10 Bankruptcy Mistakes to Avoid

Do not have more than about $500 in your bank account (or other liquid assets, such as stocks or mutual funds) on the day of filing for bankruptcy. Solution: time the filing so that you file on a day when your bank account is at an absolute minimum. Note that the court will ask that you provide a bank statement and they will rely on the account balance as listed in the statement, not the balance in your check register. Taking the money out and paying your bills with money orders will ensure that the balance is low. This strategy also applies to cash and undeposited checks: you want to minimize these on the day of filing. After you file, you may deposit funds as you wish.

2. Do not file when you are owed a substantial tax refund from the IRS or State, because the Court will take it to pay your creditors. Solution: File your case after you receive your refund and have spent it. OR, if it is mid-year, change the number of exemptions that you claim on your W-4 so that you get a larger paycheck now, and a smaller refund later. But don’t forget to change it back the first of next year.

3. Do not file when someone owes you money, because the Court will collect that money and pay it to your creditors. Solution: collect the money before you file.

4. Do not forget to tell your us about any loan repayments you have made to relatives or friends within the year prior to filing for bankruptcy.

5. Do not transfer any assets out of your name prior to filing bankruptcy.

6. Please inform us if you have paid any unsecured creditor more than $600 in the 90 days before filing bankruptcy. Paying more than $600 to a creditor in the 90 days prior to filing may not even be a problem, but Steve will analyze it and delay the filing, if necessary, to put more than 90 days between the payoff and the date of filing.

7. Do not incur debt once you have seriously considered bankruptcy as an option.

8. Do not charge on any card for 60 days before filing bankruptcy.

9. Do not file if you are anticipating an inheritance within the next year.

10. Do not file if you are intending to sell your real estate soon.


Discuss any concerns related to the above issues with Steve or Brooke. If you think you have made one or more of the mistakes, or have any issues related to them, make sure we know about it, as most can be corrected.