Would funeral expenses be part of bankruptcy? 15 Answers as of October 22, 2013

My mother is filing bankruptcy and the funeral home said they would pursue legal action for the money, as she has not paid it (her lawyer said not to). If she gets sued, would the automatic stay prevent her from paying this fee and be considered unsecured debt?


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Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Her personal liability for funeral expenses would be discharged by a bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/22/2013
Law Office of Shawn N. Wright | Shawn N. Wright
The funeral expenses would be considered an unsecured debt. If she filed a bankruptcy, the funeral home would not be permitted to file suit against her. Just to clarify something: the automatic stay doesn't prevent people from paying their debts if they wish to do so. The automatic stay is a bar against creditors pursuing collections activity against the people who owe the money. So, if your mother wished to pay the funeral expenses, she would be free to pay the fees after the bankruptcy was over.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 10/22/2013
Niketas & Clark, LLP
Niketas & Clark, LLP | Alexia K. Niketas
If your mother signed personally guaranteeing payment for funeral expenses (I'm assuming for another family member's funeral?), then yes, that debt should be able to be included in her bankruptcy case. More facts are needed however to be able to determine that definitively so please consult with a bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 10/22/2013
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
This is an unsecured debt. It must be included in the bankruptcy, as all debts must be listed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/21/2013
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
I would have to know more about the terms of the contract your mother has with the funeral company to be able to accurate address your concerns. Is she paying for a plot or for services that are to be provided in the future, or is she paying for services that have already been provided?
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/21/2013
    Heineman Law Office
    Heineman Law Office | Jeff Heineman
    The debt will be dischargeable unless the funeral home can demonstrate that she incurred the debt fraudulently. In other words, she incurred the debt knowing that she had no intent on paying it. It is a difficult burden for the funeral home to hurdle, and it is doubtful that it will try. For the record, creditors use the "we will pursue this" card to try to scare people into paying. Don't do it.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 10/21/2013
    Di Giacomo & Gruss | Christopher Di Giacomo
    In my legal opinion this debt would be considered unsecured debt and should be included in her petition and would be stayed based on the Automatic Stay Rule. Therefore she would not have to pay it.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/21/2013
    Law Offices of Linda Rose Fessler | Linda Fessler
    Listen to her lawyer. He is correct.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2013
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    Your Mother should follow the advice given to her by her lawyer. Or, she should find another lawyer is she is not confident in that advice. Why would you second guess? When one files for bankruptcy ALL debts must be disclosed and listed in the case. ALL dischargeable debts (almost everything) are discharged in such a bankruptcy filing. A bankruptcy case stops all actions being taken by a creditor to collect a debt. The whole purpose of retaining an attorney is to get reliable legal advice based upon the individual's situation and needs. Your Mother's attorney is the person she should listen to, not random lawyers responding to a general online inquiry.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/21/2013
    Law Offices of A. J. Mitchell, LLC
    Law Offices of A. J. Mitchell, LLC | A. J. Mitchell
    Yes, such expenses are subject to the automatic stay. The debt would be considered unsecured to the extent no lien or attachment exists in relation to it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/21/2013
    Elkington Law
    Elkington Law | Sally Elkington
    It is unclear whether these funeral expenses are for a funeral past, or to prepay. If they are for a funeral past, they should be dischargeable in a bankruptcy. If they are for a future funeral to prepay expenses, she can reject that contract in her bankruptcy, but she will lose anything she's already paid for.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2013
    Moffa & Bonacquisti, P.A.
    Moffa & Bonacquisti, P.A. | John A. Moffa
    Once she files bankruptcy, the automatic stay would prevent her from being sued. The debt sounds like it might be a dischargeable, unsecured claim, but it is difficult to ascertain without seeing the underlying documents and knowing the facts surrounding this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/21/2013
    Moore Taylor Law Firm, P.A.
    Moore Taylor Law Firm, P.A. | Jane Downey
    Most likely they would be included if unsecured.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/21/2013
    Stuart P Gelberg
    Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
    It is a debt like any other debt and dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2013
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    A cemetery plot is secured but regular funeral expenses are not secured and would be discharged with her other debt in bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2013
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