Many a wary debtor find themselves embroiled in problems in their bankruptcy cases when they hire a bankruptcy petition preparer, incompetent attorney, or go it alone ‘Pro Se’ in preparing and filing their own bankruptcy case. Why? The reason is Judicial Admissions. You would think that bankruptcy is a simple process to discharge your debts, but consumers and practitioners alike are overwhelmed with so much misinformation it’s making my head dizzy.
When you sign your bankruptcy papers, you’re signing under penalty of perjury that you have told the truth and admitted all of your assets and your debts. Your bankruptcy papers are deemed admissions under the Federal Rules of Evidence, which are used in federal bankruptcy court. See FRE 801(d)(2).
In a prior article, “Judicial Estoppel: Why You Should Disclose All Your Assets, Claims and Debts,” I discussed the reason for disclosing assets and debts to protect your legal rights to sue later. Here, we’re adding to that conversation and protecting your legal rights against creditors from trying to stop their particular debt from being discharged or from the court allowing your petition papers to establish standing just because you listed that particular creditor even though you’re disputing that debt.
The solution lies in the details. You can file bankruptcy without an attorney, but why would you when your financial freedom is at stake? Mistakes made on your bankruptcy papers can cause assets to be exposed to the trustee’s taking, cases where you might collect can be dismissed on judicial estoppel, you expose yourself to potential criminal fraud charges, and could be liable for debts that would have otherwise been discharged.