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Chicago Bankruptcy Question: What are the Bankruptcy Schedules?

Chicago Bankruptcy Question of the Day: What are the bankruptcy schedules?  The bankruptcy schedules are the first major part of any bankruptcy filing.  They are generally a series of schedules that include your assets, exemptions, liabilities and budget.  The primary purpose of the bankruptcy schedules are to give a clear and concise snapshot of your financial picture to the court, trustee, creditors and other interested parties using standardized forms approved by the bankruptcy courts. 

The first significant section of your bankruptcy schedules is the disclosure of your assets and scheduling of your exemptions.  You are required to disclose all assets that you own, even contingent assets such as potential lawsuit recoveries and receivables of debts owed and assets that are jointly held.  Failure to disclose an asset is one of the biggest areas where debtors in bankruptcy get into trouble.  Along with scheduling your assets, you must also exempt any assets that you want protected, so long as they fall within the exemption laws.  In Illinois, state law exemptions are used to protect property, rather than the federal exemptions provided by the US Bankruptcy Code.

The second significant section of your bankruptcy schedules is the listing of all of your creditors.  Every creditor, regardless as to whether you wish to continue paying them, must be listed.  There are four general types of creditors, each type having their own schedule; secured creditors, priority creditors, general unsecured creditors and lease obligations.  Any co-debtors, or people who are jointly liable on your debts, must be disclosed on a separate schedule as well.

The third significant section of your bankruptcy schedules is the budget.  In the budget, you must disclose your household size and structure, all income being recieved in the household and all of your ordinary living expenses.  In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the budget should reflect that you have a minimum of excess income with which to pay your creditors.  In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the budget should reflect sufficient income with which to make your Chapter 13 Trustee payment.  Many debtors get into trouble in this area by failing to disclose income or by scheduling unreasonable expenses.

Getting your bankruptcy schedules right is the first step to a successful bankruptcy filing in Chicago.  This is why you need an attorney who is well-versed in the bankruptcy code, understands the Illinois exemption laws thoroughly and has the experience to know what expenses will be considered allowable by the Chicago bankruptcy courts and trustees.  The bankruptcy lawyers and Ledford & Wu are always willing to give you a free consultation to determine which bankruptcy filing, if any, is right for you.

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