I'm a naturalized US citizen originally from South America. A property (a small house) in South America that was in the family was mistakenly put under my name for just a few months. The problem has been corrected. And for the past 2 weeks, it now appears under my sister's name. The property isn't mine nor can I afford the upkeep or maintenance of it and I cannot afford to travel to check up on it. Will this pose a problem for me when I file chapter 7? Will the trustee be able to track down this property if it's no longer in my name? Does a trustee automatically check to see if all bankruptcy applicant's have foreign property if they weren't born in the U.S.?
I had some sympathy right up to the point where you asked, "Will the trustee be able to track down this property ..." If you think that way, you are headed for perjury and bankruptcy fraud. You must disclose the transfer and accept whatever comes as a consequence. Be smart -- retain a bankruptcy attorney, who will properly advise you.
3 lawyers agree
Employment / Labor Attorney
Merely holding title to a property does not make it yours. However, because it was under your name and transferred to your sister within the past 2 years, you should disclose it to the trustree and explain who the property actually belongs to and why it was under your name during the time that it was. If you can show that they property was being held for someone else who paid the taxes, collected the rent, etc. there is a good chance that the trustee will not pursue it. Also noteworthy is that a trustee may not deal with the headache of liquidating a foreign property even if he/she determined that the property does belong to you. If the property is worth a significant amount and there is little support to show that it does not belong to you (even though title was under your name), you just might not be a good candidate for bankruptcy at this time. I suggest consulting with a local attorney to evaluate your options.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
Your best and safest course of action is to always disclose truthfully and honestly. If the title was under your name for only 2 months by mistake, and if you are not the owner, then you probably have very little to worry about.
You should definitely retain an experienced bankruptcy attorney to assist you on this matter.