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Hiding assets in a bankruptcy may lead to criminal charges

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2018 | blog, Firm News

If you’re considering filing for personal bankruptcy, it is important to do your homework on the process before moving forward. Planning properly for bankruptcy is one of the most important portions of the process, but many individuals who choose to use bankruptcy for debt relief fail to take full advantage of the process because of poor planning.

This is exceptionally true of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where a debtor forfeits much of his or her property to a trustee in return for debt discharge. A debtor who fails to properly disclose all assets while filing may see a court toss out the bankruptcy and deny the debtor a dearly needed discharge.

Planning for your bankruptcy is often difficult to separate from hiding assets, especially if you hope to reorganize some assets beforehand to minimize the financial burden of undergoing a discharge. If you plan to enlist the help of a bankruptcy attorney, it is important to prioritize finding someone who understands how to help you plan effectively without recommending actions that may jeopardize your bankruptcy altogether. Professional guidance from an experienced attorney is often indispensable, keeping debtors on track and their rights protected.

What if a court believes a debtor hid assets?

If a court reviewing a bankruptcy believes that the debtor hid assets before filing, that debtor is likely to forfeit his or her opportunity for discharge altogether, and may still find themselves on the hook for the costs incurred by the bankruptcy thus far. Many individuals believe a court must assume good intent on the part of the debtor, but this is not necessarily the case.

Bankruptcies are not simple processes, and those who understand them in detail have a much better chance of successfully receiving a discharge and enjoying the full range of benefits. In contrast, those who attempt a bankruptcy with a compromised understanding of its intricacies are likely to miss out on many of these benefits, and may disqualify themselves from the discharge entirely.

Bankruptcy law describes many different kinds of violations one might commit, which may result in criminal charges. In addition to jeopardizing a debt discharge, a person who commits bankruptcy crimes may even face criminal charges that can result in jail time.

Protect your rights and your future

Before you file for any form of bankruptcy, be sure to protect yourself with a full understanding of the process and relevant guidelines and timetables. If you have concerns about successfully navigating bankruptcy, the guidance of an experienced attorney can help ensure that you have the time and energy to focus on your own affairs, while an attorney represents your interests and protects your rights.