Does the trustee in a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy have the right to “sell’ me back my survivorship interest in my home to prevent a stalking bidder from buying it?

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Does the trustee in a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy have the right to “sell’ me back my survivorship interest in my home to prevent a stalking bidder from buying it?

The trustee in my Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy has filed a motion to sell my survivorship interest in my home back to me for $12,000 , payable in 15 monthly installments of $850. He said this will prevent a “stalking bidder” from buying my 1/2 of the joint tenancy survivorship. Is this legal? He says that all proceeds will go to pay off the claimants but it sure seems like he’s shaking me down for cash, and probably splitting the proceeds with my attorney.

Asked on April 17, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Tennessee

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Well, a stalking horse is usually used in bankruptcy as what the floor seems to be for the other bidders when purchasing assets.  I don't see how in a Chapter 7 a trustee can make you buy back for $12,000.00 when you have no monies (whole point of bankruptcy) to begin with. It seems to me that either the trustee is confusing what could be your homestead exemption with liquid assets. If you are a joint tenant, then either your spouse or another owner is the other joint tenant. This is going to cause a liquidation of the home unless you reaffirm (court and lender agree) your debt. A stalking bidder buying a half interest in a home is usually unlikely if the person knows there is another joint tenant who would then become a co-tenant with the new owner. It doesn't make economic sense in this climate. You may wish to speak with a bankruptcy attorney about this matter so that you have awareness of all of your options. Try legal aid if money is not readily available.


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