TOP TEN BANKRUPTCY MISTAKES
In earlier postings it has been discussed that bankruptcy relief is available to the honest debtor. In a recent unpublished case by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this concept was illustrated. The debtor, a businessman obtained significant loans based upon personal financial statements which were untrue. The Bankruptcy Court denied discharge, as to the defrauded creditor, and the Court of Appeals affirmed (agreed with) that decision. The Court of Appeals analysis, in part, follows:
The principal purpose of the Bankruptcy Code is to afford a “fresh start” to the “honest but unfortunate debtor.” Grogan v. Garner, 498 U.S. 279, 286-87 (1991). The discharge of prepetition debts provided under § 727(b) and the discharge injunction of § 524(a) effectuate the debtor’s fresh start. See Green v. Welsh, 956 F.2d 30, 33 (3d Cir. 1992).
(“The protection afforded by the discharge injunction… furthers one of the primary purposes of the Bankruptcy Code – that the debtor have the opportunity to make a financial fresh start.”). Some debts, however, are “nondischargeable,” such that the debtor’s liability continues even after emerging from bankruptcy protection. Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code specifies these exceptions, which include, among others, debt obtained through fraud. Section 523(a)(2)(B) addresses debt obtained by certain false statements in writing.
For a debt to be nondischargeable under § 523(a)(2)(B), four conditions must be met: the debtor must have sought “money, property, services, or an extension, renewal, or refinancing of credit” by use of a writing (1) “that is materially false;” (2) concerning “the debtor’s or an insider’s financial condition;” (3) “on which the creditor… reasonably relied; and” (4) “that the debtor caused to be made or published with intent to deceive…” 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2).
Make sure to discuss with your attorney candidly any skeletons which may be in your closet. In the attorney-client relationship all conversations are privileged and confidential. Your attorney can not effectively counsel or represent you when you are not forth coming with all information, pro and con. There are other kinds of misconduct that may also result in denial of a discharge for obtained debt.
[Guy Vining, a bankruptcy attorney, in metro-Detroit, maintains his office in Taylor, Michigan, where he serves the downriver communities of Monroe, South Rockwood, Gibraltar, Brownstown Township, Grosse Ile, Woodhaven, Trenton, Southgate, Riverview, Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Wayne, and Ecorse. If you or a family member of friend would like a no-obligation no cost consultation/financial analysis, just call or E-mail Guy Vining of Vining Law Group, P.L.C to schedule a meeting.]