Does Your Bankruptcy Discharge Expire?

by Eugene Melchionne, Esq.

March 11, 2007

Congratulations! You’ve completed your bankruptcy case and received a discharge. Now you can go on with your life.  Collection agencies are now perpetrating the lie that somehow the bankruptcy discharge expires or is limited in time.

Or can you?

Collectors have been known lately to tell people that bankruptcy is no longer available. We know that’s not true. Other collectors are attempting to collect what we are now calling “zombie debt“. This is a bill that seemly will not die. It is debt that has been discharged in a bankruptcy or is barred by the statute of limitations. Due to the practice of re-aging, this bill is being resold even though it is not legally collectible. See also: Zombie Debt Haunts the Discharged.

Somehow after a while, the discharge is no longer effective and you must now pay the debt. In one case, a collector told the relative of a discharged debtor who had recently died that the bankruptcy discharge expired on death and that relative was now required to pay the bill out of the probate estate.

Don’t you believe it! The bankruptcy discharge is permanent and complete. Unless the debt is reaffirmed or is secured debt that you are continuing to pay after the bankruptcy case, you have no obligation to pay this debt. Do not play into the collectors hands. Call a lawyer to cite the collector for contempt of the bankruptcy court order of discharge. This violation of various consumer statutes and the Bankruptcy Code could result in money for your pocket.

“ConnecticutGene Melchionne is a bankruptcy lawyer covering the entire State of Connecticut. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.

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Last modified: November 19, 2013