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Can I Transfer Assets to Friends or Family Prior to Filing Bankruptcy?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: September 24, 2014

The Bankruptcy Laws are designed to give people a fresh start. A condition of getting the fresh start is that you have to be honest and disclose all of your assets and all of your liabilities. As part of the process, the Court realizes that people need certain things (within reason) to continue on with their lives. Therefore, there are “exemptions” which allows you to keep certain types of assets and puts value limits on the different categories.

If you have assets that exceed the allowed amounts, the Bankruptcy Court can take those assets, sell them and use the money to pay toward all of your debts. That’s fair. You get to keep a lot of stuff and your debt gets discharged.

However, its not fair to your creditors to allow someone to voluntarily get rid of their assets to friends or family and then file bankruptcy and also discharge their debts.

You have to look at the big picture. You have to realize the huge benefit you receive from having debts discharged.

Each state has different bankruptcy laws, and what those laws generally deal with is naming what assets the state considers exempt in bankruptcy. An exempt asset is one that the state will not force you liquidate when filing for bankruptcy.

The best thing for you to do is meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you do anything in order to find out your options and help assist you with the process. Sometimes, your perception of what may be at risk is not true with the reality of the bankruptcy law. So, find out before you make a mistake.

An informed decision is the best decision.

Over the past 27 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 2,300 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More