Will I lose my car if we file for bankruptcy? 25 Answers as of June 28, 2011

We have 2 vehicles - my car was given to me by my father when he passed away and we are making payments on my husband's car. We live in a rural area and he often goes away for work and I want to be able to keep my car, as it is much needed. Is there a way that we can file for bankruptcy and keep our cars?

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Financial Relief Law Center
Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
In most cases you will be able to retain your vehicles. It is also important to look at the exemptions allowed in your state to make sure the vehicles qualify as exempt property, and it also depends on what other type of property you have.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/28/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
You can use property exemptions to protect certain property including one car up to a certain amount , depending on your state, or the federal exemptions if your state allows for federal exemptions.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/3/2011
Dearbonn Law Offices
Dearbonn Law Offices | Ajibola Oluyemisi Oladapo
You may file for bankruptcy and keep your car by exempting it because you owe no money on it. As for your husband's car, you must re-affirm the debt and continue making payments or surrender the vehicle. ( you may not be able to keep your husband's car if you do not re-affirm the debt and continue making payments.)
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/1/2011
Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger
Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger | Michael Krueger
Each state either follows the federal exemption laws or they have their own exemption laws if they are an "opt-out" state. I practice in California, an opt out state. California has 2 different exemption laws; Section 703 has roughly $25,000 in personal property exemptions that will most likely cover the value of the vehicle in question. Section 704 has a $100k homestead exemption for debtors that have equity in their homes. I recommend discussing your situation with a bankruptcy attorney in your state to determine the best approach.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/31/2011
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
Most people who file bankruptcy keep their cars. Whether or not you are able to keep your cars depends on the value of the cars, the amount of the loans against the cars, and the exemptions that you have available to you. For help in doing the math, please call me for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C.
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C. | Alexzander Adams
    Your car exemption depends on the state you file in, whether or not you are married, what the value of each car is, and whether there are liens against the car. There are 51 statutory schemes to use depending on the facts of your case. Many times, debtors can keep their cars in bankruptcy. Other times, they cannot. It will depend on the facts of your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    It is a question of what exemptions are claimed in the bankruptcy as to whether you are allowed to keep both cars. Generally, cars are protected up to a certain value, but it depends on whether you are claiming California Code of Civil procedure Section 703 or 704. You need to consult with an attorney as to which exceptions you are required to use. Section 703 protects more equity in cars than Section 704.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    It depends on what Chapter you file under (7 or 13) and the equity in the cars. If your husband's car is worth less than the financing balance on it, it doesn't count, and for your car if it is worth less than $2,300, it is exempt in a Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 you would keep both cars regardless of value.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law
    Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law | Daniel Hoarfrost
    The exemption for a car is $3,000 per person.If your car is worth less than $3,000, then there's no problem.Assuming there's little or no equity in your husband's car, you and he can double up the exemption in yours to $6,000. My office is in Portland, OR.A Ch 7 costs $1,554 with court fees.Feel free to call me at the office if you would like to move forward on a Ch 7.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    California's Largest Family of Attorneys
    California's Largest Family of Attorneys | Doan Law Firm
    If your vehicles are fully exempted and you continue to make your payments (and stay up to date on them), you will most likely be able to keep them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    Normally, keeping your motor vehicles in Bankruptcy is not a problem. The factors that will need to be considered for determining if you will have to "pay" for some equity in the vehicle are: the equity in each vehicle; the value of the vehicle; and the exemptions in your district. In the event that you do not have enough exemptions and a part of the value of your vehicle is not exempt, you may have to come up with some money to keep the vehicle. Please talk to a Bankruptcy Attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Generally people keep their cars... but I do not know what yours is. So if it is a paid off vehicle worth *big bucks* the trustee might be interested in it. Check with a local attorney as exemptions vary from state to state.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
    It is possible, if you have enough exemptions to apply to it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Saedi Law Group
    Saedi Law Group | Lorena Saedi
    When you file for bankruptcy protection you are allowed certain exemptions in property. These exemptions allow you to retain property while still filing Chapter 7. I am assuming you are considering a Chapter 7 and not a Chapter 13. Since every state is different in regards to the exemptions allowed I would suggest that you contact a local bankruptcy attorney in your area to see what you state's exemption amounts are and if your cars are protected.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    You keep your cars when filing BK.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    The Barger Law Firm
    The Barger Law Firm | Jason W. Barger
    I'm glad that you asked this question and hope I am able to help you. To answer your question, yes, you can keep both cars if you file bankruptcy. There are a few caveats, however, such as: you must have a need for both cars; the value of the cars must be reasonable; and the total amount of assets you have may affect keeping both vehicles. However I would venture to say that you will be safe in filing a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy and keep your vehicles. If you would like to discuss the benefits and impact of bankruptcy further, and answer any other questions you may have, I encourage you to contact my office for a free 30 minute consultation. The best to you and your family.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Sure there's a way. But it depends on what chapter you file, the value of the vehicles, how much is owed against them 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: 5/27/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    You may be able to keep your cars when filing bankruptcy. Whether you can keep your cars will depend on the value and whether there is any equity. In Washington state we you may use federal or state exemptions which allow different amounts to be applied to a car and also wild card exemptions which may be applied to a car. Therefore you should speak to a bankruptcy attorney to make sure all of your assets will be protected when filing bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    It may be possible to keep both cars in bankruptcy. Only a thorough review of your assets and debts will determine if this possible. If you are in my area, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    The answer to your question depends heavily on the applicable bankruptcy exemptions available to you in the state in which you live.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    That depends on what exemption laws are available to you in the Bankruptcy District where you file. Some states have more generous exemptions to protect cars form a bankruptcy trustee, some have little. You should consult a bankruptcy attorney in your area who can provide you with that information.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    The Orantes Law Firm
    The Orantes Law Firm | Giovanni Orantes
    Most people who file for bankruptcy protection retain their cars. The reason for that is that certain laws, which are referred to as "exemptions", allow you to keep property worth certain amounts. One such law lets you keep equity in a vehicle of a specific dollar amount. Then, if you have more than one vehicle or if the current market value of your vehicle is greater than the amount allowed by that specific law, other exemption laws may allow you to protect the rest. In the end, you should contact the Orantes Law Firm for a in-person initial consultation to analyze whether you can protect the entirety of the value of your vehicles.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    You can claim the equity in the vehicles exempt and keep the cars. You need to consult with a bankruptcy attorney as to how much is available to exempt (protect) the equity you have in the cars. It is a very generous amount and there is a wildcard exemption that is just over $20,000 which you can use for any property including the equity in the cars so usually protecting the cars is not a problem.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    This would depend on how much the car is worth, and what the exemptions are in your state which determine the value you are allowed to keep. You need to look at the exemptions for your state or contact a bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Edward Papa, Esq.
    Edward Papa, Esq. | Edward Papa
    Depends on the value of the automobile and how much can be exempted depending on your jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/26/2011
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