If you make a mistake or accidentally leave information out of your bankruptcy forms, you can almost always amend them after you file. The trustee in your bankruptcy case may also ask you to file an amendment after meeting with you in your 341 meeting. Be sure to fill out the amended forms carefully with the correct information and follow any local court rules to submit the amended forms. Most amended forms don't require a filing fee.
Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel.
Updated July 2, 2022
You can almost always amend your bankruptcy forms after filing your case. The most common scenarios for when you would do so are when adding information you accidentally forgot or fixing a mistake you discovered after filing. Amending bankruptcy forms is generally straightforward. Knowing how the process works can help you update your bankruptcy paperwork with the least disruption to your case.
What Are the Reasons To File an Amendment?
Many bankruptcy forms are required to file a bankruptcy case. Some of these forms are complex or can be confusing. It’s not uncommon for people to make mistakes or omissions on their bankruptcy paperwork when they first file their case. There are times when it’s necessary to update (amend) the forms.
You must file an amendment when:
there is a mistake or error in your bankruptcy forms, or
there is an omission, missing information, or information you forgot to include, or
your circumstances have significantly changed since you filed the case, or
the bankruptcy trustee asks you to file an amendment.
What Are My Bankruptcy Forms?
Your bankruptcy forms include a voluntary petition, schedules, and statements. You must submit the required forms to the bankruptcy court when you file for bankruptcy protection. The bankruptcy petition is the official form that identifies you and asks the court for relief under the bankruptcy code. The schedules include information about your assets, debts, creditors, income, expenses, and other financial details. There are different forms necessary when filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy but many of the schedules are the same.
Amending a Mistake, Omission, or Change in Circumstance
When you file your bankruptcy case you are declaring, under penalty of perjury, that all the information in your bankruptcy petition and schedules is true and correct to the best of your knowledge. If you notice something is incorrect or missing, you need to file amended schedules.
There can be consequences for intentionally filing incorrect paperwork, so it is always in your best interest to fully disclose all of your information to the best of your knowledge. It is very important to always fix any mistakes. If you don’t correct errors, the bankruptcy court may assume that you’re purposefully trying to hide information. Whereas filing amended forms show the court that you’re doing all you can to be honest and truthful.
Common mistakes that require an amendment to your bankruptcy form includes mistakes in your contact information or mistakes in the amount of your debts or to whom you owe. Common omissions include not adding all debts and liabilities, such as forgetting to include a creditor who is family or a friend or not adding a creditor who buys a debt, such as a collection agency. Changes in circumstance that warrant amended forms are major changes in your life or financial circumstances, such as a change of address or receiving a financial windfall, such as an inheritance.
There are a number of mistakes, omissions, or changes in circumstance that will warrant amending your bankruptcy forms. When in doubt, you can ask your bankruptcy attorney or contact the trustee administering your case.
When the Bankruptcy Trustee Asks You To File an Amendment
In rare situations, the bankruptcy trustee assigned to administer your case may ask you to file an amendment to your bankruptcy schedules. Usually this would happen because of something that comes up during the 341 meeting of creditors, which is the bankruptcy hearing that all filers must attend.
The trustee will ask if anything has changed since you filed your case. If any changes are significant, the trustee will ask you to file an amendment to your paperwork. Also, the trustee may ask a question that prompts you to remember information that you didn’t include in your paperwork. In these instances, if the omission is significant, the trustee will ask you to file an amendment in your case.
Generally, being asked to file an amendment by the trustee is not a big deal or a signal that something is going wrong in your bankruptcy case. The most important thing is to follow through and file any amendments or additional paperwork the trustee requires.
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How Do I Amend a Bankruptcy Form?
You will use the same forms to file an amendment as the original forms that you filed when you first filed your bankruptcy case. The difference is that you will mark “amended” on the form.
Your local bankruptcy court may have its own procedure on how to file an amendment. For example, some courts require a cover page to be filed along with the amended petition or schedules. You can find your local bankruptcy court’s webpage using the Federal Court Finder. If you need help with procedural questions, you can always call the court clerk. The number can be found on your local bankruptcy court’s webpage.
When you file an amendment, you are required to sign the form under penalty of perjury, just like when you filed your bankruptcy petition originally. Be as complete, truthful, and honest as possible in any amendment and your bankruptcy case should move forward without too much of a hiccup.
Once your amendment paperwork is complete, then you will file it with the bankruptcy court. You will need to serve a copy of the amendment on the trustee assigned to your case and any affected creditors. You’ll need to also file a certificate of service with the court to let them know who you served. This allows the court to check and make sure you served all necessary parties.
How Much Does it Cost to Amend Bankruptcy Forms?
There is no filing fee to file an amendment to most forms. If you are filing an amendment to your schedule of creditors or list of creditors, then there is a $32.00 filing fee. The fee must be paid at the time the amendment is filed. If you cannot afford the additional fee, you can request a fee waiver. Your local bankruptcy court may have a form that can be used to request a fee waiver.
When is Filing an Amendment Not Allowed?
You’re not allowed to file an amendment in the case of bad faith. For example, if you intentionally left an asset off of your bankruptcy petition because you were trying to hide it, then that’s considered bad faith and you’re not allowed to amend your schedule to list the asset and try to protect it through bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy rules allow you to file an amendment to your bankruptcy forms any time before you receive your final discharge. If for some reason you need to file an amendment after your discharge, then you will have to ask permission from the court. Further, if you need to file an amendment to your bankruptcy paperwork after your cases is closed, which happens shortly after discharge, then you must ask the court to re-open your case as well as ask for permission to file amended forms. Such a situation is rare and most filers become aware of amendments they need to file well before discharge is entered.
Bankruptcy paperwork is complicated. Mistakes happen and forgetting to add something or needing to make a change may happen. Needing to file an amendment is fairly common and should not be any cause for alarm. Be certain that you’re amending the right forms and following the local rules so that your case can continue on its way to a successful discharge.