A Bankruptcy Exemption Planning Basic

The most elemental exemption planning tool is to save exempt assets while consuming non exempt assets. It doesn’t require last minute transfers or fundamental alterations in the way assets are held.  It simply requires attention to which pocket the debtor pays bills from. Clients who receive Social Security, disability, or other forms of income that […]

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 […]

Bankruptcy Estate & The Realtor’s Open Escrow

How can bankruptcy trustee’s demand the debtor’s real estate commission from  escrows open when the bankruptcy case is filed? Twice this month, I’ve watched debtors and their counsel surprised by the turnover demand of Chapter 7 trustees for the proceeds of a real estate transaction pending when the case commencement, but closing weeks after the […]

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 […]

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, […]