Basics of the Bankruptcy Schedules
As you go through the bankruptcy preparation process, you'll hear a lot about the bankruptcy schedules. Not a timeline of how the bankruptcy will progress, but rather like the schedules you might add to your tax return if you own a business or have a lot of medical expenses.
You may be surprised at the amount of paperwork you'll have to file in a bankruptcy case. You'll provide information on all aspects of your financial life, from debts to property, income to expenses. The schedules are a portion of the required paperwork.
The bankruptcy schedules are actually a series of documents that every debtor (the person filing the bankruptcy case) prepares and files with the bankruptcy court. Together they form a snapshot of your financial circumstances on the day you file your case. These crucial documents form the backbone of the case.
Bankruptcy Schedule A/B, Official Form 106 A/B, requires that you list all of your real property and all your personal property.
Real property means land, houses, and buildings. You must list the physical address of your real property, for example, 123 Elm Street, Pretendville, Pretend State 55555. You must also state the value of the real property and the amount of any secured claim, meaning any lien against the property—this includes your mortgage.
Finally, you must state how the property is legally held. Do you have an interest in it with other people who aren't filing bankruptcy? Do you have a partial or less than a full ownership interest in it? For example, you have a life estate—the right to live on the property for your lifetime, but not the right to sell it.
It would not be an understatement to say that you must list all your personal property, everything you own that is not real estate, on Schedule A/B. In fact, you are supposed to list every knick-knack, washcloth, and can of soup. But, in reality, no one goes that far! The categories guide you so that you can think about what sort of property you have.
Remember to include even intangible property, such as stocks and retirement plans. You must also state the value of the property.
Schedule C, Official Form 106C, is where you make your claims of exemption. Essentially, you must write down what exemption law permits you to keep your various real and personal property. Any property that has value and is not exempted can be seized and sold by the bankruptcy trustee in Chapter 7.
It is best to consult an attorney regarding your claims of exemption as this schedule can be very complicated to complete, and making a mistake can have disastrous consequences.
Schedule D, Official Form 106D, requires you to list all of your creditors that hold secured claims. A secured claim is when a creditor has an interest in your property. This property is called collateral.
For example, when you purchase a house with a loan from a mortgage company, the mortgage company obtains a lien on your house, the collateral. Therefore, a mortgage company has a secured claim against you.
You must list the creditor’s name, address when the debt was incurred, the amount of the debt, and the amount of the debt that is unsecured. The unsecured portion is determined by subtracting the value of the collateral from the amount of the total debt.
Schedule E/F, Official Form 106E/F, requires you to list all of your unsecured creditors, including those with priority, like taxes and domestic support obligations, and those that are non-priority, like credit cards and medical bills. You're even required to list personal loans from friends and relatives.
Schedule G, Official Form 106G, lists all your executory contracts and unexpired leases. An executory contract is one that is partially unperformed, such as if you have paid an artist to paint your portrait, but the artist has yet to actually create the art. List each unexpired contract and lease, including the names and addresses of all involved parties. You must also describe the nature of the contract or lease.
Schedule H, Official Form 106H, refers to any co-debtors that you may have. In this schedule, list any individuals or companies that are also liable on any of the debt that you have listed in your schedules. For example, if only you are filing for bankruptcy, you should list your spouse as a co-debtor, if she or he is liable on any of your debts.
Schedule I, Official Form 106I, sets forth all of your income.
Schedule J, Official Form 106J, is a list of your monthly expenses.
Statement of Financial Affairs
Statement of Financial Affairs, Official Form 107, and other forms, like the "Means Test." Although not schedules per se, they are integral to your filing. The Statement of Financial Affairs is a list of questions that cover your financial dealings over the period two years, including whether you have transferred any property, suffered losses, hold any bank accounts or safe deposit boxes, marital status, lawsuits, etc.
The "Means Test" is a calculation that takes into account your income and expenses, as compared to others in your state, to determine if you qualify for a Chapter 7 straight bankruptcy case.
In addition, your local bankruptcy court might have additional forms for you to file.