As a reminder of the human toll wrought by the ongoing financial crisis, the bankruptcy of a 89 year-old WWII paratrooper will mean that he will lose his home and not see any money from the sale of his real estate.
Mr. Warren Bodeker filed bankruptcy due to the inability to pay a great deal of medical bills due to his deceased wife’s cancer treatment. The main issue is that he failed to disclose to the bankruptcy court $66,000 worth of gold and silver buried in his yard. Mr. Bodeker said that he did not consider the gold and silver to be an asset because it would be used for food and to pay property taxes.
This highlights the importance of not only seeking out an experienced bankruptcy attorney, but also of the necessity to disclose everything to your bankruptcy attorney.
An experienced Bankruptcy Attorney should have told him that, regardless of his stated intentions, the gold and silver buried in his yard needed to be disclosed to the bankruptcy court. If he had done so, the bankruptcy trustee would not have been able to threaten him with charges of fraud and force him to allow for the sale of his home.
All of your assets and all of your liabilities need to be put on your bankruptcy schedules at the time of the filing of your bankruptcy case. To do otherwise, risks criminal prosecution for fraud, regardless of how unimportant the information may seem.
Another issue of contention is the valuation of the home. According to Mr. Bodeker, the home is worth more than $300,000. However, the bankruptcy trustee, Christy Brandon, is only selling the property for $155,000 and contends that this amount is $5,000 more than the estimated value that Mr. Bodeker had quoted her. However, the trustee is not doing her due diligence if she is only relying on the amount stated by Mr. Bodeker. Rather, she should order an appraisal of the real estate property in order to determine the fair market value and make an effort to sell the property for an amount as close to the fair market value as possible.
Source: Fox News, “Bankruptcy forces 89-year-old WWII vet from home,” AP, June 24, 2012