One of the key phases of filing for bankruptcy is taking a thorough inventory of your financial status. This includes your income, the assets you own (including currently-owned or recently-transferred property of yours), your monthly budget/living costs, and of course, a detailed accounting of the debts you owe.
Each debt listed is referred to as a claim in your bankruptcy petition, and you must include all relevant information about every bankruptcy claim:
- Who the creditor (lender) is
- The total amount you still owe on the debt
- Other terms of the loan/debt such as the amount you’ve paid off already and the timeframe of the terms
- Whether the claim involves details that make it impossible to determine the amount owed at the time of filing or otherwise needs to be resolved
While most bankruptcy claims are straightforward and require no further investigation (for example, you have $10,000 left on your car loan and you owe it to your car dealer), other claims will require more work, negotiation, and/or research. In your inventory, you’ll classify these more complicated claims as either contingent, unliquidated, or disputed
As you might deduce, a claim is considered contingent if whether or not you owe on it (or how much you owe) depends on another person’s actions. For example, if you had a cosigner on your car loan, whether or not the balance is included in your bankruptcy depends on if he or she continues to pay or has defaulted on the payment as well.
A claim is considered unliquidated when you know you have a debt, but are unable to determine how much it will be. Certain factors might still be in question (for example, ongoing medical bills) that make it impossible to know the total debt you’ll owe on that claim, but you still must include it in your paperwork.
You’ll mark a claim as disputed if there is disagreement over the amount of the debt or the existence of the debt at all, and elaborate on the nature of the dispute in your notes. You should list the amount the lender/creditor believes you owe on your inventory form.
Seek advice from a qualified Bronx bankruptcy lawyer
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy protection, you need support from an experienced bankruptcy attorney throughout all steps of the process. Contact Thomas M. Denaro online, or call (718) 863-6000 today to learn more about how we can help.