When a debtor files a Massachusetts Chapter 7 bankruptcy case or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case their intention as to property must be stated. If the debtor does not wish to attempt to keep property an intention to surrender the property is stated.
If a debtor states an intention to surrender, the property does not automatically transfer to a secured creditor. To obtain title, a secured creditor must obtain relief from the bankruptcy stay of collection proceedings and then follow state law to obtain title to the present owner’s interest in the property.
I advise all of my clients that ownership translates to liability for injuries sustained on the property. A bankruptcy filing will protect a debtor for such claims existing before the filing, but not those arising after the filing. Therefore, it is imperative to keep the property insured until legal title transfers.