Can You Avoid Having A Plane Repossessed By Hiding It?

The pandemic has hurt almost everyone's finances, even the people who could afford to purchase private planes at one point. If your account is in the hole so far that the lender is threatening to repossess your airplane, you may be tempted to hide it. Here are two reasons why that's a bad idea and what you should do instead.

It's Against the Law

Purposefully hiding property to prevent it from being repossessed is against the law in most states. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with fraud or theft, because the asset technically belongs to the bank and denying the lender their right to collect it can be construed as an attempt to defraud them.

That's not the only way you could land in criminal court over this issue, though. If the lender is unable to recover the property the normal way, it will use replevin to force you to turn over the plane. Essentially, this is a court order requiring you to let the repo agent take the vehicle. Failure to comply can lead to contempt of court charges, jail time, and fines.

The good news is that you do have some legal protection. Repo agents can enter your property to get the plane, but only if it's freely accessible. They cannot pick locks, cut chains, or otherwise damage your property to get to their target.

Additionally, you are allowed to continue securing the plane as you've always done long before repossession became an issue. So, if you always store your plane in a locked barn when you're not using it, you can keep doing that without worrying about being accused of dodging the repo agent.

To make sure you stay on the right side of the law, though, it's a good idea to consult with an attorney about your rights and responsibilities. The lawyer can help you avoid adding legal problems on top of your financial ones.

It'll Make a Bad Situation Worse

Another reason why you don't want to actively dodge the repo agent is doing so will only make your money problems worse. The plane repossession company will charge the lender for each failed attempt to get the asset, and the bank will add those fees and others onto your account, resulting in a bigger loan balance.

On top of that, if you end up being criminally charged and convicted, that black mark on your record can cause long-term consequences. For instance, it could prevent you from acquiring or maintaining your pilot's license in some cases.

Facing an airplane repossession is distressing, but attempting to hide the asset is not the answer. Your best option is to contact a local airplane repo attorney who can help you use legal means to stop the bank from taking your asset.