I’ve had clients ask me that numerous times. The answer is, essentially, six months for inheritances.
Being the beneficiary of a will or entitled to an inheritance in some other way prior to filing is not a problem. A right to receive doesn’t actually exist while the person with the money is still alive. This is because any will can be changed at any time and if you do something to upset Aunt Gertrude, she can just write you out of the will.
However, if Aunt Gertrude has passed on prior to you filing bankruptcy and her will is in the process of probate or going to be divided among the family members and you are one of the beneficiaries, that money will probably go into the bankruptcy estate and is subject to being distributed to creditors. Clients have asked if they can give their share to their brothers or sisters and avoid losing it to creditors. The answer to this is almost always no.
If you know you will inherit Aunt Gertrude’s money, but right now you are struggling and considering bankruptcy, it is better to file sooner rather than later. If Aunt Gertrude passes on before you file or UP TO SIX MONTHS AFTER YOU FILE, you may lose your entire inheritance. I have seen this happen before and it is very difficult for clients to have to go through.
If you currently have inheritance funds, it is imperative that you speak with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to decide your best course of action.
The moral of the story is make sure Aunt Gertrude stays happy with you and keeps you in the will and talk to an attorney about how to deal with you inheritance in a bankruptcy situation.