What i wrote is self explanatory
If you owned the basis for your winning the car (like a raffle ticket) at the point of filing, then the trustee, who represents the interests of your creditors, can take the vehicle from you, unless you have any exemptions available to protect this asset. If you acquired the basis for winning the car after you filed your bankruptcy, then the asset is yours and can't be taken to pay your creditors.
The key date is point of filing, not when you meet the trustee (not a Judge).
This is based on your "winning" a car, as your question described. Different story if you inherit anything within six months of filing. If inherited a car within six months of your filing, then such asset would be property of your estate, subject to being taken by the trustee to distribute to your creditors.
By "winning," I assume you are referring to a raffle of some kind. If you possessed the wining raffle ticket at the time you filed, then it would be property of the estate. If you bought the ticket after you filed, the winning vehicle is yours.
If someone gave (meaning transferred title) you a car after you filed, it is yours. If person gave it to you before you filed, then it is an asset of yours that could be taken. If the reason the person was giving you the car existed prior to the filing, then it is part of your bankruptcy estate.
If you have an attorney, should inform him or her about whatever the exact situation you are asking about for a more accurate response.
Typically, a chapter 7 never appears before a bankruptcy judge, but does meet with the bankruptcy trustee at the meeting of creditors (§ 341 hearing). The primary exception is if the judge requires a hearing to determine if he/she will approve a proposed reaffirmation agreement that has been signed by the debtor and the lender, along with a motion to approve the reaffirmation agreement.
Except for the right to receive or receipt of assets that you acquire postpetition as a result of the death of another person within 180 days of the filing of the chapter 7 petition and/or the receipt of assets from a divorce proceeding or a separation and property settlement agreement, any asset you acquire after the date of filing (petition date), is the debtor's asset of the debtor and the bankruptcy trustee has no interest in that asset.
Creditors can only repossess or foreclose on collateral for their loans after approval from the bankruptcy court to do so or after discharge and closing of the chapter 7 case. I assume that if you win a car, after the petition date, there is no lien on the car. Thus, the only person that could have any interest in the car would be the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case.
One other exception would be if the asset acquired after the petition date would be if the asset was based upon the existence of some right that the debtor owned pre-petition. If the debtor purchased the lottery ticket before the petition date, the trustee would own that lottery ticket and would have the right to the winnings from that lottery ticket. If the debtor has a renters insurance policy and there is a fire that destroys all the debtors appliances, furniture, other household goods, clothing, etc., the trustee has the right to the insurance proceeds subject to any exemption that you can claim on those proceeds.
Answers and comments provided are for general discussion only. My comments are not to be considered legal advice and they do not create an attorney-client relationship.
Forgive me, but the question lacks a lot of information. i.e. how would you "win a car"? Have you already won the car? Buying entry into a contest gives you a potential win. That should be reported in your Bankruptcy Schedules. Then the question arises whether you win before you file your Chapter 7, or during your Chapter 7 or even within 180 days after your Chapter 7 is filed. Any contest that you apply for or enter prior to filing your Chapter 7 becomes the entry or the property of your "Estate", which belongs to the Chapter 7 Trustee. Your creditors don't take anything from you in Chapter 7. The Trustee acts on behalf of your creditors. He/she takes possession of your winnings, if any. You can use exemptions to protect some or all of your winnings, but we have no idea how much more property you need to protect, so we cannot tell you whether you would lose the car that you might win.
As you should be able to see, we do not answer hypotheticals, yet your question is full of uncertainty. The smartest thing you could do is find an experienced, well-reviewed attorney here on AVVO or on YELP.com. You cannot possibly get a clear answer to your question that would give you the direction and answers you seek.
A word of warning: Do not fail to tell the Trustee that you have won or may win a car. Failure to report properly will result in your potential loss of the Discharge you want. Worse, if it is determined that you deliberately hid the asset, you can lose your freedom and cool your heels in prison...really.
Now you should see that you needed an attorney from Day 1. Chapter 7 isn't as simple as you may have heard or believed. You can still get help from an attorney, but it will not be free. You will need to pay an attorney to help you get the answers that you need. There is too much at stake to fail to take this prudent step. You want your Chapter 7 to result in a discharge, and you want to keep as much of your stuff, including a car that you might or did win. It is not too late to deal correctly with this issue. It is also likely that you did not understand other matters in the Chapter 7 you filed, and this question tells me that you have other errors and omissions.
By the way, we don't know if you have an attorney. If you do, we would advise you to ask your attorney.
Another point you should understand is confusing us: You say that you will "See the judge in a little over a week." That would be highly unlikely, but we do not know when you filed your case and whether there are other issues that may bring you before a judge. We assume that you mean that you will appear before the Chapter 7 Trustee at the 341 Meeting of Creditors. However, we do not wish to guess, so our answer can only be conditioned upon, "If...". We cannot definitively answer your question because it leaves too much guesswork to do you justice.
We understand that Bankruptcy, even Chapter 7, can be very confusing. That is why you will always see that we recommend that you find an experienced, well-reviewed attorney here on AVVO or YELP.com to advise you based upon the clarification of all the uncertainties of your question, and review your filed paperwork for other mistakes. Please do not continue guessing whether you got it right. You can get it right with the help of qualified counsel. Take care!
Please understand that my answer assumes certain things that may not be true. You should seek competent, local counsel to get the full story and to seek expert advice. I cannot be certain that my answer is correct, and neither should you, based on the limited information you have provided. I ask many questions of my clients before I render a final opinion, so this answer is merely a general guideline to follow. Please seek competent counsel to help you right away!
Mr. Gist and Mr. Simon did a pretty amazing job of answering the question in detail, so I won't step on their toes. But I will add some information based on my experience with clients who "won" a car.
*TYPICALLY* when you 'win' a car, you don't actually win the car. What you win is a lease of the car, which somebody else is paying for. In these situations, you are usually given the option to chose the car, or an amount of cash equivilent to the present-value (google it) of the lease + costs. For instance, my client 'won' a mini. But she was given the choice of the mini leased for 3 years, or an amount of money (I think it was like $13,000).
Depending on how you filed the case, you can amend your papers right now and list the asset and exempt it. I'd be willing to bet the money in my wallet that you filed under section 703, which probably permits you enough of an exemption cushion to exempt the vehicle. OR amend it to list the asset as 'potential' asset under item 53 (in the newest forms).
The key is, you (if you're pro-se) or your attorney needs to amend this BEFORE the 341 meeting. This is immensely crucial because if YOU amend it, then you have a bit of insulation from the trustee trying to say you hid an asset. if the trustee finds out about it and makes you amend it, then there's an argument you intentionally hid it. Especially now that you know about it.
short answer: GET...AN...ATTORNEY... and also amend your papers.
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