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What Happens to Joint Bank Accounts in Bankruptcy?

Question:

If I file a chapter 7 bankruptcy in Utah would my joint account holder still be in debt with my debt? Will they have to pay for what I can’t? Or will they be clear once I’m clear? I don’t want to file if I’m going to put someone in debt because of me.

Answer:

When you declare bankruptcy, you must disclose every bank account that you own interest in. If you are simply an authorized signer of someone else’s account, you don’t have to list it. (It is a good idea to check with your bank to see how the account is titled with the bank.) If you have a shared account, all the funds in that account are property of the bankruptcy estate and the trustee can insist on that money (even if the money was deposited by another person.) There are ways to address this issue with pre-bankruptcy planning or during the bankruptcy itself, but this requires advice and help from a competent Utah bankruptcy lawyer.

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