For example, what if someone thinking about bankruptcy has stock. Can he or she sell that stock before filing bankruptcy and put the money in something else? Generally, if you file bankruptcy, the Court will ask you about your sales of assets in the months prior to filing. They will attempt to see if you have made any fraudulent sales or transfers in an attempt to avoid paying a creditor, during this time and they mainly check to see if you received fair market value for your assets. So, if you sell your stock, you will need to disclose that sale and will need to list the proceeds as an asset.
Further, the court may view your sale as fraudulent in certain circumstances. For example, in Florida there exists an exemption under bankruptcy plans for your homestead. In other words, creditors cannot use the equity in your home to satisfy debts. However, if you have a second home, creditors may use the equity therein to satisfy your debts. Thus the question arises: what if you sell your second home and use the proceeds to pay some (or all) of your mortgage on your primary home?
The 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCA) largely prevents these practices. The statute now says you might lose your ability to discharge debts if you transfer property solely to hinder, delay or defraud creditors. Courts are left to determine what constitutes hindrance, delay, or fraud, so lawyers are cautious in encouraging such practices. If you are thinking about filing bankruptcy, contact a Ponte Vedra Beach Bankruptcy Attorney at 904-685-1200 to discuss your options.