Many people ask me if they can choose what to include in their bankruptcy. The answer is, it depends. Yes, a bankruptcy filer is free to choose what they would like to do with secured assets. A Statement of Intention is required to be filed in Chapter 7 cases. This Statement of Intention is a form completed by the debtor that discloses to the court, the Trustee, and your creditors what you intend to do with your secured collateral such as your home or car. The Statement of Intention requires you to state whether 1) the property will be retain; or 2) surrendered.
If you choose to retain an asset then you must continue to pay for it. Notice will be given to the creditor of your intentions to retain and pay for the collateral. Alternatively, if you choose to surrender property the notice is given to the creditor and they are given notice of your intentions to surrender the property.
Secondly, when people ask: Can I choose what debts to list in my bankruptcy? No, you cannot choose to exclude certain assets or debts from being disclosed to the bankruptcy court. Failure to disclose all of your assets is a felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison. You cannot simply leave assets or debts off of your bankruptcy Schedules for personal benefit. But remember just because you disclose an asset on your bankruptcy schedules doesn’t mean that you will necessarily have to give them up.