There are many reasons why an asset may go undisclosed by a filer. These include:
- Lying about owning assets
- Transferring assets to someone else’s name
- Creating fake mortgages or liens to devalue their property
- Carelessness in disclosing assets
- Legitimately forgetting to include assets
Bankruptcy trustees are very keen detectives and are not often fooled by hidden assets. All it takes is a public records review, a debt review, a review of bank records or tax returns, or a look at online asset searches to determine whether or not an asset has been hidden or transferred. If a filer is found to have attempted to conceal assets, they face a number of repercussions. Not only will their hidden assets not be eligible for discharge (meaning they will still owe the debt they were trying to get rid of with bankruptcy), but they may also get their discharge revoked. Worse still, they may face criminal penalties for perjury, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000.
The following are examples of assets that are most commonly forgotten in bankruptcy petitions:
- Retirement benefits
- Lottery winnings
- Co-owned assets
What happens if you make an honest mistake?
Sometimes, though, assets are not disclosed simply because a person made a mistake without malicious intent. If this happens, the filer should immediately disclose the asset with their trustee. As long as the mistake was not made in an attempt to delay, hinder, or defraud creditors, the error should not result in a denial of a discharge.
Considering Bankruptcy? Work With an Attorney You Can Trust
If you are considering bankruptcy in the St. Charles / St. Louis area, please get in touch with me. I am prepared to assist you in taking your first step to a fresh start. Schedule your free consultation by visiting www.BankruptcySolo.com or by calling us at (636) 724-3355.