment. In order to keep your property, you must list it and the law must allow you to exempt it. If it can't be exempted then we must make a deal to buy it back or have it go to sell. In Chapter 7 cases, the Trustees determine when, where, and how it property is sold. In Chapter 13, the Debtor has more control. Either way the Judge has the final say on the disposion of any property.
So I am begging you to read your schedules and let us know if we need to make any changes. I love that you tell me that you trust us but this is not a matter of trusting us it is double checking to ensure that we have done the best job possible for you.