What is the bankruptcy estate?
The bankruptcy estate is all of the debtor’s property as of the date of the bankruptcy filing, wherever located and by whoever held. Every possible interest (contingent, partial, legal or equitable) goes into the bankruptcy estate. Although there are exemptions which allow a debtor to keep all or a portion of his debt, the property is still technically considered property of the estate.
The concept of the estate applies to property owned at the time of filing. Most of what the debtor acquires after the date of filing will remain the property of the debtor. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule.
If the debtor inherits money or property within six months after his case is filed, that money or property will become property of the estate to the extent that it cannot be exempted.
If the debtor receives marital property settlements that arise from a pre-bankruptcy divorce or separation, then that property becomes property of the estate to the extent that the property cannot be exempted.
Tax refunds that are received after the date of filing become property of the estate to the extent that they cannot be exempted.