If you make a mistake in your bankruptcy petition, schedules, or other paperwork, you can correct it quickly by filing an amended version of the form. The bankruptcy rules allow filers to amend their forms before receiving a final discharge.
You can amend anything filed with the bankruptcy court, including the bankruptcy petition, a bankruptcy schedule, or another bankruptcy form. If your case has already closed, skip to the "Can I Amend My Bankruptcy After Discharge?" section below.
Sometimes you forget to include information, make an error, or your life situation changes. In those instances, you'll want to "amend" your bankruptcy filing to reflect the accurate information or current circumstances.
Inadvertent errors. Filling out paperwork incorrectly without any bad intentions can happen. For instance, if the name on your petition doesn't match the name on the identification presented at the 341 meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will likely ask you to fix the difference by amending the bankruptcy petition.
Forgetting information. It's also common to forget to include something in your schedules, such as a creditor, an old bank account, or property in your possession that belongs to someone else. Another item commonly forgotten would be an unprofitable business venture (you must include it even if it didn't make any money). You'll want to amend your bankruptcy petition promptly when you realize the omission or the trustee brings it to your attention.
Life changes. Events in your life can affect your income and expenses. For instance, an employment change or a move could impact the amount of money available to pay creditors in Chapters 7 and 13.
Below are the steps you'll follow when amending the bankruptcy petition, schedule, or another form.
The local rules and fee schedules will tell you whether you must use a cover sheet when filing the amended form and, if so, the format you'll use. The rules might also explain whether the amended schedule should include the new information only or be revised entirely.
Not all amendments require you to pay a fee, but some do. Check the fee schedule on your court's website. It will have the most current information.
You'll need a blank copy of the petition or schedule to correct a mistake. Fillable, downloadable forms are available on the U.S. Courts bankruptcy form webpage. Go to the bankruptcy court's website for local forms.
Start with a new copy of the form. You'll check the "Amended" box or type "amended" on the top of the official or local bankruptcy form to distinguish between the new and old versions.
You might need to file several amended forms, even if you made only one mistake. For example, if you forgot to list the creditor holding the note to your car, you might need to amend Schedule C: The Property You Claim as Exempt and Schedule D: Creditors Who Have Claims Secured by Property. Also, complete and execute a new Declaration About an Individual Debtor's Schedules.
Once you've completed the amended forms, submit the forms and fee to the court, following the court's instructions as to what order the forms should be in, how many copies are required, whether you need to include a cover sheet or letter explaining the changes, and so on.
You must also serve a copy of the amended papers to the bankruptcy trustee and to any creditor affected by your amendment. Learn more about completing bankruptcy forms.
You don't have an automatic right to amend your paperwork after the bankruptcy court issues a "discharge" erasing qualifying debts and closes your case. You'll need to file a motion asking the bankruptcy court to reopen your matter and allow an amendment.
The steps involved vary depending on your jurisdiction. Some courts might allow the filing of amendments along with the motion, while others will require you to accomplish the task in two steps.
Anytime you're worried about your bankruptcy filing or issue, it's a good idea to speak with a local bankruptcy lawyer. An attorney will listen to your concerns and explain the options and consequences. If you meet with a bankruptcy lawyer who offers a free initial consultation, you won't owe anything unless you use the lawyer's services.
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Bankruptcy is essentially a qualification process. The laws provide instructions for completing a 50- to 60-page bankruptcy petition, and because the rules apply to every case, you can't skip a step. We want to help.
Below is the bankruptcy form for this topic and other resources we think you'll enjoy. For more easy-to-understand articles, go to TheBankruptcySite.
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Bankruptcy Forms and Document Checklist
United States Courts Bankruptcy Forms
Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcy Forms
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We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer.