Norwest Bank Nebraska v. Tveten

848 F.2d 871 (1988)


P had invested in various real estate developments. Initially, these investments were quite successful. The investments were highly leveraged. P personally had guaranteed the debt arising out of these investments. In mid-1985, things went south.  P, a physician, owed $18,920,000 on the personal guarantees. Prior to his petition, on advice of counsel, P liquidated almost all of his non-exempt property, converting it into exempt property worth approximately $700,000. It took 17 transactions to do this. All of the liquidated property was converted into life insurance or annuity contracts with the Lutheran Brotherhood, a fraternal benefit association, which, under Minnesota law, cannot be attached by creditors. P concedes that the purpose of these transfers was to shield his assets from creditors. Minnesota law provides that creditors cannot attach any money or other benefits payable by a fraternal benefit association. The Minnesota exemption has no monetary limit. The creditors objected. The bankruptcy court held that P had abused the protections permitted a debtor under the Bankruptcy Code. The court concluded that P intended to hinder and delay his creditors. Accordingly, the bankruptcy court denied a discharge. P appealed.