Nearly three years ago I made a purchase for a vehicle. I paid the full sum of the car out of my bank account but the title of the car was issued in my father's name. I am at the point right now where I have to file bankruptcy so my question is whether or I will still keep the car after I do. The car is worth more than the exemption.I want to add a comment since a few attorneys mentioned possible conveyance. During the time of the purchase, I had no debt. For the next 30 months I also have carried no debt and was cash flow positive at all times. It wasn't until a lawsuit six months ago that placed a judgement over me that has caused me to be insolvent.
Not really possible to say over the internet. You have to examine the issue of equitable title in your area, meaning, under what circumstances can the court look past the name on the title and consider the car your property, despite the name on the title.
Also you may have a "wild card" exemption available, to cover the non-exempt equity. Finally, options exist such as "buying out" the equity or getting an "equity loan" to cover it.
Another option, Chapter 13, where you don't lose any property at all, but make payments to equal the equity in the property you want to keep.
Bottom line - see an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your area and see what options exist.
I am not your attorney unless you and I have signed a retainer agreement. What I am saying is not legal advice. Do not act on this information without engaging my services, this is for consideration only.
Forget about the exemption. You cannot exempt what you do not own. If your father titles over the car to you and you have no exemption available there are options. But you MUST speak with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer in person.
Answers are provided for direction only; it is not a substitute for an office consultation.
New York, like other states, has its own exemptions that you can use when you file a bankruptcy. There is also a set of bankruptcy exemptions established by federal law (called the federal bankruptcy exemptions). In 2010, New York amended its laws to allow you to choose between the state and federal exemptions..
And you've done your homework as to New York exemptions versus federal exemptions
There is something calledcontinued concealment. We have no idea why the car was placed in your father's name three years ago or what you debt status was. If you placing your father's name so the creditors could not find it and you had debt at the time, there can be a claim of continuing concealment which if proved could be sufficient to deny u a duscharge.MEET WITH A LAWYER
I am in agreement with Mr. Schwartz that you would not be able to take an exemption for the car given that the car is not in your name. In New York, assuming a person does not own any real property and elects the Federal Exemptions, one would have up to $12,775 plus the vehicle exemption of almost $3,675 above all liens. Property that is purchased in names of other people can be treated as fraudulent conveyances by trustee who may seek the avoidance and return of such property to the bankruptcy estate. Given the facts, I would strongly urge that you speak to a very knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to discuss this further
All information given on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes only, and not legal advice. Only a lawyer, reviewing the underlying documents and facts, in a meeting in person or over the phone, can determine what course of action any person can take. No attorney/client relationship is created by participation on this site. No attorney/client privilege attaches to any communication on this site
My answer differs somewhat from the prior attorneys it will appear.
First, NOONE can tell you if you can keep the vehicle or not until they know more facts. Why? Because if you have NOT lived in NY for more than 2 years and file bankruptcy now another states law will govern (unless you lived in another state after moving from NY and then back again then it still might be NY depending on the facts). I believe you will see any attorney you call will tell you that. As a result, only when you know if NY law will govern can you then proceed to the next question of whether it is exempt.
Secondly, you have what is called equitable title, not legal title. I would have it transferred at some point into your name as you own it and paid for it. I am NOT in agreement with any attorney saying NOT to list it because if you paid for it, it is yours..no matter who's title it is in. Transferring back to your name before filing is what I suggest too as then it is in your name.
Thirdly, is it exempt under NY law if it governs? NOONE on here can tell you! Why? We don't know the actual value of the vehicle. Although you say it is worth more than "the exemption" many persons do NOT understand different exemptions can apply. For example you might use the car exemption of $3675 and the wild card of $12,200 to protect a car worth $14,875. But we don't know if you are married in which case it could be higher depending on the facts and when married too. Other assets may "eat " into that wild card exemption. Thus, sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Other issues are actually even more important I set forth below too. '
You need and want to enjoy your fresh start also. But the most important thing is to meet with an attorney as you asking this question means you have not. You care about 2 goals: keeping everything you have equity in and discharging all your debts. If you don't have any of the exceptions to discharge you will obtain that goal; most exceptions are set forth in 11 USC. 523 (Google it) like child support, some income taxes, traffic (in a ch 7) and criminal fines , and presumption of student loans. But some debts are dischargeable in a ch 13 but NOT in a ch 7 so you want to make sure and your attorney will discuss any such types with you also!
Your exemptions depend on what state you have lived in in the last 2 years as I stated above (NY govern? ) and thus if in your state, then your states exemptions will apply. Most persons filing keep everything they own but your attorney will confirm that with you when they learn everything you own and the equity thereof!
Some secured debts like homes, vehicles, other secured debts an attorney will discuss your options on also as you must list any debts; but that does not mean you will lose them unless you have too much equity or are in default on paying for them! Discuss those options if they apply with your attorney too.
But other issues can arise that can greatly harm your case. Just one example: If you paid back a relative $3,000 11 months ago and now file bankruptcy next week, the trustee can SUE that relative to retrieve that $3,000 (under what is called a preference) for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate. As a result, most attorneys don't charge to meet with them the first meeting so meet with one no matter what.
Many great attorneys can be found right here on AVVO in your state so look, call, and meet one as soon as you can.
You should also want to know when to file: is there an advantage of waiting versus filing now and who should you pay between now and then! Good luck and enjoy your later fresh start.
If the title to the car is in your father's name, you do not have to worry about exempting it. It won't be a part of the bankruptcy as it belongs to your father, not you.
Years licensed, work experience, education
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Publications, speaking engagements