Wednesday’s True Life Personal Bankruptcy Vignette – the Case With Casey

April 17, 2013 12:27 am Published by

Since this week’s Bankruptcy in Indiana articles are being devoted to vignettes that emphasize the way the new bankruptcy laws of Indiana work, it’s interesting that a new story about Casey Anthony is just now playing out, but this time in bankruptcy court!  This news has certainly been a topic of conversation around the five Mark Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices, I can tell you, and not because we’re into murder cases.

“Miss Anthony, who was acquitted almost two years ago of killing her daughter Caylee, filed for bankruptcy in January and appeared in court last month, claiming she has debts of almost $800,000,” reports (One of my colleagues, a Columbus bankruptcy lawyer, brought in a printout of this online story to show this is a topic of conversation overseas as well!) For any debt consolidation lawyer offering personal bankruptcy services, the fascinating aspect of the case is the debate: Will the bankruptcy judge allow the rights to Casey’s life story to be sold by the trustee, with the proceeds used to pay off her debts?

Since my purpose in writing about real life cases is to help clarify the way the individual bankruptcy legal system works, let me first explain some basic facts:

  • Casey Anthony herself does not want to sell her story.
  • Most of the money she owes is to her defense lawyers.
  • The bankruptcy petition claims she owns just $1000 in assets

So what are the legal issues here?  Isn’t it true that a debtor’s assets can be sold by the bankruptcy trustee and the money used to pay creditors?

Yes, but each state has statutes that determine which assets can be kept when one is filing bankruptcy. Since I helped write the portion of Indiana bankruptcy law that covers exemptions, I know that many individual debtors, along with business owners in debt, fail to take advantage of those exemptions.

The other thing that bears repeating has to do with a myth that debtors lose all their assets. Truth is, not only don't most people lose everything they have, most get to keep everything they have!

The interesting issue, from my viewpoint as a lawyer for bankruptcy, is that in bankruptcy, everything is measured on the day of filing and what the situation is on that day.  On the day Casey Anthony filed personal bankruptcy (and to this very day) there WERE NO MEMOIRS, no book, no rights.  So the question is, how can something that didn’t exist be now created and then sold to satisfy Casey Anthony’s debts?!!!  That’s what the Florida bankruptcy court judge will need to decide.


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This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

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