If I File Bankruptcy Will I Still Be Able to Use My Business Banking Account?

Question:

Dear Steve,

How soon after filing Chapter 7 can I start making checking account deposits and withdrawals?

As someone self-employed, I need to deposit and withdraw working capital into and out of my checking account.

I understand that some banks freeze checking accounts upon learning of bankruptcy. This would be disastrous for me, as would the trustee go after a person I have paid.

It’s my understanding that I’m allowed to make a living.

Will the trustee understand that my deposits minus withdrawals equal net profit/income/wages? Or will they assume these are gifts and the paying back of personal loans?

Janette

Answer:

Dear Janette,

That is certainly an issue that would be a concern if I was about to file bankruptcy and was self-employed.

I asked Chad Van Horn, a Florida bankruptcy attorney, what he thought.

Here is what he said, “This is a great question. Many people don’t realize that certain banks, mainly Wells Fargo, will freeze bank accounts pending the Chapter 7 trustee’s analysis of whether the money contained in those accounts should be turned over to the trustee.

Wells Fargo does this as their “duty” to protect estate assets.

If there hasn’t been a freeze within the first week of filing, it is unlikely that there will be one.

Post-petition earnings are never the property of the Chapter 7 estate, so if you wanted to be extra careful, you could open up a new bank account with a new bank.”

That’s some great advice.

One more option would be to have this discussion with the bankruptcy you are considering hiring. Then, they will know what your specific bank might do if it is something odd like Wells Fargo.

I can see the issue with a bank like Wells Fargo and why they might have that policy. However, bankruptcy can be a stressful experience, and you don’t need any surprises.

Lean on your bankruptcy attorney. There are great attorneys out there like Mr. Van Horn who will bend over backward to answer every client question and provide advice and feedback.

This situation might be a blessing in disguise. It will allow you to see what kind of care, compassion, and assistance your bankruptcy attorney will deliver. Sometimes, finding the right bankruptcy attorney for you is 75 percent of the effort to file bankruptcy and obtain the fresh start and legal protection you are eligible for.

Sincerly,
Steve

You are not alone. I’m here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don’t give up.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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