Be Careful When Accepting Voluntary Payments from a Discharged Debtor

The Bankruptcy Law Network Blog answers an interesting question: despite receiving a bankruptcy discharge, can a borrower then voluntarily repay discharged debt? The answer is “Yes”, but the better question may be “Why?”

The post notes that a borrower may have personal reasons for repaying some discharged debts. Examples include a debt owed to a family member or to a creditor who is crucial for future services (i.e. maintaining a business trade credit relationship).

The post, however, doesn’t consider the creditor’s perspective in this invariably risky situation.  If you are prohibited by the discharge injunction from affirmatively collecting the debt, how do you accept payments without crossing the “no collections” line?

There’s no easy answer to that question. A prudent creditor must be very careful in all discussion and documentation of the discharged debt, and it should keep such debts separate from all post-bankruptcy, non-discharged debt.

Frankly, the creditor should treat such payments just like a “gift”–there’s no obligation for the payment, and you can’t force or request that the payment be made.

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