Will I be able to keep my car when I file for bankruptcy? How? 15 Answers as of May 07, 2015

I’m thinking about filing for Chapter 7, but I can’t do it if they are going to take away my car. I have been financing my car for almost 3 years and have already paid off most of it and I have definitely already paid for its value. Can I keep my car after I file for bankruptcy? I need it to get around and for groceries so I can’t file for bankruptcy if they are going to take it away.

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Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
If you are current on your car payments, you can keep it in bankruptcy. You just have to agree to continue making the payments. If you aren't current on your car payments, then in Chapter 7 you can negotiate with the lender for a deal to keep the car or go to a Chapter 13 and pay off the car over 3 to 5 years.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 5/7/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
IN a chapter 7 you would have to continue to pay for the car if you wanted to keep it. In a chapter 13 you can cramdown the debt to the current market value of the car. You would then pay that sum over the term of the plan.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 5/7/2015
Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
You really need to visit with a bankruptcy lawyer to get an answer to your question. The amount of equity you have in your car, and your ability to maintain the loan payments until completion are what will determine whether you can keep the car. The net value of a car that can be protected varies significantly from one state to the next. With what is at stake, it will be well worth the cost to hire an experienced lawyer to guide you through the process.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 5/6/2015
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
In Colorado you are entitled to keep a vehicle with $5,000 in equity, unless you are 60 or older, or you or your dependent are handicapped, then you are entitled to $10,000 equity in a vehicle. If you use the auto in your occupation, you can also add another $20,000 as a tool of the trade (not just to drive to and from work, but actually used in your occupation or trade).
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 5/6/2015
Novakov & Associates, PLLC
Novakov & Associates, PLLC | LINDA S. NOVAKOV
If you are eligible to file a Chapter 7, there are several ways to keep your car. Because the car loan is a secured loan, the car is the collateral for the debt. You can reaffirm the debt and continue to make monthly payments, assuming the Court will approve the reaffirmation. If you have access to some cash, you can offer to redeem the collateral - usually a cash payment for less than the amount owed, but close to the value of the collateral. Filing for bankruptcy is not an automatic loss of property. You should discuss your situation with a qualified bankruptcy attorney who can help you through this process and help you determine the best alternative for you.
Answer Applies to: Kentucky
Replied: 5/6/2015
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    Probably so, just depends on the equity in it, and what other assets you have. Can't say so for sure without knowing those other facts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/6/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    It would hard to image a case where you lose a car. In 30 years it has only happened in one of my cases.. The client had multiple cars. Every state is different when it comes to "exemptions". You can google your state and find what is available to you for a vehicle exemption.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    As long as your car is not worth more than $15,000 equity then it would be exempt and you would not be required to surrender your car to pay creditors. You would still be required to make the monthly payment to the bank on the car.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/5/2015
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    Yes, just keep making the payments.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    I would strongly suggested that you conference with a bankruptcy attorney prior to the time you file so that you fully understand what you are getting into. If there is significant equity in the car it will be considered an asset of the bankruptcy. There are insufficient facts presented to be able to counsel you further.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/5/2015
    Garner Law Office
    Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
    Most states have exemptions for personal vehicles, stated as a dollar limit on the equity in your car. The federal exemptions may or may not apply to you, but they exempt equity up to $3675. Most people are able to keep their cars through bankruptcy; however, you will need to consult with an attorney to find out which exemptions are available to you. Any non-lawyer giving you advice on exemptions would be practicing law without a license.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/5/2015
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    Many car lenders require you to sign a reaffirmation agreement to keep your vehicle. Unless the equity you have in the vehicle is substantially larger than that protected by exemption laws in your state, signing the reaffirmation and keeping payments current are usually all that are required. Back in the old days, you lost everything but the shirt on your back in bankruptcy. Good to know that some laws are better today.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/5/2015
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter
    Law Offices of Daniel J Winter | Daniel J Winter
    If you are current in your car payments, most likely, you'll be able to keep the car through a process called reaffirmation. Call an attorney now to review your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/5/2015
    Wink & Wink
    Wink & Wink | Gigi Wink
    Most people are able to keep their vehicles when they file for bankruptcy. This is because the bankruptcy exemption laws in the state in which you file give some protection for the equity in motor vehicles. For example, in Colorado you are allowed to keep $5,000 of equity (the value left over after any lien on the vehicle is calculated out) per filer (so, $10,000 for a married couple). That amount doubles if you are over 60 or disabled.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/5/2015
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    In Wisconsin, you can choose either a state or a federal list of exemptions. In either case, you can aggregate two exemptions on a motor vehicle. The Wisconsin exemption allows you $4,000 of equity in a motor vehicle, plus any part of the $12,000 household goods exemption which you do not use. Most debtors use only a small part of the household goods exemption. If you choose the federal exemptions, you can exempt $3,650 in equity under the motor vehicle exemption, and depending on how much equity, if any, you have in your homestead, you may be able to add an additional $12,250 or so to the motor vehicle exemption. If you are married, double the numbers. Find a good bankruptcy lawyer to advise and represent you. It's almost always worth the investment. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 5/5/2015
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