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Bankruptcy Petition Drafting Tips for Schedule A

The information contained in this article is solely intended to increase the skills of paralegals and other legal staff who are employed virtually or non-virtually by bankruptcy attorneys. This information is NOT taught in any law school or paralegal training course.

1. If the county courthouse where the debtor(s) are filing bankruptcy is online, you will need to run a Lien Search for every piece of real estate the debtor(s) own. The lienholder information will also tell you if there are any foreclosures or judgment liens on the property which will need to be added to the debt sheets and/or asset pages.

2. If the debtor(s) are behind in their mortgage payments be sure to alert the attorney at once. If the debtor(s) are filing a Chapter 7 they may be required to catch up all the back payments before their bankruptcy can be discharged. If the debtor(s) are filing a Chapter 13, the back payments (also known as “arrears”) will need to be included inside the Chapter 13 plan so they can be paid in full.

3. To determine how many months are left to pay off a secure debt, divide the regular monthly payment by the total balance still owed. For example: $45,000 is the total balance owed. The monthly payment is $1,200. Therefore, $45,000 divided by $1,200 = 37.5. Round up the number to 38 and this is number of months you enter into your bankruptcy software on Schedule A under the FORM 22 MEANS TEST tab.

4. Be sure to check the Appraisal Date for any piece of real estate. If the property has not been appraised within the last 12 months you should alert your attorney at once. Your attorney may order the debtor(s) to get an appraisal or the attorney may direct you to call a real estate agent and get the appraisal. In the meantime, make a note on your Attorney Cover Sheet to let the attorney know the amount will need to be changed to a more current market value when it is obtained from the appraiser.

5. Make sure you notice the Type of real estate the property is. Do not assume real estate is the home the debtor(s) reside in. For example, if the real estate is rental property, that property normally generates a rental income for the debtor(s). This information MUST be included as additional income under Item #1 of the Statement of Affairs as well as on Schedule I of the bankruptcy petition.

6. If the debtor(s) own a mobile home, make sure you find out if the mobile home has had the wheels removed or not. If so, the mobile home should be listed as real property on Schedule A. If not, the mobile home is recorded in the same manner as other Motor Vehicles on Schedule B.

7. On the Date Incurred line within your bankruptcy software make sure you include the Monthly Payment and the total amount of monthly Arrearages. This information will ultimately appear on Schedule D when the bankruptcy petition is completed.

Here is an example: 10/2003, Mnthly Pymt = $960.55, Arrears: 2 mnths

Including this information for every secure debt will enable you to have the information available when completing the Means Test as well as if the debtor(s) become a Chapter 13. Additionally, including the monthly payment and arrearage information will also enable the debt to be easily cross-referenced and identified. For example, a mortgage payment of $960.55 will also appear under the monthly expenses of Schedule J as well as under Item 3(a) of the Statement of Affairs if the debtor(s) have made payments within the last three (3) months.

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About the Author

Victoria Ring is a Certified Paralegal and Bankruptcy Specialist. She has developed an entire line of training products and holds several seminars per year in drafting bankruptcy petitions. Her training materials have been approved by NALS for 7 CLE credits. Additionally, Victoria Ring provides speaking and in-house training services for bankruptcy law firms. Visit her website at http://www.713training.com


This information is not to be used by non-attorneys to prepare bankruptcy petitions for the general public. The information is solely intended to train legal professionals working under the direction of licensed bankruptcy attorneys.

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