Death and Bankruptcy Tag

13 Dec What’s a “community claim”? – One of a series

Wisconsin, not to mention quite a few of the states in the West and Southwest, recognizes "community property" between husband and wife.  Usually we think about "community property" in connection with a divorce and matrimonial proceedings. However, community property also brings us to a concept recognized in bankruptcy as community claims. This idea has a big impact in bankruptcy cases of married couples in community property states. The term community claim in bankruptcy means a right to payment for which community property could be held liable, whether or not there was any community property as of the commencement of the bankruptcy case. What in the world does that mean?   Well in order to figure this out, we need to think about whether the property of a debtor is community property under the Bankruptcy Code.  We look to state law to find this out. 
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12 Dec What kind of “claims” are there in bankruptcy? One of a series

People considering bankruptcy must tell their lawyer every claim that anyone has against them.  A claim is basically a right to payment.  Somebody who holds a claim is a "creditor". Claims can come in many varieties. Claims may be:
  • reduced to judgment or not
A judgment is a court order to pay money immediately to the creditor - who as a result of the judgment is called a "judgment creditor".  The debtor must also pay interest.  The judgment creditor has the right to use the courts to help collect the judgment.
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05 Mar Am I Responsible for the Debts of my Deceased Spouse or Other Relatives?

Losing a loved one can be very difficult, especially if your spouse or other loved one dies unexpectedly.  What happens to debts owed by the deceased after his or her death? Laws vary from State to State, but in many cases the departed's estate becomes responsible for outstanding debt.  However this does not necessarily mean that the deceased's next of kin will get nothing from the estate.  Many States have special provisions that allow the immediate next of kin to take money from the estate when that money is used for support and maintenance.  In Georgia, where I practice, this right is known as a "year's support" and can be a tremendous help to surviving relatives. If you are facing an unexpected financial crisis brought about by the death of a loved one, you should seek counsel before paying any debts owed by the deceased or his estate. What if your deceased relative has no assets to make up an estate?  In that case, a surviving spouse or child does not owe anything to creditors of the deceased. 
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