Helming v. Reed (In re Helming)

Case Type:
Case Status:
No. 16-6033 (8th Circuit, May 04,2017) Published
Eight Circuit BAP affirmed ruling of bankruptcy court (W.D. Mo.-Jefferson City) denying debtor's claim of exemption in annuity under Missouri exemptions. Annuity, including income, was not exempt under Missouri exemption for payments made on account of death or age despite debtor's age and purchase of annuity upon her husband's death. Right to payments were not contingent on age or death. Trustee could have claimed value exceeding undervalued amount claimed by debtor and avoided fight; debtor had claimed exemption only in one monthly payment of $100k annuity that paid $436 monthly.
Procedural context:
Trustee objected to debtor's claim of exemption, and bankruptcy court sustained objection. Debtor appealed to BAP for 8th Circuit.
Debtor filed chapter 7 petition, claiming exemption in $100,000 single premium annuity purchased from insurance company in 2013. Debtor valued annuity at $436, which is the monthly payment she receives from it. Debtor had purchased annuity following death of her husband and sale of marital residence. Wife transferred $52k of proceeds of home sale to stepson, his wife, and their total children. Debtor elected for annuity to pay her monthly payments of $436 for life, with a guaranty of 20 years of payments. Monthly annuity payments commenced 30 days after purchase. Debtor attempted to sell tavern owned by corporation owned by husband, but was unsuccessful, leaving debtor obligated on debts secured by two deeds of trust on the building. Second mortgage holder foreclosed, with deficiency, then sued debtor on deficiency. Debtor filed chapter 7 thereafter.
Saladino, Schermer, Shodeen

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