Legal Term of the Day – Chapter 7 Trustee

“A person appointed in a chapter 7 case to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the unsecured creditors. (The trustee’s responsibilities include reviewing the debtor’s petition and schedules, liquidating the property of the estate, and making distributions to creditors. The trustee may also bring actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.) The Trustee works under the general supervision of the court and the direct supervision of the United States Trustee.” From website of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, www.njb.uscourts.gov

Legal Term of the Day – Setoff

A setoff occurs when a debtor owes a debt to someone ( a creditor) who possesses funds owned by the debtor, and the creditor then uses the debtor’s funds to pay off all or part of the debt. For example, you have a loan with a credit union where you also have a checking account. You fall behind on your loan payments. Your credit union then takes funds from your checking account to make the late payment. This kind of setoff may be allowed under Wisconsin law, and might be allowed after the debtor files for bankruptcy if the creditor makes the requisite motion and the court allows it. Debtors can avoid this scenario by simply keeping their depository accounts in separate institutions from where they borrow. Legal Action of Wisconsin, Bankruptcy, 16 (2012).

Legal Term of the Day – Trust

“A trust is an arrangement by which a person (typically referred to as the “grantor”, “donor” or “settlor”) transfers property to another person (the “trustee”) who holds the trust property for the benefit of certain person(s) (the “beneficiaries”). Priebe, Using Trusts in Estate Planning, Step by Step Estate Planning I, Priebe-1 (2013).

Legal Term of the Day – Exemption

“Freedom from a general duty or service to which most others are subjected; immunity from a general burden, tax, or charge.” Black’s Law Dictionary 295 (Abridged 5th Ed. 1983).  In Bankruptcy, it is the exemptions that allow you to keep some of your belongings. For most people who file for bankruptcy, they are able to keep all of their property. However, without proper planning and advice from a lawyer, many people lose property in bankruptcy that they had expected to keep.

Legal Term of the Day – Personal Representative

This term can cause some confusion because some states use this term while others use the term “executor.” Wisconsin uses the term, “personal representative.”  In either case it is “a person appointed by a testator to carry out the directions and requests in his will, and to dispose of the property according to his testamentary provisions after his decease.” Black’s Law Dictionary 294 (Abridged 5th Ed. 1983).

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