Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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paying bills before exemptions approved?

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  • paying bills before exemptions approved?

    My impression is that, at the time of filing, wages that I'm due but haven't been paid yet, and any cash that I listed as exempt, is actually part of the bankruptcy estate for at least the first few weeks. Is this right?

    If so, that seems to mean there's nothing whatsoever I'm allowed to disburse - money I have and money I'm due is both tied up, and of course it takes time to generate new money. What to pay regular bills with for accounts I'm current on (utilities, etc.) for the weeks following filing? I'm presumably not meant to touch anything in the bankruptcy estate until at least my listed exemptions are "approved", even if I know that I could do further work and get another paycheck to replace anything temporarily missing.

    Of course, I could file, then get a short-term loan from a friend, and repay them when my exempt cash is agreed to and released back to me from the estate, but I assume that turns into another creditor that then I might have to declare at the 341 meeting, which I'm guessing becomes hassle.

    What's the easiest way to handle this? I assume the trustee won't be thrilled if I overpay the bills for the month just before I file, to keep them current during the start of the process, but I'd guess they'd not be impressed at me spending the cash I had when I filed even if I replace it with a paycheck from new work.

  • #2
    I am under the impression that wages are not 'yours' until you receive them. So unless you receive them prior to filing, they aren't included in the bankruptcy estate.

    As far as the exempted cash goes, I plan to use mine to pay bills (although it won't be much). Maybe I'm in the wrong here.....
    Filed pro se (ch 7, no asset) 10/27/09
    341 12/14/09
    Discharged 03/29/10


    • #3 mentions that exempt property includes "a portion of unpaid but earned wages" and schedule B includes opportunity to list "accounts receivable", which makes me suspect that earned wages one's not yet received are part of the estate.


      • #4
        Don't worry about it. You can use any exempt asset anytime you like.
        Well, I did. Every one of 'em. Mostly I remember the last one. The wild finish. A guy standing on a station platform in the rain with a comical look in his face because his insides have been kicked out. -Rick


        • #5
          Ah, great, thank you again. The stuff in about "you need permission to use any assets, either exempt or non exempt" and "technically, someone (trustee or creditor) could object to exemptions up to 30 days after the 341 is concluded. so technically, you shouldn't use any exempt money until that time passes" had made me nervous, so it's good to hear that I'm worrying too much.

          Would I even have to mention it to the trustee if they didn't explicitly ask?

          (Now I'm wondering if I should have put this in the Exemptions forum instead of the Chapter 7 one. Sorry if I got it wrong!)


          • #6
            The Nolo book turns out to be reassuring on this point, saying,

            You are allowed to spend cash you had when you filed ... to make day-to-day purchases for necessities ... You may need to reimburse the bankruptcy estate if the money wasn't exempt and the trustee disapproves your purchases.
            Presumably the trustee won't actually care how it was spent if it fits in the Federal wildcard exemption anyway. (I'll be taking Federal exemptions.)


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