"Fraudulent Conveyance" -- sounds bad, right?

By Sam Calvert, Attorney At Law |

Blog by Sam Calvert, Attorney at Law

The Bankruptcy Code defines "fraudulent conveyance" as a transfer made within 2 years before the date of the filing of the petition, if the transfer was made with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any creditor, OR if person making the transfer received "less than a reasonably equivalent value" and was insolvent when the transfer was made. (This is a little abbreviated). Minnesota law refers to this as a "voidable transfer", which may sound less scary, but the statute of limitations is longer.

The roots of fraudulent conveyance law go back to 1571 -- the time of Queen Elizabeth I of England (really!).

The classic example of a fraudulent conveyance is that Bob is being sued because his business went under and in order to protect his 40 acres of hunting land in Cass County, he deeds it to his brother Ted without getting any payment.

Another example is that Bob sells the 40 acres of hunting land to his brother Ted for $5,000.00. On the surface that looks okay, but it turns out that the land was actually worth $50,000.00. In effect, Bob has made a gift to Ted of $45,000.00. A bankruptcy trustee (or, outside of bankruptcy) a creditor can go to court and have the transfer reversed.

Fraudulent transfers can a be unintentional. For instance, in a case called DeGiacomo v. Sacred Heart University, Inc., parents paid $64,000+ to a college to cover the tuition bill for their daughter, who was over age 18 at the time. A court of appeals held that the payment was a fraudulent conveyance, because the parents were insolvent when they paid the college.

These situations are why I ask if you have transferred something to a relative or friend in the past. If I know about the transfer before you file bankruptcy, we can evaluate the situation.

As always, if I can help you deal with your debts, call me at 320-252-4473.

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