“What Do You Mean You Included My Home/Car In the Bankruptcy?!”

08 Jun “What Do You Mean You Included My Home/Car In the Bankruptcy?!”

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Good bankruptcy attorneys spend a lot of time talking with their clients. They give them an awful lot of information. Sometimes clients forget.

One of the things clients sometimes forget is the requirement in the Bankruptcy Code thatallof their assets andallof their debtmustbe included in the bankruptcy filing. This includes things that they may want to keep, such as their home or their car. It includes debts that are current and will stay current, such as a mortgage or car loan. It means that if the client says, “I don’t want to include my home/car in the bankruptcy” we will always say, “You need to. But it doesn’t mean that you’ll lose it.”

Including your home and your mortgage or your car and your car loan in your bankruptcy does not mean that you’ll always lose it. The vast majority of my clients keep everything they own in a bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7, so long as your home has no (or minimal) equity or you can exempt any equity, and your payments are kept current on your mortgage, you keep your home. Your car is a bit more complex, due to “reaffirmation agreements” and “retain and pay.” There is a good discussion of this issue here.

In a Chapter 13 case, so long as your post-petition payments are kept current, you keep your home and car.

So including your home and your car isn’t a horrible thing. It’s a necessary thing.

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Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his law partner, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, and the Civil Justice Network. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007 for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and in 2011 received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, The United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.
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