When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to fill out a document called Schedule A. On Schedule A, you provide information about any real property you own, or will have the right to own at a future date, such as through a will or trust. You also provide information regarding the value of the property, whether you own it individually or jointly, and the amounts due for liens or mortgages held against it.
Purpose of Schedule A
You can use the information in Schedule A to help you evaluate your assets and debts, and perhaps to determine which bankruptcy chapter is right for you. Also, once you file the bankruptcy petition, the bankruptcy trustee will analyze Schedule A to determine what rights, if any, your creditors may have with respect to your real property.
What is Real Property?
Real property is a piece of land and any buildings or homes that are attached to it. This is sometimes referred to as real estate. Examples of real property include your house, condominium, investment property, vacant land, time shares, buildings, and any other type of land or building attached to it.
Before providing the information on Schedule A, gather any documents, such as deeds, mortgages and tax receipts, which relate to your property. These documents are essential for properly completing Schedule A.
Description and Location of Your Property
In the first column of Schedule A, you will give a legal description and street address of your property. The legal description can be found on your deed, and typically includes a lot and block number or a metes and bounds description of the property. You will be asked to provide the street address, as well. However, if there is no street address, (for example, on vacant land), provide information such as the major cross streets to describe where it is located and/or the parcel control number per the county tax records.
Nature of Your Interest in the Property
In the second column, you are asked to describe the nature of your interest in the property. That is, how do you own the property?
Property Owned as Fee Simple
The most common form of legal ownership of property is “fee simple.” This means that you have an absolute ownership interest in the property, and it includes the right to sell or convey the property. Fee simple property may be owned individually or with another person. Of course, your fee simple ownership may be subject to taxes and liens on the property. If your interest is fee simple, provide that information under the second column of Schedule A.
Life Estates, Contingent Interests, and Future Interests
If you do not own your property as fee simple, other types of ownership interests include life estates, contingent interests, and future interests.
- Life estate. If you own a life estate in property, it means that you can only use or possess the property during your lifetime, and may not sell it or convey it to others at any time, including after your death, such as through a will or trust.
- Contingent interest. A Contingent interest is one in which your ownership of the property depends upon a certain event or occurrence. For example, if you donated a certain amount of money to a charitable organization, only then you would acquire the piece of land.
- Future interest. If you have a future interest in a piece of property, it means that you have a right to possess the property at some certain time in the future. This may occur if you will inherit a piece of property as a beneficiary.
If you are renting or leasing a piece of property for a certain period of time, do not list the property in Schedule A. Information regarding a rental or lease agreement belongs under Schedule G of the bankruptcy petition titled, Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases.
If you are married and own real property, you will state whether you own it as Husband, Wife, Jointly, or as Community Property. You will need to place a H, W, J, or a C in the third column. Generally, you can obtain this information from your deed.
Current Value of Property
You must also provide the current value of your real property. When arriving at this value, do not deduct any liens, mortgages, or exemptions -- state the full value of the property. (To learn how to value your home and other real property, see How to Value Your Home in Bankruptcy.)
After completing this column, provide a total value of all of your real estate holdings at the bottom of the page.
Amount of Secured Claim
A secured claim is one in which your creditor has a lien against your property, and has a right to take that property if you default under the terms of your payment agreement. Examples of secured claims include mortgages, tax liens, mechanics liens, and condominium association liens.
If there is a secured claim against your property, be sure to provide accurate figures as to the amount that you owe in the last column of Schedule A.