Will I lose my car if I file for bankruptcy? 16 Answers as of March 08, 2011

I'm wondering if by filing bankruptcy I will lose my car. It is paid off and not one of my debts.

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David R. Fondren, Attorney at Law
David R. Fondren, Attorney at Law | David R. Fondren
The details you give are very vague. It will depend on your exemptions for where you live or previously lived. If you file a chapter 7 or 13. who is on the title. what the car is worth. if you have other cars that you exempted.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 3/8/2011
Law Offices of Dennis Baranowski
Law Offices of Dennis Baranowski | Dennis Baranowski
The question of whether or not you will lose your car if you file a bankruptcy depends on the value of the car, as well as the value of your other assets. In many instances, individuals are able to keep their cars as a result of the proper use of exemptions to take the vehicle out of the bankruptcy estate. It is impossible to provide a clear response to the question without knowing the value of the car as well as what other assets you may own and their value. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will be able to provide you with a complete analysis of the impact that filing a bankruptcy would have on your assets.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/6/2011
Bankruptcy Law Center
Bankruptcy Law Center | Bill Zurinskas
APPLIES TO CASES USING COLORADO EXEMPTIONS ONLY: Generally a debtor claiming Colorado exemptions will not lose their free and clear motor vehicle if the debtor's equity in the vehicle is $5000 or under. If the debtor is elderly or disabled a $10,000 exemption applies. In limited circumstances the aformentioned exemption amounts can be doubled.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 3/6/2011
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
In every state you have a personal property exemptions. Hire a lawyer
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 3/4/2011
Gus Johnson Attorney at Law
Gus Johnson Attorney at Law | Gus Johnson
Depends on the value and your state's exemption statutes.
Answer Applies to: South Dakota
Replied: 3/4/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Generally that does not happen because you are entitled to "exemptions" which allow you to keep certain items of property. Which exemptions and in what amount depend on where you live. Consult a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law | Robert G. Uriarte
    in most cases you can keep your car depending on its value. In California you may be able to utilize a wildcard exemption which will protect your vehicle even if its value exceeds the value of the exemption for a motor vehicle. Talk to a lawyer before doing anything.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/4/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    You will not lose your car filing BK. CA law protects up to $27K in cash and cars. Thank you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL
    Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL | Rhonda R. Werner Schultz
    Each state elects certain allowed exemptions. In Florida you can have equity in a car up to $1,000, plus any carryover from other exemptions not used. If you claim a homestead exemption you get another $1,000 worth of exempt assets and if you do not claim the homestead exemption you get another $4,000 worth of exempt assets. So, if your car, bank accounts, investment accounts (not retirement accounts), and furniture and furnishings, etc. are worth $3,000 you would get $2,000 of equity for your car if you are not claiming a homestead exemption.

    You will need to determine the value of your car (see Kelley Blue Book ) and determine if it is exempt. If not, you either need to surrender the asset to the bankruptcy court or buy it back for the nonexempt value.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    No. If the car is worth a lot of money that can change though. If you file bankruptcy and are driving a $50,000.00 paid off car that will be a problem. I would recommend you talk to an attorney. We do free consultations on all bankruptcy cases.

    The information provided on this website is for general information purposes only. The attorney is licensed in the State of Alabama. No answers or information on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    The Carmichael Firm
    The Carmichael Firm | Booker Carmichael
    You can exempt it as a tool of trade up to 7500.00 value.

    Please contact my office to discuss your option
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    That depends on the value of your car and what exemptions you have available under applicable state law. Exemption laws are based on the state where you resided for the 2 years prior to filing your bankruptcy case or, if you lived in more than 1 state during that period, in the state where you resided for the greater part of the 180 days prior to that 2 year period.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Not necessarily. There are a number of exemptions for personal property that may allow you to keep your vehicle. I would be happy to discuss this further with you. Please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If you are able to protect the value, you will keep it. It depends on the amount of equity in your car.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    The Orantes Law Firm
    The Orantes Law Firm | Giovanni Orantes
    Bankruptcy law allows Californian human beings to protect their assets by claiming them exempt under the exemption laws of California, which specify how much you can protect of a particular type of asset. Whether you can keep your car without any hassle depends on how much it is worth now (KBB or NADA may tell you). Once you know that, you will know if the car exemption, currently in the amount of $3,525 if you do not have equity in your house to protect, is sufficient to protect your car or you need to apply another law to protect it, such as the wildcard exemption for about $23,250. Getting this analysis right is enough reason to retain competent and experienced counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    Rarely does anyone lose anything in bankruptcy. However, you don't say in your question whether it is a new Rolls Royce or an old Toyota. The correct answer is probably no but you would need to give an attorney information about all the property you own, including bank account balances, cash in your pocket, value of life insurance policies, works of art, lotto tickets that are winners, etc. to determine if there are enough exemptions to protect all of your property. You should really have a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney to evaluate your case before you file. You cannot get out after you file a Chapter 7 without court permission so make sure you know what you are doing before you do it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/3/2011
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