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

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Unique Bankruptcy Situation

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  • Question: Unique Bankruptcy Situation

    Hi everyone. I'm hoping you can give me some advice on a unique situation that I unfortunately find myself in. I am seriously contemplating filing personal bankruptcy, but my wife is not. Here is a brief rundown of the situation:

    1. Our house and both of our vehicles are owned jointly.
    2. I am planning on trying to include my student loan debt (currently $100K) as part of my filing because paying it would cause undue hardship for the foreseeable future.

    Okay, so here is where it gets interesting. My wife is set to take over the estate of her father within the next 3-6 months. The estate is valued at approximately $350K, which includes a $175K house owned free and clear and an IRA account valued at $175K as of 12/31/15.

    Below are the questions I have that I'm hoping you all can help me with. I'm thinking I know the answer to these, but I'd like to hear from someone who has experience with this type of thing, if possible.

    1. Can the bankruptcy court come after the estate to satisfy my debts, even though I personally have no claim to that money and property?
    2. Will my wife's credit be affected because of me filing bankruptcy due to many of our assets being jointly owned? Or perhaps a better question is - is there any way she can be spared?

    Thanks in advance everyone. I'm looking forward to gaining someone insight based on your comments.


  • #2
    My understanding is that your wife would be left as the sole responsible party on those joint debts. You would be discharged in chapter 7, but not her.
    It is likely that your student loans cannot be discharged. Basically, you have to die to get rid of those. But, there are to a BK attorney

    The estate that your wife inherits cannot be touched by the bankruptcy trustee. It is hers. But...her income will be counted in determining if you can qualify for chapter 7. That is, her contribution to the household expenses might put you over the limit (income less expenses). A bk attorney can do all the number crunching for you...but, you might find that you end up in chapter 13 and a repayment plan.


    • #3
      If you have no right to an asset, neither your creditors nor the bankruptcy trustee has a right to the asset.

      You do need to make sure that your wife doesn't have any liability for your debt under state law. I think Geeznowwhat is assuming that you and your wife have joint loans on your joint assets.

      Depending on how title is held to your joint assets either they are 100% protected from your creditors or your creditor's may be able to get your half of the assets if you can't exempt them, but not at your wife's interest. Hopefully, your car and home are held as "tenancy by the entirety". According to your profile, you are in Pennsylvania. Here's an article I think you find interesting:

      If you have no joint debts, then your wife's credit should not be affected by your bankruptcy. In the unlikely event it shows up on her credit reports, she should dispute it.

      Good luck getting that student loan discharge. You don't have to die to discharge them, but it is extremely difficult. My guess is that the payment period on a $100,000 loan is quite long. It's not good enough to show that you will not be able to pay in the forseable future. You must show that you won't be able to pay during the entire period of the loan. It may be easier in some courts than others and an experienced attorney can tell you how your court treats hardship claims. Here are a couple of good articles on the topic. http://www.studentloanborrowerassist...rg/bankruptcy/

      Please confirming everything you read here or anywhere on the internet with a bankruptcy attorney. Most give free consultations. Most bkforum members, including me, are not attorneys.
      LadyInTheRed is in the black!
      Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
      $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


      • #4
        You might also want to consult an estate planning attorney. Our BK attorney had no clue when dealing with our case which included an unrevokeable Charitable Remainder Unitrust. It spits out a yearly stipend that is considered 'Retirement'. But, the attorney had trouble dealing with it.
        "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

        "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."


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