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Top Ten Bankruptcy Mistakes: Payments to Friends



Payments to Friends

As discussed in other postings, the Bankruptcy Code is a type of statutory equity. The concept of equity is basically to do what is right and fair to all of the interested parties to a proceeding in bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Code has several enforcement mechanisms to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.

One of these mechanisms is the power afforded to the Trustee to set aside unfair payments or transfers. When a bankruptcy case is filed all of your property becomes a part of the bankruptcy estate. 11 USC 541. The estate is appointed a Trustee by the Court. It is the duty of the Trustee to investigate the financial affairs of each debtor and to represent the estate for the best interests of all creditors.

To operate effectively the Trustee is given certain tools under the Bankruptcy Code. Among these is the power to go after and recover from third-parties preferential transfers that the debtor made before the bankruptcy. Specifically, 11 USC 547(b) allows the Trustee to recover property for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate and all creditors from a creditor who received a payment, or amount of a past indebtedness, when the debtor was insolvent, within 90 days before the filing, which allowed that creditor to receive more than it would have received as a distribution from the estate.

Thus, the money received by a creditor, out of turn or in preference, to others can be ordered turned over to the Trustee by the Judge. This is done so that all administrative and creditor claims are treated fairly.

[Guy Vining, a bankruptcy attorney, in metro-Detroit, maintains his office in Taylor, Michigan, where he serves the downriver communities of Monroe, South Rockwood, Gibraltar, Brownstown Township, Grosse Ile, Woodhaven, Trenton, Southgate, Riverview, Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Wayne, and Ecorse. If you or a family member of friend would like a no-obligation no cost consultation/financial analysis, just call or E-mail Guy Vining of Vining Law Group, P.L.C to schedule a meeting.]


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