Can the bank come after me? 16 Answers as of June 09, 2013

I have questions regarding a vehicle that I chose not to include in my bankruptcy with the intent to continue making payments on it. My work and financial situation worsened and quit making payments on it three years ago. The vehicle is still in my possession, but has not been driven during this time. I have tried to have it taken back when the repossession guys came and took another vehicle of mine. They said it was not on their list so they could take it. Now, I'm in need of second vehicle. The tags on this vehicle are expired, and my questions are if I renew the tags will this flag the collectors, what am I liable for, will the bank come after me for money, do I owe anything, and what to expect. Due to my financial situation would I be better of to drive the vehicle with expired tags and pay the fine if pulled over. It seems it would be cheaper at this time rather than renewing the tags, flagging the bank, and having to pay thousands right now. I realize this is asking a lot. Please advise. Thank you

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Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
Oh my! You need to start playing it on the square. The bad news is that you may have committed a felony by failing to list a car and the debt on the car in your old bankruptcy. How the trustee missed that car I'm sure I don't know. But apparently the trustee in bankruptcy was asleep at the switch or noticed it andf realized it had more owed on it than it was worth. A mean trustee could have taken away your discharge and even put you in Jail. This is NOT a little boo boo. Now the good news. Assuming that you did not give any assets or cash over to the trustee in bankruptcy, you are probably OK. The car lender knew about your bankruptcy the day it was filed. The credit reporting agencies told the lender immediately. That does NOT excuse you for not listing the debt. But it does get the lender discharged in bankruptcy. Permanently. So take the carback to the lender and give it to them. Just park it there. The lender has been discharged in bankruptcy and can not collect on any deficiency. Do not drive a vehicle with no tags. It's not a moving offense in Ohio, but why would you invite the police into your life? Be a square. Life is less exciting, but you will pay fewer fines and do a lot less jail time. Return the car. Thank you for reading me. I hope you found this answer to be helpful. This answer is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is general information that should be discussed with your own attorney. Because the law in other jurisdictions is different and the facts of each case are different, consumers cannot rely on the opinions expressed here.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/18/2011
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 6/9/2013
Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law
Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law | Paul Stuber
Don't risk driving with expired tags. I am not sure when you said that you did not include the car in your bankruptcy? Did you not list an asset in the case? Did you list it but keep payments? Did you reaffirm? There is a different outcome for all three. The first question is: Do you have a clear title to the car or is the Bank listed on the title as lien holder? If they have a lien and it is not paid they can take the car back. Maybe you should call the bank and see if you can work out a new payment plan or to turn the car back to them.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/17/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
Renewing the registration is normally only relevant to the Department of Motor Vehicles. While it could tip off the bank, you never want to drive a vehicle with expired tags you are setting yourself up for fines and other problems down the road. If the bank is going to come get the vehicle, they are going to come get the vehicle regardless of whether or not it is registered. If you did not include the bank in your bankruptcy, that was a mistake. You should always include all of your creditors to protect you from lawsuit like the one you may be exposed to now.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 8/17/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Because you did not reaffirm the debt on the car they can come and pick it up. No one knows if registering it will cause them to come and look for it. I am surprised that you have not heard from them by now. Your best bet is to register and insure it. Driving without tags could cause it to be impounded. You will just have to take your chances with the repo man OR you could try a Chapter 13 - pay the current fair market vale of the car over 60 months at low interest plus trustee fees. See a lawyer about that.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/17/2011
    Heupel Law
    Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
    It would have been easier to add the debt to your bankruptcy when you filed your case. You've created this situation by not fully disclosing your debt. There may be some options, but the best advice is to consult a bankruptcy attorney to see if he can resolve the situation.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    Why are you not asking your attorney on the case you previously filed these questions? I routinely, without charge, would do so. The answer depends on what you mean by I did not include the car loan in my bankruptcy. All debts must be listed in a bankruptcy whether you decide to keep the debt is a separate question. If you signed a reaffirmation agreement to keep the debt then you owe it. If it was never listed then you may not owe it but only if you had a no asset case and the car loan did not involve fraud. Your previous attorney is in the best position to answer these questions.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr.
    Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr. | John C. Farrell, Jr.
    The fact that you stopped driving the vehicle does not negate the fact that the money is still owed. The lender on the auto can still come after you to re-possess and then most likely seek a deficiency action against you for the remaining amount owed. If you need another car then be aware that MA has an exemption for 1 auto with a net worth of $4,000. This vehicle should be needed as a necessity for employment, health or other personal reasons. You may also consider approaching a trusted family member or friend to see if getting a vehicle in their name is an option.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
    You say you "chose not to include in my bankruptcy." When you file a petition for relief under the bankruptcy statute you are required to list every asset and every debt. If your attorney did his job correctly he listed your car as an asset on Schedule B, claimed the exemption on Schedule C, and listed the debt as a secured debt on Schedule D. Your debt was discharged. Unless you reaffirmed the car loan debt after filing your petition and before your discharge of debts you have no financial obligation to the lender. You don't say what kind of car you have or how old it is, but the bank may not want to bother to repossess it. I do not advise you drive with expired tags.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    Do not drive your vehicle without proper tags, it is illegal and may make your insurance invalid. The bank may come after the car, but if you haven't made payments on it for 3 yrs, and they haven't yet, there is probably something else going on. Maybe they have written the car loan off? I don't know of any connection between the SOS and the banks, but there may be one. But let's face it, you will be driving a car you haven't paid for. If they come and get it, so be it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    Talk to a bankruptcy attorney
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    If you listed it in the bankruptcy, and they did not reaffirm it, then you will not owe any money when it is repossessed. It is already discharged.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If you filed a bankruptcy and omitted a car you committed a serious felony. You can face 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and revocation of your discharge. If you commit additional state law crimes with car registration you face additional jail and fines. Get a lawyer (you should have had one to begin with). Possibly you can reopen your case, fix your perjury, and maybe avoid jail. If you wait to get caught, expect very bad consequences.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    When you continue to make payments on a vehicle after bankruptcy your rights are determined depending on whether you signed a reaffirmation agreement. If you have done so the creditor can repossess, sell the car and charge you for any deficiency (there always is a deficiency). If you haven't signed a reaffirmation agreement the lender can repossess but not pursue a deficiency.You must keep the registration (tags) current as long as you have possession..You are not allowed to drive a vehicle with expired tags.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Lewis Adams and Associates
    Lewis Adams and Associates | Lewis P. Adams
    It appears from your question that you filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy several years ago. If you did not reaffirm the debt, but simply continued to pay on the vehicle after filing, the only remedy the bank has is to retrieve their collateral. They may not be able to come after you for payment. If you did sign a reaffirmation agreement, they may be able to collect money damages in addition to picking up the vehicle. Registering the car will not necessarily alert the lender, but it may give the lender an updated address if they choose to look. Driving the car with expired plates may cost you more than a simple ticket. The longer it remains unregistered, the more costly it may become, even to point of having it impounded.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/16/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    Talk to your bankruptcy attorney about the status of the car. It should have been listed in your bankruptcy paperwork as you are required to list ALL your debts and ALL your assets when you file for bankruptcy. If it was listed and you did not reaffirm the debt, then you have no personal liability on the debt. The car can, however, be reposessed if you don't pay for it. Driving will expired tags will become very expensive very quickly. That is not a good choice.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/16/2011
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