How can I protect my mother's assets if I am on joint accounts and I declare bankruptcy?
My mother is elderly and added me to the titles of her mobile home and car to make transfer easier when she dies. We have a joint checking accounts to make life easier for us now and after her death, but she generated all the money in it - I will claim bare legal title. We also have both our names on a brokerage account; again, all the money was generated by her.
I will likely declare personal bankruptcy. I want to protect my mother's assets. Do I need to remove my name from the car and mobile home titles? Do I need to remove my name from the bank and brokerage accounts? I know bare legal title is a good argument, but I'm afraid the judge might not allow it.
2 attorney answers
You should hire an attorney who is experienced in bankruptcy law to proceed. It must be determined by your attorney if there is any equity in the assets you mentioned. If there is minimal equity or the states exemption statutes are enough to protect the equity in those assets then there is no need to transfer your interest in these things. You want to make sure you dont transfer your interest if there is equity, and file a bk and not disclose the transfers, as this could land you in trouble with the Trustee. Your best bet is to hire an experienced attorney before you do anything.
I am changing this category to Bankruptcy to get better visibility for the subject matter.
If you remove your name from title and the accounts before filing a bankruptcy petition, you should be sure to disclose that in your Statement of Financial Affairs where appropriate. The trustee would then need to file an avoidance action to try to reach your mother's assets, and from the facts you presented it does not sound like there would be a sound basis to do so.