Do I lose the car I co-own with my mother if my mother files for bankruptcy? 14 Answers as of May 17, 2011

I own a car jointly with my mother. My mother is filing chapter 7 and she said I have to give her the car back because she needs the money. The trustee believes she is hiding assets. Do I lose my car? it is fully paid for.

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
I need more facts to answer your question. What is your car worth? Has your mother claimed an exemption for her share of the car? Have you been contacted by the bankruptcy trustee in her case? Please call me for a free consultation if you want me to help you with this matter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/17/2011
Law Office of Larry Webb
Law Office of Larry Webb | Larry Webb
As the co-owner and co-debtor you should be able to keep the car if you make the payments. You may have to sign a new agreement.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/1/2011
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
The answer depends on the applicable exemption available in your state. It is possible that the asset may need to be liquidated.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 4/27/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
You need to see an attorney, (and not your mother's). If the trustee is claiming your mother is hiding assets, that is a serious matter. It may come down to who paid for the car and when.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
If you are on title to the car with your mother, you can call the trustee and explain the ownership. Then, if you want to keep the car, you may owe the trustee 50% of the current value of the car that belongs to the bankruptcy estate of your mother at the time she filed her case. Or surrender the car.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
    California's Largest Family of Attorneys
    California's Largest Family of Attorneys | Doan Law Firm
    It seems that your mom has unexempt assets in her Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and the trustee is forcing a sale of the car to liquidate the unexempt equity in the car. You may very well lose the car, but should you and your mom have enough money to pay the trustee the amount he/she wants, you may be able to keep it. However, it also may be that your mom's bankruptcy paperwork did not accurately disclose your 50% ownership of the vehicle; thus, it may be protected after all.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    The car that you own Jointly with your Mother will be a part of her Bankruptcy. If you can show that you made the payments and not her, you may be able to convince the Bankruptcy Trustee that the car is really yours and not hers. If your Mother gave you the car within the last year, you may have a problem as it is a transfer to an "insider" of value within one year of Bankruptcy and may be reclaimed by the Trustee. There is a different issue with your Mother claiming she wants you to give her the car back because she "needs the money". This does not sound like the Trustee is asking for the car, but your Mother. You should discuss your situation with an attorney (not your Mother's).
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    The answer depends on a couple of things, including whose name is on the title to the car. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the telephone call and no charge for the first office visit.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Saedi Law Group
    Saedi Law Group | Lorena Saedi
    This will all depend on what state she has filed for bankruptcy and the applicable exemptions available to protect the equity in her personal property. If you are a co-owner of the car then you should consult a bankruptcy attorney in your area about your options. In my experience here in Georgia most trustees are open to working out a "buy back" amount of any equity that a debtor is over in regards to their exemptions.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    What happens to the car depends on the state law and the value of the car. If it's worth enough, the trustee can sell it and give you money for your half. (Assuming it's been half your all along. Does the trustee think she transferred it to you just before filing bankruptcy? Then, the trustee is just going to take it back.) What happens to your mother if the trustee thinks she is hiding assets is a lot more serious.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    If your mother filed a chapter 7 case, she no longer has an ownership interest in the vehicle unless and until the Trustee decides not to sell it. Did your mother claim an exemption on the vehicle in her bankruptcy case? If so, it may be protected. If not, the Trustee could definitely sell it. You would still be entitled to 50% of the sales proceeds in any event, but the Trustee could take the car. Or, alternatively, you could offer to purchase the Trustee's interest in the car in order to keep it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    All assets must be disclosed by your mother. She may be able to exempt the car so that a trustee will not sell it. Do not transfer the car ownership to your mother.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek | Steven A. Wolvek
    That depends - first if its owned by the two of you it must be disclosed in your mother's bankruptcy. Second - whether you can keep it or not depends whether you can exempt (protect) the equity in the vehicle and her other assets. For that specific answer you need to consult an attorney so he or she can review the assets listed (and unlisted) and check your state's exemptions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/26/2011
    Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger
    Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger | Michael Krueger
    Your mother may be able to keep the car if she is filing bankruptcy in an opt out state with an exemption high enough to cover the value of the car. It also depends on when she transferred the ownership to you. Bankruptcy trustees will be looking for what is known as a "fraudulent conveyance" of property within 12 months of filing. If your mother gave you have ownership within 12 months of her filing bankruptcy the trustee can order the car placed back in her sole possession to be liquidated.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/26/2011
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