Filed bankruptcy and had a hurricane claim for inside items …. can I keep it?

UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020

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UPDATED: Oct 14, 2020Fact Checked

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This check is for $19,000 and I didn’t know about it. It took forever to get to me. And it was during a natural disaster to replace some items inside my house like clothes.”

Asked April 30, 2019

1 Answer

Whether you can keep the money from the settlement or hand over it to the bankruptcy trustee depends on the type of bankruptcy you filed (Chapter 7 or 13), the type of settlement you received – through lawsuit or otherwise - and the exemption laws of Florida state. Remember, that anything that is said in this information is to give you an idea about what to expect and not a legal advice. To be sure, cross check with an attorney in your area.

If you filed Chapter 7, almost all your assets including the check you received becomes the property of your bankruptcy estate unless there is an exemption clause. Further, even if you received the check within 180 days of filing, you may have to handover it to the trustee assigned to your case. If the case is closed and it is is past the given time frame (180 days), you can keep it. If the check on the other hand is a part of a lawsuit settlement, then your settlement proceed is considered the property of bankruptcy estate even if the case in closed.

If you filed Chapter 13, the settlement you received will again be the bankruptcy estate’s property when the case is pending. This may last anywhere from three to five years. However, unlike in Chapter 7, your trustee cannot use this money to pay for creditors. So, the money will remain in your bankruptcy account. As mentioned before, in any case consult a lawyer before cashing the check. Find out if there are any exemption to your case since it is received as a part of bulk settlement from federal or state government. With a nonexempt settlement, you may have to pay more towards unsecured debts in the repayment plan, so ensure that as well.

Answered May 2, 2019 by fl_pc

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