How do I protect my assets from my brother’s bill collectors?
March 25, 2014 9:16 PM   Subscribe

My brother went and got stage 4 cancer couple years ago without insurance. He’s not worked since and is now on public assistance. To maintain that assistance he will have to liquidate his shuttered small business. His sustaining chemo keeps him pretty sedate and very bored so I’d like to loan him my idle 3-D laser marker to do artsy-fartsy stuff. I’d put the marker in his house that he owns outright... do I have to worry about losing the marker to his bill collectors (health services debt accrued prior to public assistance)? If so, how do I loan him the equipment and protect my ownership? I don’t think his girlfriend is a co-owner of the house but I suspect his 4 year old son somehow is.
posted by tinker to Law & Government (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: what jurisdiction are you in? have the creditors taken their claim to judgment yet? how much is a 3-d laser marker worth?

in california where i used to practice, the creditors can't just pillage his house. it's a long, drawn-out process. do you and your brother communicate sufficiently regularly that he could timely advise you of legal developments? does your brother have a lawyer who can fend off shit? what you propose SEEMS moderately safe if all the unknown factors come down on your side. none of this is legal advice.
posted by bruce at 9:40 PM on March 25, 2014

Best answer: I don't really think there's anywhere that creditors can just pillage your house, at least in the US, thank god. I think along the same lines of bruce, my big concern would be whether he's going to be with it enough to actually let you know the state of things as they happen. Not that he'd deliberately mislead you, but that if he's unwell, mail might pile up. I've seen similar happen a few times where people miss (often because they're being avoidant, but sometimes because of poor health) the notifications of judgments and such and all of a sudden they're having to move on a couple days' notice, which would make getting a large and expensive piece of equipment back tricky.
posted by Sequence at 10:37 PM on March 25, 2014

Best answer: IANAL, maybe not a loan but a lease or rental for a token amount may give you more protection. That and affixing "property of yourcompanyname call 555-555-5555" signs on the outside of the gizmo.
posted by Sophont at 11:13 PM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you have the purchase receipt in your name with the serial number of the equipment, then you can prove ownership. I second the sticker idea.
posted by Gyan at 4:35 AM on March 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: bruce: yeah I should have mentioned, he is in Arizona. The used marker is worth ~$25K but I need to worry about timely replacement cost come the day I need my spare. I'm a 14 hour drive away but most of my family is there available to help.

Sequence: I have the same worries. A few years ago I was surprised how quick business equipment changed hands as the company folded (a truck drove to to reposes a die slicer just an hour too late... although we had never made a payment the tool was now to be divvied up between all creditors).

Sophont: I like the rental agreement idea. I am planning to put my asset tag on it, I may even be able to marker to write on itself.

Thanks all.
posted by tinker at 8:48 AM on March 26, 2014

This seems like a big risk to let him "do artsy-fartsy stuff." Isn't there something else you could provide him that would entertain him but not put such an onus on you to protect your assets? You're being generous, but it's perhaps to a fault. I hope you can help your brother without potentially hurting yourself, and causing resentment and a rift.
posted by Capri at 1:08 PM on March 26, 2014

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