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What if I can't retrieve the secured property to give back under chapter 7 bankruptcy texas law

Houston, TX |

If I can not get back the boat that I surrendered in a chapter 7 bankruptcy what will happen? I stored the boat at a friend of mines property that lives in the valley I tried to contact him several times to pick up the boat but can not find him. I've been told that he is in jail in Mexico. I have no idea how to get to his Ranch in the Valley where the boat is stored. What can I do?

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Attorney answers 3


Who cares? You surrendered the boat, so you no longer have an interest in it. The Chapter 7 trustee's job is to locate and liquidate any non-exempt or surrendered assets that have some value, so it is the trustee's job to locate the boat and sell it, if he wants to do so. Of course, you are required to cooperate with the trustee and not withhold any information that you might have that would allow the trustee to do his job, but it is his job to locate the boat, not yours. Unless a creditor files an action against you to prevent this debt from being discharged, once the bankruptcy is over, you won't owe anything on the boat anyway. Let the creditor and the trustee worry about that.

Gary D. Bollinger

Gary D. Bollinger


I read the question to be addressing repossession by the Creditor, not liquidation by the bankruptcy Trustee.


You should give the Secured Creditor all the details that you know to the location of the boat including the name and contact information for the missing friend. The Creditor will then determine if it is worth it to them to find and retrieve the boat. If you did not try to willfully deceive the Creditor or hide the asset, it is not your responsibility to deliver the asset back to the Creditor.


I agree with the answer given by the Dallas lawyer, if you have information that would help them locate the boat, have your bankruptcy attorney send a certified mail letter to the lender and give them what information that you have. Make a record that you did everything you could to help them locate the boat.

While bankruptcy may eliminate your civil liability to repay the debt, we have a statute here in Texas, Sec. 32.33 of the Penal Code, called Hindering Secured Creditors. If your creditor got the idea that you had hidden or taken the property with the intent to keep them from repossessing it, they could try to file a serious felony criminal charge against you. The Bankruptcy Code does not stop criminal prosecutions, and you could potentially be ordered to make restitution as a condition of probation if you would later plead to the charge.

That's why I would make sure the creditor knew that you were trying everything you could to help them recover the property.

No, you don't have an obligation to deliver it to them, but on the other hand, I think you have at least a moral obligation to try your best to locate the property and give them the information that they need to get it back so that they can sell it and apply the proceeds to your debt. And I would not want them to get the idea that you were trying a "fast one" and trying to steal it from them, "in cahoots" with your friend or otherwise.

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