Can I leave some creditors off of my bankruptcy?
No. Any creditor whom you owe a balance to must be listed on the petition.
Does this mean you should go pay off all the credit cards that you want to keep?
No. Even with a $0.00 balance the credit card companies will likely close your accounts once you file bankruptcy. Some creditors WILL let you keep your account but even if this is the case, you do not want to pay off any large balances right before filing for bankruptcy. If any creditor receives more than $600 in the 90 days prior to filing it is considered a preferential treatment, meaning that the trustee can request the money back from the creditor.
I owe $1000 to my Dad (any family member or friend). Can I pay him back right before I file bankruptcy?
No. As stated above, if you owe money to someone they are a creditor. The trustee and the Bankruptcy Court do not allow preferential payments. They do not like to see you pay Dad back, but not Visa for example. For this reason, any payments made to family members or friends in the past year before filing must be listed on the petition. You certainly do not want the trustee contact Dad to get the money back that you paid to him.
Does this mean I can never pay my Dad, or any family member or friend, back the money that I borrowed?
No. The bankruptcy wipes out your LEGAL liability to the creditors. However, you can choose to make VOLUNTARYpayments to certain creditors if you chose. Keep in mind this cannot be done until the bankruptcy case is closed.
I owe my Doctor money. Does this mean that I have to change doctors?
No. Similar to the voluntary payment to Dad described above, you can make voluntary payments to the doctor if they are requiring payment before using their services again. However, you will want to check with the doctor before making payments. A lot of times, they will wipe of your balance before the bankruptcy and let you start fresh with a new account.