How to fill out schedule A of a bankruptcy petition

The heart of any voluntary bankruptcy petition are the schedules attached to the petition itself — they are lettered from A to H, and each require a debtor to provide crucial information about himself and the case.

The starting point, of course, is Schedule A, which contains a large blank space for listing “real” property. Unless you are an attorney, this is what you probably are use to calling real estate. Any interest in real estate that a debtor has needs to be listed here.

Many debtors have no real estate. They can check the box at the top of the form marked “none,” turn the page, and move on.

Many other debtors own a single piece of real estate — the home that they live in. Whether its a farm or a condo or something in-between, this is the place that it gets listed.

After the description of the property come the kicker — the box where the “current value of the property without deducting any secured claim or exemption” is declared. This should be the full current value of the property. You should be able to support the value declared here with some form of estimate or appraisal when asked by the trustee at your creditor’s meeting.

The final column requires you to list the “amount of secured claim.” This should be the payoff balances of any outstanding mortgages, added together. If you own the property free and clear, this can be left blank.

Notice that there is no space on schedule A for declaring real estate exempt from attachment. This is important, because individuals filing for bankruptcy get generous exemptions if they have equity in their primary home — up to $500,000 per person in Massachusetts, and up to $100,000 per person in New Hampshire.

But exemptions aren’t listed on schedule A — they will come a little later on schedule C!


By Doug Beaton

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