However, before you become alarmed, allow me to elucidate. A trustee is a person, just like you and me (though you may find this hard to believe as they divide your belongings...just saying). Consequently, the process of defining and distributing your bankruptcy estate is inherently subjective.
Many of my clients anticipate this to be a straightforward, black-and-white procedure. Not always is this the case. While there are general guidelines that the majority of trustees will adhere to, it is sometimes impossible to predict whether a trustee will object to a particular set of facts.
Typically, I advise my clients that they should attempt to provide for their daily needs for a period of six months. Extending this definition to include your current superfluous expenses or attempting to enhance your current property or lifestyle puts you in perilous territory.
Sounds rather ambiguous, huh? Indeed, that is the case. In most cases, however, I believe common sense will prevail. Paying for fuels to commute to work or a suitable electric/natural gas bill? You're undoubtedly golden. Paying six months of premium cable service with DVR, HD, and 1,234,545,776 channels? That could pose a dilemma.
Want another illustration? Purchasing groceries, including additional frozen foods to stock your garage's standalone freezer? I believe that will pass with flying colors. Purchasing gift certificates for some of Phoenix's finest restaurants or stocking your wine cellar with costly vintages? Most likely not.
To combat subjectivity, we legal types typically rely on prior court decisions to elucidate certain gray areas. Today, I'd like to discuss several aspects of grocery store gift cards.
Don't grocery store gift vouchers make sense? According to the list of exemptions, you are entitled to six months of sustenance. And how is it possible to provide six months' worth of sustenance without a gift card or credit? It's not possible.
Consequently, it makes sense that this was once the norm, and I would advise my clients to purchase grocery gift vouchers equal to approximately six months' worth of groceries.
Now jump ahead to April 2009! A chapter 7 bankruptcy petition was filed in Arizona by a debtor who claimed as a schedule C exemption a Fry's gift certificate with a face value of $7,000. Now, the trustee would have nothing to do with this. As we all know, Fry's sells a wide variety of products (gift certificates, patio furniture, and electronics), and she immediately objected to this argument.
What was the court's decision? In the end, they took the trustee's side. The Court acknowledged that the exemption does not apply to gift certificates and gift cards.
The court acknowledged the debtor's argument that the Arizona exemption did not require the food or petroleum to be """"in kind"""" in order to qualify as exempt.
However, the clincher was that none of the other exemptions qualified. You can envision that if the court ruled in favor of the debtor, this argument would be used to support the fact that all types of gift certificates qualify for one of the numerous chapter 7 consumer exemptions.
What is the lesson to be learned? Gift vouchers for groceries are no longer fashionable. Regarding the prepayment of utility bills, see my follow-up article.""
" - https://www.affordablecebu.com/