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Ellen
Ellen, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 36714
Experience:  Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
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I owe a great deal (>$80,000) on credit cards and have almost

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I owe a great deal (>$80,000) on credit cards and have almost no income ($1,200/month social security). My only possession is my home (no mortgage - $200,000 value, but jointly owned). Can creditors force me to sell my home? Can the court force me to sell my home if I declare chapter 7?
*This chat is not intended as legal advice. It is general information that may or may not apply to your situation and should not be relied upon.*

Welcome,

My name is FiveStarLaw. I will do whatever I can to answer your questions!

Do you own your home jointly with your spouse? Will your spouse be filing bankruptcy as well?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.


No. The joint ownership is complicated. I owned it 50% with a lady who has since passed away, however we have a legal contract which allows the surviving member to remain in the house as long as they choose. After that, her heir would receive half-ownership, and if I pass away while living in the house my heir would receive the other half

Thank you for your explanation.

As you may know, only $15,000 in value in a debtor's home is protected from creditor claims in bankruptcy. However this does not necessarily mean that you would be required to sell the house in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The Chapter 7 trustee is only entitled to the same rights in the property that you have. In other words the trustee is bound by that same contract regarding the home that you are. The trustee cannot force the sale of the home unless the contract gives you the right to force the sale

I would be glad to respond to any follow-up questions that you may have.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

As a follow-up to FiveStar: Thank you for this answer. I have one quick follow-up question - does this mean that the trustee, acting on behalf of my creditors, could engage the second owner to negotiate a deal of some sort? Also, my initial question had a second part which asked: "If I do NOT file chapter 7, can ordinary creditors, through legal action, force me to sell my home?". I'm not sure if that counts as a second question but I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts.


 


Thanks


Thank you for your followup question.

As a follow-up to FiveStar: Thank you for this answer. I have one quick follow-up question - does this mean that the trustee, acting on behalf of my creditors, could engage the second owner to negotiate a deal of some sort?
Yes – the trustee could enter into negotiations with the joint owner to purchase the joint owner's interest in the property

Also, my initial question had a second part which asked: "If I do NOT file chapter 7, can ordinary creditors, through legal action, force me to sell my home?". I'm not sure if that counts as a second question but I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts.
Yes – Unfortunately 3 or more creditors can join together to force an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Outside of bankruptcy, a creditor may obtain a judgment and place a lien on your interest in the house and possibly foreclose your interest

I would be glad to respond to any follow-up questions that you may have.
Ellen and other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you

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