A New York bankruptcy can give you the fresh start that you need-if you don’t conduct yourself improperly prior to filing. There are certain actions and omissions that can have an irreversible impact on the success of your bankruptcy and prevent you from being successfully discharged or even able to file in the first place.

Below is a list of the more common issues that can have a negative effect on your filing.

  • Keep your checking and savings accounts at a bank that usually freezes the accounts of bankruptcy filers. Even if you don’t owe money to this particular bank, it could still happen, causing you to temporarily lose access to your funds. Exempting those accounts could take up to 60 days.
  • Failing to disclose all of your assets. By definition, this can include gifts you acquired for others but forgot to transfer out of your own name, such as a car you purchased for your son or a house you bought for your newlywed daughter.
  • Paying off debts to family members before filing for bankruptcy. You may be embarrassed about your financial troubles and don’t want your family to know that you intend to file, so you pay off any debts to them before seeing a bankruptcy attorney. New York law, however, requires you to treat family members like any other creditor. Preferential treatment can cause serious problems.
  • Giving away, selling, or transferring ownership of your assets before you file. You could be charged with bankruptcy fraud if you attempt to reduce the number of assets you own before filing. It is important that you avoid transfers of any kind for at least six months beforehand or, at the very least, have acceptable explanations for doing so.
  • Acquiring more debt before filing. Some people assume that since they’re going to eliminate a certain credit card debt (for example) in bankruptcy, they might as well max it out. Such a move is fraudulent and could prevent you from being allowed to file. At the very least, the debt you accrued might not be discharged, leaving you responsible for it.
  • Failing to file your tax returns. If you did not file your tax returns for at least two years before filing for bankruptcy, it will bring the process to a halt. These returns are necessary for completing the documents required to file, so that the trustee knows your past income as well as any tax-related claims you may be subject to.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, then a New York bankruptcy attorney can assist you by explaining which chapter (7 or 13) is more suitable for your circumstances, advise you on how to conduct yourself prior to filing, and help you make the choices that protect the assets you value the most. This way, your financial future can be considerably brighter. To get a fresh start through bankruptcy, set up a free in-person initial consultation with Jayson Lutzky. He is an attorney with more than 33 years of experience practicing law in New York State. Call his office at 718-514-6619 to set up your appointment or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com today.