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cfortunato, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 8023
Experience:  Bankruptcy professor.
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I am trying to help my elderly parents navigate through the

Customer Question

I am trying to help my elderly parents navigate through the aftermath of their recent bankruptcy hearing. My parents did not plan well financially for their future. My father had a stroke and had to quit working. My mother began putting many bills on credit cards to cover the difference between what their social security payments would cover and small dividends from some stock my mother had inherited.

Their hearing was last month, and now they are being told that they have to pay several expenses--they do not have money to cover these things. Although I realize that laws have changed, I am shocked that there are so many things after the hearing that they are expected to have money for.

My parents intent is to continue paying their mortgage. They needed to default on their credit card debt due to high debt and high interest rates. My mother's credit rating was very good until she decided she had to declare bankruptcy in December and quit paying on the cards.

The court took what remained of her stock and said that she had to pay over $2000 for the blue book value of a car that was given to her two years ago when my aunt passed away--it is the only vehicle and nothing was owed on it. My mother is also being told she has to pay $1000 for taxes on income earned from stock over the last, two years.

Are these types of post-bankruptcy common? What could the attorney have done to avoid these expenses? Can I have an attorney take action on her behalf to challenge these expenses?

Thank you!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cfortunato replied 5 years ago.

Hi JACustomer,

It is very uncommon for a debtor to have this type of post-Bankruptcy filing debt, and is an indication of poor pre-Bankruptcy filing planning.

In Florida, a debtor is allowed to keep one motor vehicle with market value of $1,000 or less. If the car is worth more than that, the trustee can either take the car, sell it, and return $1,000 to the debtor, or the debtor can pay the difference between the market value and $1,000. This choice belongs to the debtor, not the trustee.

It is too late now, but your parents could have sold the car before filing, and could have used that money to pay the taxes that were due.


I think this is what you wanted to know. If not, please let me know.
Thank you!