05 Sep Hidden Treasure and Bankruptcy
So, where might that hidden treasure be located. While we at Bankruptcy Law Network have repeatedly stressed the importance of listing all assets that you own (such as here). Sometimes, you may have a claim to property and not even know it.
One instance may be if you inherit property (that is, be entitled to receive property even though you may not actually receive the property) within 180 days after you file bankruptcy. If so, then the trustee will have a claim on this money or property. For most people, if there is any expected inheritance, it comes from their parents or other known family members. So, if a family member has passed on or may be expected to, this asset can be listed.
However, some family members will create an estate plan that may skip a generation or even two. You may run into what professionals in the estate planning community call the “laughing heir.” This is someone who may be related to the decedent but does not really know the decedent so as to be greived by the decedent’s passing. In fact, you may not even know that you are entitled to receive anything at all until the funds arrive.
Another particular item involves escheat property. Escheat property is something that you were entitled to receive but for some reason, the obligor, that is the person required to give you something, could not locate you. After a few attempts, the obligor will transfer the property over to the Unclaimed Property fund for a state. The state will maintain the property (and earn interest) while maintaining the property until the rightful owner claims it. You can access various websites that can be searched such as North Carolina’s here to see if you are entitled to any unclaimed or escheat property. If you do not check this prior to filing bankruptcy, the trustee may check it and make a claim for whatever you were entitled to receive.
These are just a couple of examples of property in which you would have an interest that, in bankruptcy, the trustee will now seek to use to pay your creditors.
Adrian Lapas, Esq.
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