Bankruptcy Basics

Can I Transfer Ownership of my Car Before Bankruptcy to Keep It?

Cars are a common point of concern when filing bankruptcy. See a related article – Can I Keep my Car After Bankruptcy? When facing bankruptcy, you may need to figure out how to keep your car. One strategy that people often think of is to sell their car to a family member or friend, then buy it back after filing bankruptcy. You may be thinking that you can hide your car this way – by having a family member or friend technically own the car during your bankruptcy, you may think the court can’t find it. But is this a good idea? The fact that you have to ask probably tells you the answer.

Can I Sell my Car to a Family Member, then Buy it Back After Bankruptcy?

Talk to your attorney before you even consider doing this. Many attorneys may say absolutely not – under some circumstances this may be considered bankruptcy fraud! Individual circumstances may vary, but in general, hiding an asset during your bankruptcy in this manner is considered fraud.

This is a fairly common tactic that people think of before filing bankruptcy, which means that attorneys and judges have heard it a thousand times. Your attorney may have a strong opinion about this that you should hear.

Talk to Your Attorney!

One reason you hire an attorney is to help you plan out how to handle your debts and assets during your bankruptcy. Disclose all of your assets to your bankruptcy attorney when planning your bankruptcy and they will help you figure out the best course of action. If you need to protect some of your assets, talk to your attorney about it, and they can advise you on how to do so. There are alternatives available to protect your car (see the related article linked above), but hiding an asset will probably not be a strategy your attorney suggests.