Can I lose my home and property due to my step brother filing bankruptcy? 11 Answers as of August 27, 2015

We inherited property from our parents to divide, it is still in their name. I live in my home on the property, he does not, but is looking to move onto the property. He is in the process of filing bankruptcy on the home he lives in. Can I lose my half?

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Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Possibly. Generally, your home wouldn't be affected by his bankruptcy. But you're talking about being joint owners to real estate. The court will have to make a decision whether the parcel can be split and his 1/2 sold or whether the parcel must be sold as a whole and then the money split. You should be speaking with your brother and, possibly, your brother's attorney about the effect of the bankruptcy on the current situation. I don't know all the facts but it seems that it would be better to have the property put into your names, perhaps split and have your brother move there. That way his homestead exemption will protect his interest in the inherited property, instead of being wasted on a house he's going to abandon anyway. If your brother's lawyer hasn't suggested this to him, he needs to get a bankruptcy lawyer instead of a general practitioner who dabbles in bankruptcy occasionally.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/25/2015
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
If he lives on the property then he will get a homestead exemption and if his exemption covers the equity amount then you wont have any issues.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/24/2015
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
Anything is possible when you co-own property with someone else. In the best case scenario, a bankruptcy trustee may offer to sell you your brother's interest for a reduced amount.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 6/24/2015
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
Pay his bankruptcy attorney for a one hour meeting. Without reviewing everything, no one can even hazard a guess. Now is not the time to skimp!
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/24/2015
Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
It is not impossible, but it seems unlikely. The answer depends on several facts: will he be filing his bankruptcy petition before or after he moves on to the property? (If he lives on the property, it is his homestead, and depending on the state it's in, he may be able to exempt his equity in the real estate. If he owns a half-interest in the property, and it is not his homestead, then he might not be able to exempt all his equity, or perhaps any of it.) A bankruptcy trustee is permitted after notice and hearing to sell a property clear of the interest of co-owners, and pay them the value of their interest out of the proceeds. This would happen only if the trustee expected substantial funds for the bankruptcy estate. MOST IMPORTANT POINT: Your step-brother needs to retain an experienced bankruptcy lawyer before filing, and should invite you into the conversation.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 6/24/2015
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    No, you would not lose your half. But, you may have to sell the property to pay the trustee for the value of his half. Is he filing Chapter 7 or 13, it makes a huge difference.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/24/2015
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    No - but his ? can be sold if not exempted properly
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/24/2015
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    No that has nothing to do with you but as always go see an attorney
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/24/2015
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    That would be a no.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/27/2015
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    Hopefully your step brother is not trying to file a bankruptcy case on his own without a lawyer. There is a lot at stake as far as what he could lose (and what it could mean for you). He should consider very carefully when and where to file his case in order to protect as much as possible in the way of assets. You don't say whether the property is owned free and clear or whether it is subject to a mortgage loan. It could make a difference. You should strongly encourage your step brother to hire an experienced lawyer to guide him - bankruptcy in the circumstances you are describing is not a simple thing, and much if not all of his inheritance could be put at risk.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/24/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You can not "lose" your half. The trustee might however try to sell it to get your brother's half (in which case you would paid your half or you may have to buy your brother out). You need to see a lawyer asap.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/24/2015
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