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When a creditor is forced to pay back recently received money through “preference” law, that money can go to pay a debt you want to be paid.


Last week we introduced the law of preferences. This law says that if a creditor takes or receives money from you within the 90 days before you file your bankruptcy case, the creditor may need to pay it back. There are some complicated conditions that may apply, but in many situations the creditor does need to pay it back. See Section 547 of the Bankruptcy Code.

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Posted on in Chapter 7

Most Chapter 7 cases are “no-asset” ones. So, what’s an “asset case,” and is it good or bad for you?

The More Common No-Asset Case

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy option is sometimes confusingly called “liquidation” bankruptcy. That implies that something you own gets “liquidated”—sold. But in most consumer Chapter 7 cases that’s not what happens.

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Just because you own something that isn’t exempt does not necessarily mean that your Chapter 7 trustee will liquidate it. Maybe not.


Our last blog post was about the most straightforward kind of no asset” Chapter 7 case. That’s when it’s clear that everything you own is “exempt”—fully protected. The property and exemption schedules that you and your bankruptcy lawyer prepare and file at court show this. Your trustee asks a few confirming questions at the “meeting of creditors” and announces that your case is a “no asset” one. That means that there’s nothing you own that the trustee wants to liquidate and pay its proceeds to your creditors.

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Posted on in Chapter 7

Most individual consumer Chapter 7 cases are “no asset” ones. This means that the Chapter 7 trustee doesn’t liquidate any debtor assets.

Chapter 7 Is a Liquidation Form of Bankruptcy

When think “liquidation,” this is what you may come to mind. A business decides to close down and files a Chapter 7 “liquidation” bankruptcy. A bankruptcy trustee gathers and sells all of the business’ assets and pays its creditors as much as it can out of the proceeds.

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Assets acquired after filing under Chapter 7, such as wages, can’t be reached by the trustee. But watch out for proceeds, rents and profits.

After-Acquired Property Is USUALLY Not Property of the Estate

Your filing of a Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” case creates a bright red line of timing. What you own at that moment of filing is potentially accessible to the Chapter 7 trustee to pay your creditors. It’s “property of the bankruptcy estate.” What you acquire later is not.

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