How Can I Save My House, Car or Other Possessions in Bankruptcy?
Your bankruptcy trustee is NOT going to come and collect all your belongings to satisfy your debts. What many don’t realize is that bankruptcy law includes certain exemptions for personal property. Under these laws, you can “exempt” or protect certain property that is necessary for living from bankruptcy proceedings. Typical items protected under bankruptcy exemption laws are:
- A home, in many circumstances
- A car, or cars depending on their values
- Most furniture and appliances, including your TV and family computer
- Most clothing
- A limited value in jewelry and heirlooms
- Retirement accounts, including pensions
- Work tools
If you have no equity in a home, you may be able to exempt many other things of your choice using what is commonly called the California “wild card” exemption.
Bankruptcy exemption laws do not protect secured assets, such as your car, from repossession by your lending company. However, filing bankruptcy automatically stops all collection activities, including repossession or foreclosure, while your bankruptcy is in progress, giving you time to review and perhaps negotiate a debt settlement with your lender or propose a plan for repayment under Chapter 13.
Our lawyer can answer your questions about what you can keep in bankruptcy given your individual situation. Providing honest assessments up front, he seeks to help you set realistic goals and make informed decisions to protect what matters most to you.