Is it bad to have money in the bank when filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Edrie Pfeiffer
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Edrie Pfeiffer, Bankruptcy & Divorce Attorney

I recently had a client who had received a large tax refund shortly after she had met with me about filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. She wanted to make sure that she could keep this money. We discussed several options that she had and how much we could protect for her. When we met to do her signing and file her bankruptcy, I asked her about the money. She told me that she had moved the money from her bank account to her daughter's bank account so she wouldn't have it anymore. This was not one of the options that we had discussed and we did not file her case that day.

When you file bankruptcy, you have to list all of your assets. This includes the money that you have in the bank. If it is your money, even if it is in someone else's account, you must list it. There are ways to protect the assets that you have but we can only protect those things that we know about. If you try to hide assets by putting the money in someone else's account, you may end up losing the money and your bankruptcy. You could even face criminal charges for bankruptcy fraud.

Another issue that comes up is joint bank accounts. I frequently have clients tell me that the money in the account is not their money, they are just on the account. I usually tell them if you have the legal right to take the money out, the Chapter 7 trustee can take the money out after you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You need to make sure that you discuss these things with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you file.

For more information on protecting assets in bankruptcy, check out my article on "keeping your things in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy".

Read more about the Chapter 7 trustee's role.

If you are ready to become debt free, contact us or call us today at 320-2010. We will schedule an appointment for you to discuss your situation with our attorney. She will give you advise about how to best protect your assets and become debt free.

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