Always an avid reader of news from around the world, I was a little amused by a recent feature story about a man in Perth, Australia who says he’s putting “his entire life” up for auction on the Internet. Ian Usher is in the process of a divorce. (I’ve written often in this bankruptcy blog about the fact that divorce is one of the three main drivers of bankruptcy, along with job layoffs and extended medical illness). Apparently, though, while this 44 year old has just gone through a divorce, he’s not anywhere near filing bankruptcy; in fact, he’s hoping to net half a million dollars from selling what he calls his “life package”, which includes his three bedroom home, his car, his dogs, his motorcycle, jet skis, spa, sky-diving kit, and giant TV screen. All these possessions, Ian says, cause him too much pain, reminding him of the wonderful past he shared with his ex-wife. As if all this isn’t curious enough, it gets “curiouser.” Usher is selling his job! Usher works at a rug store, and his employer has agreed to take whoever buys Ian’s life as an employee on a two week trial basis.

As a bankruptcy attorney with four offices around Indiana, I don’t think I’m in a position to pick up and move to Perth, but I learned that if I were interested in buying Usher’s “life”, bidding on eBay starts June 22, starting at just one Australian dollar.

On a less sensational note, this story reminded me that online auctions have indeed become one method for selling assets in Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy and in business bankruptcy situations. Since the goal of such liquidations is to raise as much money as possible to repay creditors, the auctioning of assets, whether via computer public auction, or private sales, needs to be done under the approval of the bankruptcy court trustee. Unlike Ian Usher, who has not turned to the bankruptcy system for protection and who is therefore free to sell whatever he has, to anyone he likes, at whatever price he chooses to accept, a bankruptcy filer must work within the relatively complex rules dictated by state and federal law.

Best completed with the professional guidance of a bankruptcy attorney, the bankruptcy process is serious medicine for serious situations. And dispensing that “medicine” is how I have spent every day of my professional life for the last twenty five years.