Chapter 11 bankruptcy and other matters create estate quandary

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Chapter 11 on Friday, December 4, 2015.

A Florida court recently dealt with the case of a surgeon’s estate. The complex estate was made even more complicated by the fact that the man was previously from another state, had filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and left behind more than one estate document.

According to reports, the man had several estate documents, including a number of wills that were described as being “dubious” in nature. The man was married, but he had fled his wife and his home state to come to Florida. Reports allege that the man had been dealing with serious issues, including drug use, and it is possible that he was not thinking clearly when he made several of the decisions leading up to this issue.

While in Florida, the man filed a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11, which is a type of reorganization, is most commonly used by businesses. However, it is available as a type of filing for some individuals. According to court documents, the man interfered with the bankruptcy process; the court called his actions “significant misconduct.” The bankruptcy proceeding was converted to a Chapter 7 filing and was actually transferred to a court in the man’s home state.

According to reports, the man died in the middle of the bankruptcy proceedings. He also left at least seven wills, none of which had been put through probate. Because of the bankruptcy and the complex probate issues, the man’s wife had to seek what she thought was hers through the court system. The most recent court decisions did not provide her with the amount she was initially seeking.

While the situations regarding this man are obviously complex and unique, the lessons learned are applicable for many people who are dealing with financial issues later in life. Bankruptcy can reduce debt concerns, but it can also have an impact on your heirs. Working with a legal professional to ensure bankruptcy and estate matters work together helps reduce the chance others will deal with complex probate matters.