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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
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Can a bankruptcy trustee change your plan to force the sale

Customer Question

Can a bankruptcy trustee change your plan to force the sale of a home that is in FL, held under joint tenants with one of the owners having filed ch. 13. My 85 yr old mother lives in the house, I was put on the deed after my father crashed in Vietnam. Bankruptcy plan is filed in VA.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Yes, as a general rule, the bankruptcy trustee can go after a debtor's portion of a joint tenancy by forcing the sale of the property and splitting the proceeds with the other joint tenant. In your case, that would mean selling your mother's property and splitting the proceeds with her.

There are a couple of ways that you may be able to prevent the sale, however:

The first way (which is preferable) would be to argue that you are on the deed for accomodation purposes only, and that neither you nor your mother actually consider you to be an owner of the property. Here is an analogy: I recently put a woman in bankruptcy whose name was on her adult children's bank accounts. I successfully argued to the trustee that she was on the bank accounts for accomodation purposes only because she never actually used the accounts as her own and was merely on them because her children were minors when the accounts were open. In your case, you could argue that you are merely on the deed so that you can help your mother to manage her affairs, and for inheritance purposes, but that you do not treat the house as your own property.

If the above argument doesn't work in your case, then you also have the option of saving the property by increasing your plan payment so that the trustee gets over the course of the plan the same amount that he would have gotten had the property been sold. Unfortunately, this option may not be possible depending on your income and other expenses. Accordingly, I would certainly make the other argument first.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.

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