Disclosure of Long-Ago Bankruptcy Causes Dilemma

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Q. Eleven years ago I filed for bankruptcy and my condo was foreclosed upon. Since that time I have rehabilitated my credit (scores well over 700 at this time) and remain as close to debt-free as possible. I bought a new car last year and the credit application asked if I had ever filed bankruptcy. I truthfully answered that I had, but more than 10 years previously. My question is, am I legally (or morally or ethically) obligated to disclose a past bankruptcy or foreclosure that occurred so long ago they no longer appear on my credit report or public records?

A. Im certainly not going to stand up here in public and tell you its OK to lie. But your question is an intriguing one, so lets see what other readers may have to say, and Ill report back.

Q. I am currently in the midst of a short sale. We had a great offer that would have paid the lender approximately 85 cents on the dollar. Unfortunately, the lender did not respond for the first 60 days and then the buyer pulled out, as did our backup buyer. We then were able to secure a new buyer for a lower price, about 75 percent of the mortgage debt.

The banks negotiator is never reachable she takes messages only. Perhaps we should stop making the monthly payments as the only short sales they are completing are those for loans in default. Our credit scores are 800 so I hate to throw those on the chopping block but we are at a loss as what to do. We leave messages as does our agent.

A. Im afraid I dont have any good solution for you. Im printing these letters (try to hold them down to one per week) in hopes that someone at the lending institutions will wake up and realize its worth setting up more efficient procedures. Theyd be better off dealing promptly with workout situations, youd be better off, buyers would be better off, and so would the real estate market and the country in general. …