Client Horror Story Contains An Asset Of The Bankruptcy Estate

Do you recognize your client’s tale of woe with prior professionals or not-so-professionals as signs of an incipient asset? A new bankruptcy lawyer was telling me about his client’s dealings with a loan modification lawyer he called a fraudster.  That relationship  resulted in a near foreclosure on the client’s home while the prior lawyer was […]

How Can Non-Bankruptcy Law Define The Estate?

Do you know whether an asset has an enforceable restriction on transfer that excludes it from the estate? The attorney for my clients in the last post certainly hadn’t mastered the holding in Patterson v. Shumate, where the Supreme Court decided what “applicable non bankruptcy law” meant in § 541(c)(2). He listed the clients’ state retirement […]

Bankruptcy Exemption Mistakes Feed Trustee Coffers

Bankruptcy lawyers who mess up claims of exemptions were the other target of the trustee’s attorney I spoke with earlier this week.  He rubbed his hands over attorneys who hadn’t collected enough information to understand the asset or who simply didn’t know that the homestead exemption didn’t apply to property other than the debtor’s residence. […]

Bankruptcy Exemptions: 10 Ways to Deal with Excess Cash

Bankruptcy lawyers occasionally are confronted with the client with more cash, or other marketable assets, worth more than the available exemptions to protect them. And state exemption systems often protect the darndest things, like a mule and a plow.  A milk cow.  The family bible. Those aren’t the things most of us are striving to […]

Exemptions & Property of the Estate

Sometimes, as an inexperienced bankruptcy lawyer,  it’s hard to get your head around the idea that your client can have an asset of substantial value and not need to exempt it when filing bankruptcy. That’s because only property of the estate is potentially available to pay the client’s creditors in a bankruptcy, and some assets, […]