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46 Questions Answered
- Q. I filed for chapter 7 in June 2019. Would have been sooner but elderly lawyer took 9 months to file a very simple case.
- A: There aren't a lot of good options here, but if your mother had estate planning documents like a will or a trust, they should be examined by an experienced bankruptcy attorney to see whether they contain language which might shelter some or all of the inheritance (a spendthrift provision).
- Q. Will a non-filing spouse be held liable for a spouse's medical debts in a Chapter 7? (In Colorado)
- A: I have seen an order dismissing a case where a spouse was sued under the family purpose doctrine for medical debt. However, I also recall that there's a state court judge who has held that a spouse can be liable for medical debts. There's not a lot of case law either way, so you should expect to have to fight it.
- Q. I live in a travel trailer, if I file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, will that count as my homestead exemption?
- A: You need to consult with an attorney for an in-depth answer because there are several different exemptions which might apply. That said, here is part of a decision in a Colorado bankruptcy case (Case:17-13786-JGR Doc#:35) which sets out some of the relevant law: C.R.S. § 38-41-201.6 was simultaneously enacted creating the mobile home homestead exemption. The initial exemption was limited to mobile homes as defined under then current laws. In 1983 the Colorado Legislature created Article 29 of Title 38 recognizing manufactured homes and the statute was amended to include manufactured homes as well as mobile homes. In 2000 the statute was amended to include trailers and trailer coaches as additional items of personal property to which the homestead exemption applies. Currently, C.R.S. § 38-41-201.6 reads as follows: Mobile home, manufactured home, trailer, and trailer coach homestead exemption (1) A manufactured home as defined in section 38-29-102 (6), which includes a mobile home or manufactured home as defined in section 38- 12-201.5 (2), 5-1-301 (29), or 42-1-102 (106)(b), C.R.S., that has been purchased by an initial user or subsequent user and for which a certificate of title or registration has been issued in accordance with section 38-29- 110 or pursuant to section 38-29-108, is a homestead and is entitled to the same exemption as enumerated in section 38-41-201, except for any loans, debts, or obligations incurred prior to January 1, 1983. For purposes of this homestead exemption, the term "house" as used in section 38-41-205 shall be deemed to include mobile homes or manufactured homes. (2) A trailer as defined in section 42-1-102 (105), C.R.S., or a trailer coach as defined in section 42-1-102 (106)(a), C.R.S., that has been purchased by an initial user or subsequent user and for which a certificate of title or registration has been issued pursuant to section 42-3-103, C.R.S., is a homestead and is entitled to the same exemption as enumerated in section 38-41-201, except for any loans, debts, or obligations incurred prior to July 1, 2000. For purposes of this homestead exemption, the term "house" as used in section 38-41-205 shall be deemed to include trailers or trailer coaches. Each expansion of the homestead exemption has been limited to expressly defined property. C.R.S. § 42-1-102(105) defines a trailer as "...any wheeled vehicle, without motive power, which is designed to be drawn by a motor vehicle and to carry its cargo load wholly upon its own structure and that is generally and commonly used to carry and transport property over the public highways.” (Emphasis added.) C.R.S. § 42-1-102(106)(a) defines a trailer coach as “...a wheeled vehicle having an overall length, excluding towing gear and bumpers, of not less than twenty-six feet, without motive power, that is designed and generally and commonly used for occupancy by persons for residential purposes, in temporary locations, and that may occasionally be drawn over the public highways by a motor vehicle and is licensed as a vehicle.” (Emphasis added.) C.R.S. § 42-1-102(106)(b) defines a manufactured home as a “...preconstructed building unit or combination of preconstructed building units, without motive power, where such unit or units are manufactured in a factory or at a location other than the residential site of the completed home, which is designed and commonly used for occupancy by persons for residential purposes, in either temporary or permanent locations, and which unit or units are not licensed as a vehicle.” (Emphasis added.) Mobile homes are defined in C.R.S. § 38-12-201.5(2) and C.R.S. § 5-1-301(29). Both definitions include the provision that to be drawn over public highways, a special permit is required.
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