Can the trustee seize money that I received after I filed?

3,730 families have filed bankruptcy using Upsolve

In a Nutshell

Whether the trustee can take money you receive after filing your case depends on whether you were entitled to the money at the time your case was filed and how it was listed on your forms, if at all.

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts.  
Updated July 30, 2020

That depends on four things:

  1. Whether the funds were an unexpected gift,

  2. When you became entitled to receive those funds if they were not a gift,

  3. Whether you reported them on your bankruptcy filing, 

  4. And whether you have remaining exemptions that can cover the funds.

If you received the funds as an unexpected gift, they are yours to keep.

If you became entitled to receive the funds after you filed (ie. - wages you earned after filing), they are yours to keep. Keep in mind, your first paycheck after filing may include wages you earned before your filing date, depending on your pay periods.

If you became entitled to receive the funds before you filed and you reported them on your bankruptcy forms, you will be able to keep any portion of them that is covered by a bankruptcy exemption. The trustee can seize the rest.

If you became entitled to receive the funds before you filed and you DID NOT report them on your bankruptcy forms, the trustee can seize all of the funds.

About the author
Attorney Jonathan Petts

Jonathan Petts has over 10 years of experience in bankruptcy and is co-founder and Board Chair of Upsolve. Attorney Petts has an LLM in Bankruptcy from St. John's University, clerked for two federal bankruptcy judges, and worked at two top New York City law firms specializing in... read more

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.


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