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A lot of clients ask me if they have to list all of their credit cards and other debt in their bankruptcy.  Usually they are asking me this because there is a card they want to keep -  a card that has a low balance, or a gas card that they pay off each month.
 
The Bankruptcy Code requires that all debts be listed and at the bankruptcy meeting all debtors must attend, the Trustee is going to ask whether all debts were listed, and the answer by the debtor is given under oath.  If you say no, the Trustee is going to ask you amend your bankruptcy petition.  If you say yes, and that is not true, you are lying under oath.  If a credit card has a zero balance at the time you file, you don't have to list it, but you may have to list payments you have made on that credit card in the 90 days prior to you filing your bankruptcy.  However, paying off a credit card before you file, in the hopes that you can keep it, is not wise.  
 
Even if you don't list a credit card, most credit card companies and other creditors have authorization pursuant to their credit agreement with you to pull your credit.  Usually they pull it monthly.  When they see that you have filed bankruptcy, the vast majority of these creditors will close your account anyway - even if you did not list them on your bankruptcy.  And  if you have not listed them on your bankruptcy you will not be able to discharge the debt.
 
With some exceptions, all debts must be listed on your bankruptcy in order for them to be discharged, so if you have a balance on the card you should list it.
 
A few creditors may allow you to keep the card if you did not have a balance on it.  You are not required to list a card that has a zero balance on your petition.  However, you should NOT pay off a card prior to filing bankruptcy just to see if you can keep it because you could end up paying it off and still having the card canceled by the creditor when they see you filed bankruptcy.