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Ellen
Ellen, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 36714
Experience:  Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
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A debtor has such poor records that they cannot make a detailed

Resolved Question:

A debtor has such poor records that they cannot make a detailed list of all their debts. Because of this, the bankruptcy attorney is going to use the credit report to try and figure out what debts to list for discharge in the debtor's Chapter 7. The problem with the credit report is that (1) it does not list nature of the debt or the date is was incurred, (2) some of the accounts listed have been sold or are being handled by credit agencies so that the the actual or original creditor might not be notified, and (3) some of the account balances and account numbers might not be accurate because the accounts have not been reported for a couple of years.

How diligent must the attorney be in this situation - can he simply go off of the credit report to list the debts for discharge, or must he call the creditors to verify accuracy, etc.? My concern is that if the credit report is not accurate, a creditor might not be properly notified and thus the debtor would still be liable for a listed debt.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Ellen replied 5 years ago.

WebLaw :

*Due to rules of your state bar or mine, nothing herein is intended as legal advice, only intended as general information to better help yourself.*

WebLaw :

Welcome to JustAnswer,

So sorry to hear of this dilemma. If my answer is not clear to you or does not fully answer your question, please ask me for clarification by using the reply button.

WebLaw :

Typically in such a situation the attorney would use the credit report augmented by whatever records the debtor has. The nature of the debt is typically obvious from the credit report – for example credit card debt can be listed as "consumer debt". It is not usually critical if an account number is XXXXX correct - stipulated debt would be discharged. Any debts that have been omitted may be added at a later date by reopening the bankruptcy case.

WebLaw :


Please use the REPLY button if you have any questions concerning my answer. Otherwise please click ACCEPT so that I am paid by the site for answering.

Customer:

Thank you for your quick response. So even inaccuracies such as an account balance would be ok? A listed debt might be so inaccurate that a future credtior who bought the debt might dispute the discharge - is that possible? How would something like that be handle if a new creditor came started going after the debtor several years later, for example?

WebLaw :

So even inaccuracies such as an account balance would be ok? Correct - The account balance is almost never accurate for many reasons including accumulating interest and late fees

WebLaw :

A listed debt might be so inaccurate that a future credtior who bought the debt might dispute the discharge - is that possible? How would something like that be handle if a new creditor came started going after the debtor several years later, for example? - In such an event the debtor would be required to reopen the bankruptcy for purposes of adding the creditor

WebLaw :

Remember the debtor himself can and should take action to discover all debts

Customer:

So regarding attorney liability if creditors try to sue the debtor after Chapter 7 is filed, an attorney is not required to call creditors and verify balances, account numbers and creditor addresses before filing Chapter 7? Going off the CBR and information provided by the debtor is good enough?

WebLaw :

I would like to clarify that it is the debtors responsibility to assure that all debts are listed in the bankruptcy petition. It is not the attorneys responsibility nor within his typical scope of representation to call creditors to obtain or verify information

Customer:

Thank you! Have a good night.

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