You will need to think About Your Checking and Savings Account. Financial planning before you file bankruptcy may include closing your bank accounts and moving your money to a different bank or credit union.
There are many reasons to change banks or credit unions:
First of all, you don’t want to keep your money at a bank where you owe money. You want to avoid a “set off”. Banks have the right to reach into your account and take money out to pay some other debt you may owe them – like credit cards, overdrafts and loans. It is not uncommon for a bank to claim money from your bank account and apply it as a “set off” against other money you owe.
Second, banks like Wells Fargo will freeze any accounts that have your name on them once you file bankruptcy. In theory, the banks say they are protecting assets for the bankruptcy court. The reality is, this type of bank policy creates a huge inconvenience for customers and does little to preserve any assets. The bankruptcy court did not ask the banks to do this and doesn’t want them doing this. If you are considering bankruptcy, avoid banking with Wells Fargo, Wachovia, Bank of America, Union Bank and any financial institution which freeze accounts.
If your account if not at one of the banks that freeze accounts, you will need to stop all automatic withdrawals. You may have set up automatic withdrawals from your bank account to pay medical or credit card bills that will be debts which are eliminated through filing bankruptcy. Even telling your bank to stop the draft or paying the stop payment fees is no guarantee that withdrawals will stop. It is so much easier just to close the account than to try and get money back from a creditor. In many cases you can close one account and open another one at the same bank, if you are satisfied with the bank’s service and you don’t owe the bank any money.
There are many other reasons as well that can pertain to your specific situation, which underscores the importance once again of speaking with a bankruptcy attorney to create a strategy that best meets your financial situation.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.