Occasionally, something will come up after I have filed a client’s case that requires me to amend her bankruptcy petition. Sometimes, my client will notice something after we have filed. Sometimes, there has been a change in circumstances that needs to be reflected in their petition. Fortunately, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure allow your bankruptcy attorney to amend your petition at any time before your case is closed without permission of the court. If your attorney has to make a change after your case has been closed, she will have to ask the court’s permission.
Rule 1009(a) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure states:
General Right to Amend. A voluntary petition, list, schedule, or statement may be amended by the debtor as a matter of course at any time before the case is closed. The debtor shall give notice of the amendment to the trustee and to any entity affected thereby. On motion of a party in interest, after notice and a hearing, the court may order any voluntary petition, list, schedule, or statement to be amended and the clerk shall give notice of the amendment to entities designated by the court.
If you notice something on your petition that needs to be changed, you should let your attorney know immediately. Depending on the change, she might charge you to prepare an amendment. And certain amendments, like adding a creditor, will probably cost you an extra court fee. Make sure you read and re-read your petition before you sign it. Ultimately, you are the one responsible for what’s in there.