When consulting with a bankruptcy attorney, it is very important to share with the attorney a complete listing of all the “real property” that is owned. This may seem very easy and straightforward. Often, we have folks that forget to tell us about real property that they have inherited. They don’t think about that inherited property being property that “they” own. The issue often becomes murkier for them when they own the inherited property with other family members, possibly brothers and sisters.
Even if you have inherited real property, also known as real estate or land, you still have what is known as a “property interest” in that real estate or land. Also, any structures that have been built on that land, such as houses, barns, and the like, are also considered part of the land and are valued with the land and you have a “property interest” in them as well.
For example, if you own the real property with family members, say 2 brothers, then you would only have a one-third interest in that land, but, nevertheless, it is a considered a property interest under the bankruptcy law. It must be disclosed to your attorney and listed in a bankruptcy petition.
Often, folks will only tell us about inherited real property when we start asking them questions about any inheritances that they may have received in the past. I don’t believe they are intentionally not telling us about the real property, it just seems that they don’t think of it as really “theirs”. When we do find out about the inherited real property, and ask why they didn’t tell us about it when asking earlier if “they” owned any land, they often say they just did not consider that “their” property, in the sense that they owned it outright.
The role of the bankruptcy attorney, and the questions they ask, can be very crucial in discovering all of the real property interests of a debtor. It is always best to share with your attorney any thing of value that you own or even have any dealings with whatsoever.
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