Can I keep my personal property after I file for bankruptcy? How? 20 Answers as of April 16, 2015

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GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
Yes. Meet with an experienced BK lawyer. He or she can give you a list of property you are allowed to keep in a BK filing. Be prepared to pay a small fee for the advice. You get what you pay for!
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 4/16/2015
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
State laws called exemptions can be used to allow you to protect property from creditors in bankruptcy. But you have to live in a state for at least two years to use the exemptions of the state you live in, and the exemptions have to be properly claimed on the bankruptcy petition.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/13/2015
Novakov & Associates, PLLC
Novakov & Associates, PLLC | LINDA S. NOVAKOV
Most property owned by individual debtors will qualify for an exemption under the bankruptcy statutes. If you own a lot of personal property that has great value, it may be that not all of it will be exempt from attachment by the Trustee, and could be required to be appraised or sold in order to satisfy creditors. Many individuals keep all of their personal property during the course of the bankruptcy, and if your property is pledged as collateral for a loan, there are various ways to "keep" that property as well.
Answer Applies to: Kentucky
Replied: 4/13/2015
EDWARD P RUSSELL | EDWARD P RUSSELL
You keep your property by way of exempting it from the bankruptcy estate. You should be able to use the federal exemption which are more flexible than the state exemptions though the state exemptions will afford about $390,000 in protection for your homestead.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 4/13/2015
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
If there is either no equity or if your personal property falls within your exemption amounts then you keep it all.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/13/2015
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    Generally yes, there are exemptions which protect personal property and assets.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    The Law Offices of Ryan F. Beach, PLLC
    The Law Offices of Ryan F. Beach, PLLC | Ryan Beach
    Yes, it is likely that you will be able to keep all of your personal property. However, a clear answer will depend on a number of factors, including what type of bankruptcy you file. Chapter 13 does not involve liquidation of assets. The only way you would lose personal property in a Chapter 13 is by surrendering it in the plan or failing to properly treat a secured lien associated with a piece of personal property. Chapter 7 is the type of bankruptcy that involves potential liquidation of assets. Ownership interest in assets or the equity you have in assets can be protected or "exempted" by using federal or state exemptions (states vary on what exemptions are available to a debtor). If there is any unexempt equity in your assets, those assets would be subject to liquidation by the Trustee. However, unexempt equity does not always equate to liquidation. It is possible to avoid a liquidation by negotiating with a Chapter 7 Trustee to pay a sum of money by a lump sum and/or installment payments. The willingness of a Trustee to negotiate on a liquidation issue will depend on the Trustee, the debtor's ability to come up with money, the nature of the asset, etc. You should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your situation. Most bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations. You can use that consultation to discuss your assets and get a better idea of whether or not there would be a liquidation issue and, if so, how it could be avoided or resolved.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    The rules are different depending on which state you live in but all states have the same general pattern. Most common personal items fall within an "exemption". That means you can keep the items in a bankruptcy. Typically there is an exemption for: A few hundred dollars of cash or bank accounts A few thousand dollars of equity in a car or truck Several thousand dollars of household goods, furniture, clothes and personal effects (nobody really wants your toothbrush or 1/2 used bar of Lifebouy anyway) All money in an IRA, 401(k) or other pension plan Some or all of your equity in your residence All your Social security and VA benefits A thousand or more of a "wild card" exemption that can be used for anything.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Absolutely. It depends on which chapter you file, the value of your assets, and what exemptions you have available to protect those assets. The only way to find out is to have a comprehensive consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your area. Doing a Google search for "Certified Bankruptcy Specialist California" is a good way to start.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    If your property is exempt then yes, you may keep it. The list of exempt assets is too numerous to list here, so you should discuss with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    The Salas Firm
    The Salas Firm | Ron Salas
    Yes up to certain limits depending on the nature of the property.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/13/2015
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    The answer depends upon what your personal property is worth, whether you own it free and clear, which state you live in, and whether you properly claim all exemptions to which you are entitled that might protect what you own. You really should consult with and retain an experienced bankruptcy lawyer if it is important to you to be able to keep what you have.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Tokarska Law Center
    Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
    Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if the property is exempt then yes. Whether any particular property, be it household goods, vehicles, claims for personal injury, tax refunds, etc is exempt depends on how much it is worth and whether it fits into the state provided exemptions. If you're going to try to file bankruptcy yourself you will want to educate yourself on the exemptions, among other things. If you will be hiring an attorney to represent you, then the attorney will do the work for you. He/she would tell you if there are any issues with your potential case including property issues. In a Chapter 13, debtor is allowed to keep NON-exempt property provided that the debtor repays its liquidation value during the bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    Yes of course that is the whole purpose of the exemptions.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You get to claim "exemptions" in your personal property. Every state has different version what you exactly you can keep. In California look at the California Code of Civil Procedure starting with Sections 703 and 704. You have to pick one set (703 or 704). You can't mix them up.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C.
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C. | Ken Parker
    Contact a Bankruptcy attorney to discuss your situation. Most clients keep their personal property.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter | Daniel J Winter
    Generally, yes, as long as it, along with money in the bank, is worth less than $4000.00; you need to discuss this with a bankruptcy lawyer before you file your case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    The law provides for many 'exemptions'meaning property which neither the Bankruptcy Trustee nor your creditors can take away from you. If you live in Wisconsin, you may choose from a Wisconsin or a federal list of exemptions. You should consult an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to advise. This kind of case has pitfalls: a lawyer can help you avoid them. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Bensamochan & Poghosyan LLP | Eric Bensamochan
    Most personal property has exemptions that can be applied in a Chapter 7. If there is no real property, then there is also the "wildcard" exemption which is over $20K.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2015
    Wink & Wink
    Wink & Wink | Gigi Wink
    You can keep what is exempt by law. Each state has different exemptions and usually it is best to use a lawyer to evaluate and maximize them.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/10/2015
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