Much like applying for a mortgage, preparing a bankruptcy petition requires full disclosure of your financial situation, which is done on forms called “bankruptcy schedules.” While it is labor intensive, the process is easier when you understand the information you need for each schedule and assemble the necessary documents ahead of time. With your goal being the discharge of thousands of dollars in debt, the benefit is well worth the effort.
Schedules A, B and C
You must disclose all of your property on Schedules A, B and C. Real property, such as a primary residence and rental properties, is listed on Schedule A. Personal property, such as cash, money in banking accounts, investments, stock, household goods, clothing and sporting equipment, is listed on Schedule B. The property being “exempted” -- meaning the property you are allowed to keep under state and federal bankruptcy rules -- is listed on Schedule C. To prepare these schedules, you will need information about banking and other financial accounts, including the names of institutions and account numbers.
Schedules D, E, F, G and H
You list the creditors you owe on Schedules D through G, and you will need loan, credit card and lease statements to complete these schedules. “Secured” debts, or debts that are secured by property, such as mortgages and car payments, are listed on Schedule D. All “unsecured” debts, such as credit card bills and utility payments, are listed on Schedules E and F. Outstanding leases, such as for cars, homes or anything else, are listed on Schedule G. If you owe debts with any co-debtors, such as co-signors, you would list such on Schedule H.
Schedules I and J
You must list your monthly income and expenses as well. To complete these schedules, you will need six months of paycheck or unemployment stubs and any other income-related documents, along with all monthly household and business billing statements. Specifically, employment income and monthly expenditures for such things as housing, utilities, food and vehicles is listed on Schedules I and J.
Statement of Financial Affairs
You need to disclose your past business and financial activities on the Statement of Financial Affairs. The disclosures include how much money was made in the past two years, any debts that were paid off, any inheritances received and any involvement in businesses, such as a limited liability company. You must also disclose any financial accounts you closed and the gift or sale of property. To complete the Statement of Financial Affairs, you will need two years of tax returns, property transfer receipts and banking records.