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Separate filings, and it's already messy....

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  • Separate filings, and it's already messy....

    I live in Texas. Grew up in Georgia.

    I separated/divorced a few years ago. Remarried 11 months ago. The basic summary of the divorce is that I lost my wardrobe (not just my shirt). The financial/property settlement boiled down to a home equity amount in exchange for a monthly CS obligation (it's there, but it's a wash with a monthly amt. the X owes me for the home equity, and I have a CS credit for another 8.5 years or so).

    Other financial nasties of divorce - credit card judgments and a repo - basically wrecked my credit history. I knew I would eventually need to file, but due to the damage already done, the fact that I was able to get out from under having to pay the mortgage (even though I'm not off the note), it just didn't seem as though there was a huge sense of urgency associated with filing bankruptcy. The biggest "ouch" these days is that the X is consistently 30 days late paying the house note (ie. he'll be paying January's note on/around the 16th of Feb, February's note on/around the 16th of March.....).

    Well, late in 2011, my new husband and I started discussing bankruptcy. The credit crisis bit him in that even though he was paying on time for a lot of 0% interest offers after purchasing a new home, creditors jacked up his interest rates because they didn't like his used to available credit ratio.

    We decided at the last minute to NOT include me on his bankruptcy, but that we would follow through on mine later this year. My Chap. 13 payments aren't going to be huge as I do not work, and haven't in 3 years. And while it might sound a little strange; the fact I did NOT file is actually good news that it wasn't a joint bankruptcy.

    Four days after hubby filed his bankruptcy, my father died. And we've learned in the past week or so that Dad left a little something to me (partial ownership in his house, which is shared between his widow, sis and I). I was aware that this was in his will. I was aware that his expectation was that his wife/widow pay off the house using life insurance proceeds. But when they were discussing this with me at Christmas, I had no idea he'd be dead two weeks later, much less the possible impact it could have on us in the bankruptcy court!


    Would an inheritance given to ME (not my husband, as hubby isn't named at ALL in Dad's will) be community or separate property in the state of TX? Bankruptcy atty. says community, yet everywhere I look on the internet, it says it's separate property (by gift or inheritance, and it as easily proven that it is inheritance by presenting a copy of Dad's will to anyone who might ask). Even if it is deemed separate, does my husband have to declare it to the trustee on his bankruptcy?

    On MY bankruptcy, it makes absolute sense to me that when I file, I will have to declare it as an asset (there's just NO way around it outside of renouncing the inheritance). However, considering it's a piece of property which is 3-ways co-owned, can the trustee demand that I liquidate this asset to pay Chap 13 payments? And how can or will they do that without impacting Dad's widow and my sister?

    I will NOT recognize any income from being a 1/3 owner (widow will remain there rent free, and an agreement will be drawn up which indicates her "rent" is being responsible for county taxes, insurance, maintenance and repair). At the time the widow dies, my sister and I will sell and split the proceeds, but that could be 25-30 years from now.

    Furthermore, Dad's *expectation* was that his widow pay off the house with the life insurance monies, but she may hold off on that, which changes the valuation of the house (and my 1/3 ownership) considerably - if there's mortgage payment(s).

    Can anyone here see any advantage to her NOT paying off the house right away - as far as valuation of my ownership interest - as far as it pertains to my bankruptcy?

    And how do I keep MY [not yet filed] bankruptcy from hurting my stepmom and sister?!?!?!

  • #2
    Updates/clarifications:

    - the will (which I received a copy of today) is VERY vague. All it says is that stepmom, my sister and I are to inherit the personal residence, "share and share alike"
    - The paperwork end of my divorce is not yet complete to reflect liens, partitions, right to assume if the X defaults. It says in the decree it's been awarded to him, but for all intents and purposes, there have been NO deed changes.
    - I owned no property before this showed up in Dad's will. No house. No car. (these are all in my husband's name)
    - I have two kids.... is there any way I could transfer my ownership stake to THEM?

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