There's a mistake on my bankruptcy petition. Should I tell the trustee at my meeting of creditors?

If you discover a mistake on your bankruptcy petition, you should correct it as soon as possible. If you have not fixed it by the time of your meeting of creditors, you need to inform the trustee of the error. Read on to learn more about what to do when you notice a mistake on your bankruptcy petition.

For more information on bankruptcy forms, including the bankruptcy petition, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.

Your Bankruptcy Petition Is Signed Under Penalty of Perjury

When you complete your bankruptcy petition and schedules, you are doing so under penalty of perjury. This means that you are telling the court that all of your information is accurate to the best of your knowledge. Deliberately lying on your bankruptcy petition, omitting information, or hiding assets is against federal law. If you lie on your bankruptcy petition, you risk losing your discharge and being prosecuted criminally for bankruptcy fraud.

Fix Your Mistake When You First Discover It

If you realize that you made a mistake on your bankruptcy petition, correct it immediately. In most cases, you can fix your mistake by filing a simple amendment with the court and serving it on your creditors and the trustee. However, each bankruptcy court has its own unique forms that must be used when amending a bankruptcy. As a result, it is a good idea to check the procedures in your local bankruptcy court.

Inform the Trustee of Your Mistake at Your Meeting of Creditors

The bankruptcy trustee’s job is to examine you under oath about the information contained in your bankruptcy papers. Just like your bankruptcy petition, your testimony at the meeting of creditors is under penalty of perjury. As a result, you should never lie to the bankruptcy trustee.

One of the first questions the trustee will ask you is whether everything in your bankruptcy papers is true and correct or if you need to make any changes or corrections. If you have not yet corrected your mistake, this is when you should tell the trustee that you need to amend your bankruptcy. However, even if you already filed an amendment, it is a good idea to let the trustee know that you made a correction to your petition in case he or she has not had the opportunity to review it.

What If You Discover a Mistake After Your Meeting of Creditors?

If you don’t notice your mistake until after your meeting of creditors, you still need to amend your bankruptcy petition. As discussed, follow the rules of your local bankruptcy court when amending your bankruptcy. Once the trustee has reviewed your amendment, he or she may decide to set another hearing to ask you further questions if necessary.

Additional Information

For more information on the bankruptcy process, see Bankruptcy Filing and Procedure. Or, to locate a bankruptcy attorney in your geographic area, visit Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

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