How do I file bankruptcy if I live in a motor home without an address and have spent time abroad? 5 Answers as of February 18, 2011

I have huge credit card debt and much of my money has gone to lawyers’ fees. I have no possessions and my income is $1,700 a month. I am also expecting to inherit about 20 to 30 thousand dollars. I want to file for bankruptcy so that my creditors cannot get this money. Also, I live in a motor home and often spend time in Mexico, although the motor home is not in my name. I spent about 2 years abroad. Can I declare bankruptcy while living in a motor home without an address? How do I organize to begin the bankruptcy and ensure that I do not make mistakes? Thank you in advance.

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Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP
Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP | Scott W. Dicus
The best way to organize your bankruptcy properly from the beginning is by consulting an attorney to advise you on the best way to proceed. You shouldn't have any trouble filing, the only question will be where to file. Generally, the proper venue of the bankruptcy case will be determined by your location for the 180 days before the petition.

Regarding the inheritance, it depends on when you receive or obtained the right to receive the money. Any money or property that you have already inherited, but not yet received, is included in the bankruptcy estate. However, if you have not yet inherited the money, then it depends. If you inherit property within 180 days after you file for bankruptcy, you must report the inheritance to the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy trustee may take the property.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/18/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
The best way not to make mistakes is to see a lawyer. You can file even if you live in a motor home. I do not know what state you are in now or what your state of residence is. You are entitled to exemptions and you should see a lawyer becuase of the inheritiance. Contact NACBA.ORG to find one near you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/16/2011
Carballo Law Offices
Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
The only way to ensure you do not make a mistake is to get an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. You must file in the bankruptcy district where you have lived for more than half the time in the past six months. If you have not lived in any bankruptcy district for over 90 days in the past 180 days, then you need to file where you have property. It could be a bank account. If none of that applies, then you must wait until you can establish residence for at least 91 days consecutively. You must have a residence address but can use a mailing address if you cannot receive correspondence at that address. It could be a post office box. There must be some place in the U.S. that you consider home and if not then maybe you need to wait for file until you stay in one place for at least 91 days.

You say you have no property. However, if you do have anything and need to protect it then you must use exemptions to protect the property and where you have lived in the past two years determines what exemptions are available to you. You can use the federal exemptions if you do not qualify for exemptions in any state. Given that you have no property that should not be much of a problem except maybe the inheritance you mention.

If you are expecting an inheritance because someone has already died and left you that much in cash or property (even if it has not been given to you yet), then you do have property because you are entitled to it. If the person who is leaving you an inheritance has not died then you have only an expectation of an inheritance and that inheritance becomes part of your bankruptcy estate only if the person dies within six months of filing for bankruptcy. That could be a problem in many ways, including the problem with you not being able to use any particular state exemptions because you have moved so much. You should not file unless you know how it is going to affect the inheritance, particularly if the person has already died and you are waiting for the money to be distributed.

There are lots of issues with your situation and lots of complicated facts that need to be considered by a bankruptcy lawyer to determine if you should file at all and where you should file. You are afraid to lose your inheritance money to creditors but I think you have a greater chance of losing it in bankruptcy if you try to file without an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. I have tried to give you an illustration of the many problems you might encounter but I do not have most of the facts that are required to analyze you situation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2011
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
This is a very complicated question and you need to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to advise you appropriately regarding the specifics of your situation. You must, at the very least, have some assets in the USA (such as a bank account) and a mailing address where you regularly receive mail, in order to file bankruptcy in the USA. Whether or not you can protect your inheritance depends on which state's exemption laws would apply in your case (which depends on where you resided for the 2 years prior to filing your case) and which bankruptcy chapter you file.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2011
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