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Common mistakes to avoid before filing for bankruptcy

If you have made the decision to file for bankruptcy, you may breathe a bit easier, but still feel overwhelmed.

You might therefore consider taking action in certain ways that could be very damaging. Here are five common mistakes to avoid when you are facing bankruptcy.

1. Hiding some of your assets

Not mentioning an additional checking or savings account or funneling funds to a friend or relative just before you file for bankruptcy are illegal activities. Doing so may result in fines. You could even face prison time for a charge of bankruptcy fraud.

2. Not listing certain creditors

With regard to creditors, one of two things may happen. First, if you owe many debts, one or two creditors may get lost in the shuffle and go unreported. Second, you may want to keep certain creditors out of the bankruptcy process. Keep in mind that the law requires you to include all creditors in your bankruptcy filing; otherwise, the court could dismiss your petition.

3. Repaying family prior to filing

You may repay a debt to a family member prior to filing for bankruptcy. However, the bankruptcy trustee may see this as a “preferential payment” and disallow it. Your relative might have to repay that money to the trustee.

4. Running up debt

Many people succumb to shopping sprees just before filing for bankruptcy, mistakenly thinking that some additional debt on their credit cards will not make any difference: Such purchases may not be dischargeable, and you will be responsible for the payment of those debts.

5. Waiting

It would be a mistake to wait too long to file because debt simply continues to mount. Do not delay, and do not be anything but truthful with your attorney whose goal it is to help you through the bankruptcy process successfully. Remember that the rest of your life awaits, and you do not want to let mistakes rob you of a fresh start.

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