One common misconception about bankruptcy is the idea that it will leave the filer with little to their name and damage their credit beyond repair. In reality, bankruptcy is an extremely helpful process for ridding individuals and businesses of debts they would otherwise not be able to repay.
Bankruptcy is a legal process administered through the bankruptcy court system. While bankruptcy does affect the filer’s credit and some could lose certain non-exempt properties in liquidation-type bankruptcies, the overall benefits can greatly outweigh the negatives. If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you build a strong, successful case.
If you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy by passing the Minnesota Means Test, you will have the majority of your debts discharged. The majority of common debts like credit card debt, medical bills, mortgages, and car loans are discharged in Chapter 7. When it comes to unsecured debts (debts not tied to a property/collateral), the discharge has no side effects. On the other hand, the discharge of secured debts may mean you’ll lose the property tied to that debt in the liquidation process if there is no equity or value in excess of the debt against the property that you can assert an exemption claim to. Exemptions protect important properties like your home, vehicle, furniture, etc.
Some properties that are only established as a money value, such as your retirement fund, trust fund, or an inheritance, may also be subject to the liquidation process, though there are generous exemptions for tax qualified retirement accounts such as an IRA, 401(k), 403(b), etc. For inheritances in particular, such as those received through a will or a life insurance policy, there are special rules in place to prevent bankruptcy abuse and maximize the potential benefit/return to one’s creditors:
- If your relative is still alive, your inheritance is safe from the liquidation process because you don’t own it yet.
- If you received your inheritance more than 180 days after the date you filed your petition – meaning your relative passed away more than 180 days after the date you filed your case – it’s not considered part of your estate and it will be safe from liquidation.
- If you receive your inheritance within 180 days of filing for bankruptcy (specifically, your relative passed away within 180 days after you filed your bankruptcy case), your case may be amended, and any inheritance could be at risk of being liquidated. If you cannot use your available bankruptcy exemptions to protect some of the inheritance, whatever amount is not exempted will be liquidated by the bankruptcy trustee and paid over to your creditors.
This 180-day inheritance rule was established to prevent debtors from filing for bankruptcy to rid themselves of debt with the knowledge that they will soon receive a large sum from the death of a family member. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with that knowledge shows that you wanted a way around repaying your debts honestly with the money gained from your inheritance.
To learn more about inheritances or other assets and what happens to them when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jackson, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.