Disclosing Financial Records to the Bankruptcy Court

By James Jennings,Legal Document Preparer.

When you file for bankruptcy, the court will take an active interest in your financial life. They look at your payment records and bills. Under a traditional bankruptcy proceeding, the trustee is going to want to review all of your bank account records, card accounts, credit loans, tax paperwork and various other financial components.

The Trustee is looking for any assets that can be sold to help pay down your debt in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The Trustee is also looking for evidence of assets and income that are exempt under the conditions of the law. These are called exemptions.  A list of them can be found be found in a publication produced by the court.

Make sure to have your documentation organized and ready for the courts. It lets everyone involved know that you are willing to cooperate with them. Those who have a willingness to cooperate and work with the court will benefit in the long run. Being upfront and honest will get you a favorable result from the court officials most of the time.

When it comes to your tax returns, the courts normally like to see two years of returns. For everything else, you can expect to provide three months of documentation. As you file your documents with the court, it is imperative that you remember that you are under oath. If you hide information or lie to the court it maybe considered fraud which is a crime.

Most of the time, three months of records seems to be what the bankruptcy courts like to see.

The actress Angela Jolie once said in an interview back in 2003 “I’m just honest.  I like that I don’t have to worry about what I say.  I really don’t have the time or energy to pretend and I don’t want to have to live that way.”

Seems like good advice.  Being dishonesty is like swimming upstream in a storm.  It will eventually wear you out and you’ll end up drowning.

If you have any questions regarding a specific legal matter or legal strategy you should contact an attorney for legal advice.  If you would like to get started on a family law or bankruptcy case call us today, 602-896-9020, email us at discountdivorce@msn.com, or visit our website at DiscountDivorcePro.com.

We invite you to subscribe to Discount Divorce & Bankruptcy Twitter account: @discountdivorce and Facebook page: facebook.com/discountdivorce Both of these social media sites have value information.

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How Do I Value My Property for Bankruptcy?

By James Jennings

865349331-547x300It seems like with almost every client when I ask them how much something is worth they just stare at me and shrug their shoulders.  It is important for you to determine an accurate value for your property.  Why? Because when preparing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy the Court wants you to disclose all of your assets and their value.  This in turn helps the Trustee that is appointed by the Court (who more or less represents the interests of the creditors in your case) determine if you have anything of value so that they can liquidate it and pay the people you owe – well at least in part anyway.

It is important to note that most if not all your personal property may be exempt from being taken away by the Court.  This all depends on the value of the property, the laws in your state.  Arizona statues concerning exemptions can be found in a publication provided by the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona.

So how does a person figure out the value of their personal property?  Well I guess that would depend in part on what type of personal property we a talking about.

The bankruptcy laws require that you value your personal property at retail replacement value. This is the price a retail merchant would charge for property of that kind considering the age and condition of the property at the time the value is determined. It is not the cost of replacing your items with new items. The value should represent the amount you would have to pay, on the date you file for bankruptcy, to replace each item with a used item of similar age and in similar condition.

large_carsssIn regards to motor vehicles, like cars, trucks, SUVs and the like, most people I know go to Kelly Blue Book’s website.  There are also other trade publications or you can have your vehicle appraised by a professional.

If you want to figure out what your furniture, household goods, clothing or other similar items you could try to visit various thrift stores, such as Goodwill, or local flea markets, or garage sales to see what comparable goods are selling for. Keep a record of the dates and locations you visit to support your valuation. You can also check online sales or auction sites. Wherever you find your values, make sure to list the age and condition of the property to give the trustee a better idea of what you are valuing.

For jewelry, furs, and collectibles will almost always need an appraisal. Make clear to the appraiser that you are looking for a current sale value appraisal and not an appraisal for insurance. The valuations may be different. Pawn shops may give you the lowest appraisal value but they have a general reputation for undervaluing property and may not be the best source. A reputable dealer in estate property may be the best source for appraisals on these items.

If you have any questions regarding a specific legal matter or legal strategy you should contact an attorney for legal advice.  If you would like to get started on a family law or bankruptcy case call us today, 602-896-9020, email us at discountdivorce@msn.com, or visit our website at DiscountDivorcePro.com.

We invite you to subscribe to Discount Divorce & Bankruptcy Twitter account: @discountdivorce and Facebook page: facebook.com/discountdivorce Both of these social media sites have value information.

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