Protect Assets before Filing for Bankruptcy

Before a Geraci law attorney files a case, we analyze the client’s assets, and whether those assets are “exempt” from creditors or not. Read more to see protection that could help you! Need to review your options? Call 800 CALL PFG for a free consult or set online @ https://www.infotapes.com/Bankruptcy/OfficeLocator

Below is an article written by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci titled, “Protect Assets before Filing for Bankruptcy.” This focuses on rent prepayment as allowable in some states to protect otherwise exposed case from creditors. Read more articles by Attorney Geraci at https://www.infotapes.com/Articles

Before a Geraci law attorney files a bankruptcy for a client, we always analyze the client’s assets, and whether those assets are “exempt” from creditors or not. Each state has laws called exemption laws. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code also has exemption provisions. These exemptions state what property is “exempt” from attachment and liquidation by your creditors.

Exemption planning is perfectly permissible! One way to claim an exemption is to convert “non-exempt” property into “exempt” property. This should NOT be done to hide money from creditors, or without the advice of an attorney, but some “exemption planning” has been approved by both state courts and bankruptcy courts. “Homestead” exemptions are usually thought of as protecting real estate, but in some states, when filing an Illinois bankruptcy or an Indiana bankruptcy, personal property such as a trailer used for a residence, or prepaid rent, are permissible exemptions under those states “Homestead Exemptions”.

In some states, such as Florida, exemption planning is forbidden when it comes to personal property. :

Florida Statute 222.30  Fraudulent asset conversions.— (1) As used in this section, “conversion” means every mode, direct or indirect, absolute or conditional, of changing or disposing of an asset, such that the products or proceeds of the asset become immune or exempt by law from claims of creditors of the debtor and the products or proceeds of the asset remain property of the debtor. The definitions of chapter 726 apply to this section unless the application of a definition would be unreasonable.

(2) Any conversion by a debtor of an asset that results in the proceeds of the asset becoming exempt by law from the claims of a creditor of the debtor is a fraudulent asset conversion as to the creditor, whether the creditor’s claim to the asset arose before or after the conversion of the asset, if the debtor made the conversion with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud the creditor.

There has to be the requisite intent. “[A] debtor can convert non-exempt assets to exempt unless he is motivated to make such a conversion by an actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud his creditors.” In re Jennings, 522 F.3d 1333 (11th Cir. 2008)

But if you are lucky enough to own real estate, or a trailer, that is your primary residence in Florida, (your “homestead”) you CAN transfer cash or sell that $40,000 classic car that would be taken in a bankruptcy, and pay down your mortgage on your homestead property. FLA does not have a blanket prohibition against exemption planning.

1.      222.30 does not apply to the homestead in FL. See Havoco of Am. Ltd. v. Hill, 790 So.2d 1018 (Fla. 2001) and In re Chauncey, 454 F.3d 1292 (11th Cir. 2006)

 2.      There has to be the requisite intent. “[A] debtor can convert non-exempt assets to exempt unless he is motivated to make such a conversion by an actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud his creditors.” In re Jennings, 522 F.3d 1333 (11th Cir. 2008)

So, in Illinois and Indiana Geraci Law lawyers think about renters: Is there a homestead exemption for prepaid rent or security deposit?

Illinois     Yes – 735 ILCS 5/12 901

Indiana      Yes – IC 34-55-10-2(c)(1)

Wisconsin   No for homestead, but  Yes under wildcard

FL     No for homestead Florida Constitution Article 10 § 4 and Florida Statutes Annotated § 222.01 through § 222.05 but yes under wildcard

US    Yes, arguably because same language as Illinois and Indiana

Illinois: 735 ILCS 5/12 901: Every individual is entitled to an estate of homestead to the extent in value of $15,000 of his or her interest in a farm or lot of land and buildings thereon, a condominium, or personal property, owned or rightly possessed by lease or otherwise and occupied by him or her as a residence, or in a cooperative that owns property that the individual uses as a residence.

Indiana: IC 34-55-10-2(c)(1): Real estate or personal property constituting the personal or family residence of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor, or estates or rights in that real estate or personal property, of not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000). The exemption under this subdivision is individually available to joint debtors concerning property held by them as tenants by the entireties.

Florida: 222.05  Setting apart leasehold. Mobile home on leased land is exempt.

Federal: 11 U.S.C. (d) The following property may be exempted under subsection (b)(2) of this section:

(1) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $15,000 [$20,200 effective 4-1-07. Adjusted every 3 years by section 104.] in value, in real property or personal property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, in a cooperative that owns property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, or in a burial plot for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.

 Wisconsin 990.01 (14)  Homestead exemption. “Exempt homestead” means the dwelling, including a building, condominium, mobile home, manufactured home, house trailer or cooperative or an unincorporated cooperative association, and so much of the land surrounding it as is reasonably necessary for its use as a home, but not less than 0.25 acre, if available, and not exceeding 40 acres, within the limitation as to value under s. 815.20, except as to liens attaching or rights of devisees or heirs of persons dying before the effective date of any increase of that limitation as to value.

ANALYSIS:

Illinois: By plain language, a debtor’s interest in a lease can be claimed as homestead as long as they are living there.

Indiana: Under IN law, a leasehold can be considered an interest in real property or an interest in personal property, but the exemption applies regardless. See In re Coffey, 339 B.R. 689 (Bankr. N.D. Ind 2006)

Federal: debtor’s interest in real or personal property used as a residence under homestead: also can be exempt under federal wildcard

Florida: Homestead is principal residence, must be real estate of something live in on land, like a trail that is owned, whether on land owned or leased. But exemption planning adding to homestead is allowed and can be exempted.

Wisconsin: Prepaid rent can’t be exempted under Homestead definition limited to “the dwelling” no language like Illinois and Wisconsin.

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Happy Thanksgiving from Geraci Law!

Have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving from All at Geraci Law. If you need us, call us at 800 CALL PFG (800.225.5734).

Have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving from All at Geraci Law. If you need us, call us at 800 CALL PFG (800.225.5734) We are open on Friday and Saturday for calls.

Great information at www.infotapes.com – you can learn about Geraci Law, bankruptcy, debt consolidation, and MORE!

New Infotapes are released – check them out at here!

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

More NEW Infotapes Available!

Attorney Peter Francis Geraci recorded NEW Infotapes available to watch at http://peterfrancisgeraci.com/Infotapes.html! You can learn about debt and your bankruptcy options.

Attorney Peter Francis Geraci recorded NEW Infotapes available to watch at http://peterfrancisgeraci.com/Infotapes.html! You can learn about debt and your bankruptcy options. Geraci Law’s motto is helping clients change their lives for the better.

Plus – who does not love the Infotapes? Now you can see the Infotapes live with host PFG! New Infotapes cover topics including:

-Can You File Bankruptcy Without Your Spouse?

-How Does Bankruptcy Filing Work?

-What Problems Can Bankruptcy Solve?

-Homes & Bankruptcy

-Governmental Fines, Uninsured Accidents, or Driver License Suspensions in Bankruptcy

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

When should you file bankruptcy if you lose your job?

That depends on where you lost it! Google Bobcat Goldthwaite “I lost my job. No, I didn’t really lose my job. I know it is still there.. It’s just, when I go there, there’s this new guy doing it!”

Below is one article written by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci. Read more at https://www.infotapes.com/Articles. You can find more information about bankruptcy, debt settlement, links to job fairs. Just need to talk? We’re here – call us at 800 CALL PFG.

Should you file bankruptcy if you lose your job?

That depends on where you lost it! Google Bobcat Goldthwaite “I lost my job. No, I didn’t really lose my job. I know it is still there.. It’s just, when I go there, there’s this new guy doing it!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rITk6utJvRY

There are over 50 ways to lose your job. Here’s the most popular, and if you should consider filing bankruptcy:

·        I got fired yesterday     

NO. Don’t call us if you got fired yesterday. Chill.

·        I am on unemployment                      

Maybe.

·        I got hurt on the job                            

Maybe. You need expert advice if hurt on job!

·        Accident not at work                          

Maybe. Depends on a lot of factors

·        Short term disability                           

Probably best to wait.

·        Long term disability                            

Maybe, if permanent and income loss permanent.

·        I will be getting back to work             

Maybe. Is pay going to be higher, lower or same?

So, it really depends on why you are not working, will it be temporary or permanent, and also on exactly what kind of debt problem you have. For example:

Hurt on job?  We file a lot of Chapter 7 cases to eliminate debt when there is a workers compensation claim. We can represent you in the Workers Comp claim, and also in either a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and make sure you keep 100% of your workers comp settlement, while you eliminate or manage your other bills.

Just got fired? We recommend that you WAIT until you get back to work. Apply for unemployment, and get back to work. Don’t panic. Pay your regular living expenses, don’t pay any creditors until you get back to work. They can’t garnish your paycheck, can they? When you get back to work, we can see if Chapter 7 or 13 will manage your debt.  

While you are unemployed, you can file a Chapter 7 case, but you are prohibited from filing under Chapter 13 unless you have a regular source of income.

It may be to your benefit, especially if you usually earn $45,000 yearly, or more, to file a Chapter 7 before you get back to work. This is because there is an income test in Chapter 7 cases, meaning you can have too much income to do a Chapter 7. This usually comes into play over $45,000, in urban areas like Chicago. If you are not a higher income person, this timing is not so important.

But, you may not want to not file a Chapter 7 case unless you are already back to work, for several reasons. First, your bad luck may not be at an end. If you are out of work, you probably don’t have medical insurance. If you become ill after you have filed a bankruptcy, and run up a bunch of medical bills, you will have to pay them, because you will have used up your chance to do a bankruptcy already. Secondly, if you are not working, your money is short, and if you fall behind in your rent or utilities, or your car insurance lapses because you didn’t pay it and you wreck your car, you will have already used up your 6 year chance to file a bankruptcy and start fresh. Thirdly, when you aren’t working, no one can garnish your wages, and you probably don’t have any savings that they can attach, so what is the point of doing a bankruptcy until you are back to work?

The reason for doing a bankruptcy is to get a start fresh. You cannot start fresh if you are still out of a job. Once you return to work, a bankruptcy can be filed in as little as one day, to protect you from creditors, so wait until you are back to work to worry about getting rid of your bills. You may run up some more before that happens/ Or there may be a reason to file now!

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Helpful Links & Resources

Geraci Law updates our site constantly with useful tools about debt, budgeting and education.

Helpful Links & Resources

Geraci Law wants to be a resource to anyone in debt, learning how to budget or wanting to learn more about finances or bankruptcy. There’s a lot of information out there – go with the firm you know and trust.

Check out https://www.infotapes.com/Links for information. We are constantly updating with new links. If you have questions or need a listening ear, give us a call at 800 CALL PFG. It’s free!

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.