Amending the Bankruptcy Petition

You can amend your bankruptcy petition. There could be many reasons why you may want to amend your bankruptcy petition.

Reasons for Amending the Bankruptcy Petition

The main reason why debtors seek to amend their bankruptcy petition is to include a forgotten debt. When you file for bankruptcy and receive a discharge, only the debts that you have included in your bankruptcy petition will be discharged. The other debts will continue to remain payable. Also you cannot avail the benefits of the automatic stay against the creditors whose debts are not included in your bankruptcy petition.

Another reason why a person may seek to amend his or her bankruptcy petition is that he or she may have forgotten to claim exemption for a property which he or she is entitled to claim an exemption. This is applicable to Chapter 7 cases.

Chapter 13

If you have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy but you have forgotten to include a debt in your payment plan, you need not amend your entire petition. You can just amend your payment plan to include the forgotten debt.

Chapter 7

If you have filed a Chapter 7 and you do not have any non-exempt assets for the trustee to liquidate, you may not have to amend your petition. You can just inform the court about the forgotten debt and the court will allow you to treat the debt as discharged. However you may have a difficult time convincing the creditor that the debt has been discharged in bankruptcy since the creditor did not have any notice of your filing.

Bankruptcy Amendment Procedure

You can amend your bankruptcy petition at any time even after discharge. The process starts with the motion to amend your bankruptcy petition. The motion must be made on the prescribed form which is generally available at the court office. You must prepare an amended schedule to include the forgotten debt and then file the motion along with the amended schedule in the court. You may have to pay a filing fee. Once you file your motion, your motion will be assigned a return date. You must serve a copy of the motion and the amended schedule to all your creditors. In many jurisdictions, the courts generally allow the motion on the date of filing itself while in others you may have to wait till the return date. You must attend the court on the return date. If you do not attend, your motion may be dismissed.

Forgotten Exemption

If you want to add a forgotten property and you do not amend the exemption schedule, you will have to surrender the forgotten property. A trustee will be re-appointed and fresh notices must be sent to all parties.

Newly Incurred Debts

Bankruptcy can discharge all the debts you have incurred till the date of filing. If you have incurred new debts after the filing, you cannot include them in your bankruptcy petition by filing a motion to amend your petition. If you want to include your newly incurred debts in your petition, you must have your existing petition dismissed and file a new petition including the newly incurred debt.

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