Bankruptcy Law/Bankruptcy

Advertisement


Question
My wife and I have planned on filing for bankruptcy next year. We have major medical debt.  She lost her leg in a car wreck and I was in the ICU for 8 days with a blood clotting disorder.  We are in our 30's.  Unexpectedly, my father passed away this month.  He left life insurance in my name.  His home is paid for and there is no debt.  There is also a money market account.  My wife and I have lived in the home with my father and have helped care for him for the last two years. It worked out well for us because we were in so much debt.  My siblings are allowing me to purchase their part of my father's home.  They are giving me a very reasonable deal.  I'm using my part of the money market account and the life insurance he left in my name.  My brother lives very far out of state and does not want the family home. My sister does not want it either and has her future planned out that does not include living here. She has her own rented home with her fiance of five years.   My delima is if I use my small inheritance to purchase the home from my siblings will I still be able to file for bankruptcy???  My inheritance is very small and would not put a dent in what I owe for medical bills, credit cards, etc.  The home has been in my family for over 60 years. My father had it renovated about ten years ago and it's in very decent shape. It's a super modest home but it would be ours and I would work to make it nicer.  The neighborhood is not what is use to be but I would be a home owner without a mortgage and that would give my wife and I some security. Especially because of our health problems.  I don't want the home if it would be taken from me in just a year or so.   Please get back with me as soon as possible.  There was not a will so the home is going into probate but all of us three kids agree that I should be the homeowner.  We are not disputing anything. I just have not brought up my finical concerns with them or even the lawyer.  I'm ashamed and don't want them to know and even though I'm paying a 3rd of the lawyer I have not been able to meet him alone yet and ask him anything.  We have not paid the lawyer a penny yet.  None of the three of us have.  I love this home and I don't want to make any decisions that would ruin all that my father worked so hard for and loved.  I could not live with that shame.  Thank you in advance for a reply.

Answer
You need to meet with a local bankruptcy attorney to develop a strategy with the Alabama exemptions in mind -- that's a local (or state to state) matter I am not qualified to comment on from this remote distance.  You can find consumer-oriented bk attorneys at
www.nacba.org   which is our trade assn, only consumer debtor attorneys are allowed to join.

Many issues are buzzing around here that ifnot handled properly will bite you big time;  such as transferring money to relatives then filing bankruptcy;  how much of the house is exempt;  should you let the house go thru probate, make the deal with the siblings THEN file bk?  Probably so you can homestead it.

What is the house worth?  Does it have excess equity beyond the homestead?

Your local bk atty will be able to advise you on this;  do not delay in getting such advice.  Typically the first consultation is free for bankruptcy advice.  Deal with someone who has been in practice a while, too.

Good luck.

Bankruptcy Law

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


LEE HORNER, ESQ.

Expertise

Consumer bankruptcy questions invited. I've been filing Chapter 7, 11 and 13 cases since 1985 in Calif and Arizona. I do NOT do homework questions. Let me know what state you're located in when you write. My bankruptcy practice is limited to California and Arizona but inquiries from other states are welcome. Your local jurisdiction determines exemptions. Find more background information at our website, www.freshStartAz.info. Individual Chapter 11 and small business chapter 11 questions invited. We can also advise on the creditor's side if for example you have a fraud case, money judgment etc against someone who has filed (or is threatening) bankruptcy. We have filed and defended numerous adversary complaints in bankruptcy court and opposed trustees' demands for turnover of assets from time to time.

Experience

My partners and I have filed over 5000 consumer and small business cases to date in California and Arizona.

Organizations
I've been a member of the California bar since 1984 and Arizona since 2004; also a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, Bankruptcy section of the Arizona State Bar, Tucson Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, Arizona Consumer Bankruptcy Counsel and American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (AHEPA).

Publications
I've written a booklet on land trusts for real estate owners, players and dealers, and co-authored a special edition of "Stop Sitting on Your Assets". I was a writer of a monthly law review article relating to California real estate issues and pending and recently enacted legislation.

Education/Credentials
Attorney at law, experienced in trial procedures, adversary complaints filed and defended and numerous claims objection proceedings as well as filing cases for consumer and small business debtors.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.