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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Richmond, Virginia
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Hospitals are required to provide emergency service to you if you show up at the door.
By statute in Virginia, a spouse is liable for his or her spouse's emergency medical services and, by another statute, for necessaries, which could include necessary medical service, so both of you may be liable for the bill, even if only one of you requires medical service.
You are allowed to protect certain property from your creditors, in or out of bankruptcy. These laws are known as exemptions because the property is exempt from creditor process. Each state can either accept the federal bankruptcy exemptions or "opt out" and limit its residents to the state law exemptions and other non-bankruptcy federal exemptions. Virginia has opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions.
Your exemptions in bankruptcy are determined by where you have lived the last two years, or if you have lived in more than one place, where you lived the six months prior to that. You would probably default to the federal bankruptcy exemptions if you are not able to claim any other.
If you file a chapter 7 liquidation, you may lose the boat to liquidation by the chapter 7 trustee if it is not protected by your state law exemptions or the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Under the bankruptcy exemptions, each debtor can protect up to $21,625 in value in real or personal property that the debtor or a dependent uses as a residence, including a boat. Under Va. state law, each resident can claim $5,000 plus $500 for each dependent under the Homestead exemption, which increases to $10,000 when you are 65 or older, or $15,000 if you are a veteran with a service-related disability of 40% or more.
If you file a chapter 11, 12 or 13 plan bankruptcy, you can keep the boat, even if it has value that is not protected by your exemptions, but you must pay your creditors at least as much as they would receive if you liquidated.
You should check to see if you can hold title to your boat in your jurisdiction as tenants by the entireties with the common-law right of survivorship, which may protect it against the claims of the creditors of one spouse alone.
Even though you are living on a boat and you may intend to travel the world in the future, you may still establish or retain your legal domicile, or permanent home to which you intend to return, in a particular state, and you may want to investigate which state would be most favorable to you given your circumstances.
This is general information, not legal advice, and you should consult with a lawyer in your jurisdiction to discuss the applicability of the law to your particular facts.
Last edited by jameswilson29; 09-29-2011 at 08:32 PM.