Can I file bankruptcy for someone using a power of attorney?

28 Jan Can I file bankruptcy for someone using a power of attorney?

Sometimes, our clients are sick, elderly or infirm. Sometimes, they are mentally ill. Or out of the country. The law recognizes the right to act through a power of attorney. The Bankruptcy Rules also recognize the right to act through a power of attorney.

If you plan to file a bankruptcy case on behalf of somebody else utilizing a power of attorney, you’ll want to do some advance planning.

  • Be sure that the power of attorney you have or get is appropriate and acceptable for your state. State law governs the legal effect of a power of attorney. You look to the law of the state where the power of attorney is given
  • Be sure that the power of attorney specifically authorizes the person to whom it is given to file a bankruptcy case on behalf of the person who gave it.
  • Make sure your attorney checks with the United States Trustee in your area to see if there are any special local policies.
  • When the case is assigned to a panel bankruptcy trustee, make sure your attorney contacts him or her in advance to make sure the meeting goes smoothly and to be sure that all questions are addressed in advance

A bankruptcy trustee will want identification and social security information for both the debtor and the person who is exercising the power of attorney. So be sure that this is accomplished. Sometimes, a remote video through Skype or something similar will satisfy any concerns the trustee may have.

Bankruptcy cases through people exercising powers of attorney are possible but tricky. Plan in advance and you’ll be able to accomplish your objectives for those unable to speak for themselves.

Lakelaw represents people in bankruptcy cases in Illinois and Wisconsin. Call us at 1 866 LAKELAW (525-5329).

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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