Many times people filing bankruptcy wonder whether they need to list and put a value on things like clothing, old furniture, and costume jewelry. Who could possibly want them? They have no real value.

I have various answers, but they all boil down to the fact that no matter what its value, what you own is an asset, and it must be disclosed.

A bankruptcy petition is a written statement made under oath, and failure to disclose something is at the very best embarrassing and at the very worst a felony that could lose you your discharge.

Trustees Know What Assets People Have!

Bankruptcy trustees look for completeness in disclosure, not just value in assets. They know from experience the stuff people usualy have and expect to see it. A good friend of mine who is a trustee once said to me, "If the debtor isn't telling me everything about their household furnishings, what else aren't they telling me?"

He will ask a debtor, who did not list a car as an asset or a lease of one, "How did you get to the meeting today?" Or, as one trustee in South Carolina put it, to a debtor who did not list any clothing as an asset, "Were you naked when you signed the petition?"

Trustees Look for Realistic Value in Assets

Value must also make sense, even if it is on a distressed, yard sale basis. My trustee friend has also asked, "Are you really telling me that you own a 3,000 square foot house and only have $1,000 worth of furniture in it?"

Please bear in mind when you prepare your petition that thoroughness is very important. Disclose everything and make sure that nothing gets left out. The thing to remember is this: it matters not its value; it matters that you own it!

So What Do I Do?

Making sure you have a complete and accurate list of assets is only one of the many things you need to do to prepare a bankruptcy petition that will pass muster. Having an attorney to help you through the process will ensure that you don't miss anything!

If you live in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County and are considering filing bankruptcy, call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.

If you are looking for more information about bankruptcy, then download my free book,Top Questions People Ask About Filing Bankruptcy in New Jersey.

Not sure if bankruptcy is right for you? Take the quiz to the right to find out more!

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Steven J. Richardson
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