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Six Common Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Bankruptcy Case

Filing bankruptcy requires carefully planning with qualified and experienced chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys to avoid making common mistakes. Although you may be able to correct some minor mistakes, others could prove costly and ruin your chances of discharge — or worse.

People filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Illinois should avoid these common errors that may harm their bankruptcy case:

  1. Don't trade unsecured debt for secured debt – avoid paying off unsecured debt, like credit card debt and pay day loans, with home equity loans or second mortgages. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy the court will discharge most of your unsecured debt.  However, once you borrow money using your home, you risk losing your collateral if you don't make your mortgage payments on time
  2. Don't transfer property or assets – Sometimes people try to protect property from their creditors by giving the property to family or friends.  This is a mistake. Depending on when you make the transfer, the bankruptcy trustee can recover this (“non-exempt”) property that is transferred prior to filing
  3. Don't use money from your retirement account to pay off unsecured debt – Most pension income and other qualified ERISA retirement accounts can be protected from your creditors in the bankruptcy process
  4. Don't ignore pending lawsuits - Only after you file your bankruptcy petition will the automatic stay prevent your creditors from pursuing collection actions against you.  Make sure that you file a response to all creditor lawsuits to protect your rights
  5. Don't conceal information from the bankruptcy court - You must list all your debts and assets accurately on your bankruptcy petition.  Although the Bankruptcy rules allow you to amend your petition to correct mistakes, intentionally misreporting information can cost you when the trustee finds out
  6. Never hide vital information from your attorney - any and all information that relates to your debt or assets is considered vital and your attorney needs to know about it. Withholding information from your bankruptcy attorney can only work against you

Contact DebtStoppers, Bankruptcy Law Firm for a free consultation and to discuss your bankruptcy options.

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