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Legal Memorandum: Assets of a Bankruptcy Estate

Issue: Under federal bankruptcy law as applied in the First Circuit, does a bankruptcy trustee effectively abandon a claim that is property of the estate if the claim is not included on the debtor’s schedule of assets, but is disclosed to the trustee at the 341 meeting of creditors?

Area of Law: Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights
Keywords: Bankruptcy estate; Debtor's schedule of assets
Jurisdiction: Federal, Massachusetts
Cited Cases: 70 F. 3d 183
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 07/01/2007

The case law is virtually unanimous that an asset of a bankruptcy estate is not abandoned if it is not listed on the debtor’s schedules of assets.  Two First Circuit cases that apply this rule were found:

·                     Jeffrey v. Desmond, 70 F. 3d 183, 186 (1st Cir. 1995) (discussion of a pending case with the trustee at the § 341 meeting is irrelevant when the claim was not listed on the schedules; burden is on the debtor to list all property on his or her schedules)

·                     In Re Rothwell, 159 B.R. 374 (Bankr. D. Mass 1993) (property would not be abandoned by operation of law when it was not listed on the debetor’s schedule of assets)

·                     See also In Re Kottmeier, 240 B.R. 440, 443 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 1999) (discussing rule and citing cases).

Only two—one from the Seventh Circuit, and one from […]

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