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Canoga Park, CA |

How would a bankruptcy trustee find out about any money you might get after you have filed for bankruptcy? For example: someone gives you money as a gift that you were not expecting and you don't let them know about it after you have filed your petition? Do they have access to what you deposit into your bank accounts or anything like that? Do they monitor what you do financially until the discharge and case is closed?

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Attorney answers 3


As a general rule, a bankruptcy trustee doesn't care if you get money after filing bankruptcy from sources such as a gift. The bankruptcy trustees care about money you are legally entitled to get after filing bankruptcy, such as from an account receivable, inheritance, or insurance claim. The bankruptcy trustees have access to the USDOJ computer databases (the same ones available to the FBI & local law enforcement) and of course, court records. If a bankruptcy debtor fails to disclose an asset that s/he is legally entitled to receive, that asset will be forfeited. Insurance companies regularly check bankruptcy filings before paying any claim because if the claim isn't listed as an asset, they don't have to pay it. And then there is the false friend that the debtor confides in that reports this situation. Hope this perspective helps!


I have read your other questions and I have an idea where you are going with this. Please be honest.

1. You have a LEGAL responsibility to inform the trustee about certain post-petition events (inheritances, lottery winnings and other windfalls within 6 months of filing a Chapter 7 and at any time during a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11).

2. You have a MORAL obligation to inform the trustee if your financial situation changes dramatically to the point it would be unfair to keep the windfall and leave the creditors with little or nothing.

3. You have a LEGAL and MORAL responsibility to be honest when you complete your schedules and when you answer questions posed by the Trustee.

4. If you eschew all of these, the Trustees have the full resources of the FBI and US Attorneys to investigate and prosecute bankruptcy fraud, which is a federal criminal offense.

You should learn your responsibilities and follow them to the letter and spirit of the law.

Good luck.

If you need further clarity, please email me at MICHAEL@MIRELAND.US Answers to questions are for general information purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. This is not legal advice, simply information. You SHOULD NOT act on this information without consulting a competent bankruptcy attorney in your area and providing ALL relevant information.


You tell them because that is your obligation. Your attorney can likely categorize the funds in a way that will make them untouchable by the trustee. If not, then you will turn the funds over to the trustee to pay your debts.