How do I protect my home and cash in a bankruptcy? 9 Answers as of March 17, 2011

I have a paid off motor home that is my house and $30,000 in cash. I am filing Chapter 7. What do I need to do to protect my home and cash? It is all I have in savings and I am retired. Also I sold my car over a year ago, can the trustee call back the sale of the car?

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Benson Law Firm
Benson Law Firm | David Benson
If your motor home can be considered your homestead and the value falls below the applicable exemption amount, that home should be protected from the reach of your creditors. If the cash is held in a qualified retirement account as defined by ERISA, that amount may be outside the bankruptcy estate and thus not distributable by the Chapter 7 trustee. If the savings account is not tax-exempt, those funds are likely to be an attractive target for the trustee.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 3/17/2011
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
I am going to assume that you are a California resident. To protect your motor home, I need to know what it is worth and who lives there with you. The current exemption for a person who lives without any other family member is $75,000.00. If your motor home is worth less than $75,000.00, it is protected. If it is worth more than $75,000.00, we need to see if you qualify for I higher homestead exemption either due to family size, your age, any disability, or your income. The $30,000.00 in cash is at risk. There is no exemption to protect most of this money if you need the large homestead exemption to protect your motor home. You may want to spend some of this money on things that you will need anyway, such as food, utilities, gas, rent, taxes etc.

The sale of the car is not a problem so long as you sold the car for fair market value. If you gave it to a friend or family member for less than fair market value, the Trustee has the right to sue to set aside the transfer. Here is my best advice: Call me for a free consultation. My telephone number is 310 271-6223. I will go over all the facts and circumstances of your matter and give you expert legal advice tailored to the facts of your situation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/13/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Every state has a different exemption scheme.

Contact NACBA.ORG to find a bankruptcy lawyer near you. In California that $30,000.00 in cash is a problem and you have have to consider a Chapter 13. I do not know what the motor home is worth, so I can not address that.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/11/2011
The Doan Law Firm
The Doan Law Firm | Shawn Doan
In California you can generally exempt your homestead in bankruptcy, be it a house or an RV, if in fact you are living in it, up to $75,000 in value. If you elect to use this exemption there is no allowance for the $30K in cash, so you would lose that money. Alternatively, you can elect the exemptions found in section 703 of the California Civil Procedure code which gives you a $23,250 wild card exemption that can be applied to anything. In addition, you can exempt up to $3,525 in value of a motor vehicle. Thus, if your motorhome was worth say only $3500, you could exempt it completely and then use the wildcard to exempt up to $23,250 of your cash. If you file bankruptcy you would want to wait until you have spent down the $30,000 on regular living expenses to the amount you can protect with the $23,250 wild card. If the motor home is worth more than $3,500 then you would need to borrow from the wildcard exemption of $23250 to exempt it further, which would then decrease the amount you have left to exempt the cash. I strongly encourage you to speak with a well qualified bankruptcy attorney, such as ourselves, to properly engage in estate planning prior to your filing. I would be happy to give you a free consultation in our Escondido office to discuss your ability to file bankruptcy in San Diego, or, depending on where you live, in the Los Angeles, Orange, and/or Riverside counties.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/10/2011
Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
The answer is "it depends." I strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney because more information is needed to provide you with a definitive answer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/10/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Can either protect homestead up to $175K if disabled or over a certain age or $23K in cash, not both.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/10/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    You need to talk to your attorney about what you can do in your case. I can't give you advice if you have an attorney filing Chapter 7. That is why you paid them.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/10/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You need to hire an attorney. You can only protect a certain amount of assets. If the value of assets exceeds your exemption amount (what you can protect), the trustee can take your assets and use them to pay off your creditors. In your case, with the amount of assets you have, please consult an attorney so you don't lose what you have.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/9/2011
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