Personal Property Exemptions and Other Assets

Personal Property Exemptions and Other Assets

A person who has filed for bankruptcy may nonetheless keep personal items that have nominal value. Every state has different laws about what you can keep, but in general, you may retain a small amount of jewelry, health aids, animals, crops, appliances, furnishings, books, musical instruments, and other small items.

More expensive personal items, like expensive watches, furs, paintings, and jewelry, must be disclosed to the bankruptcy court and will likely be sold for the benefit of your creditors. However, individuals are usually allowed to keep their "tools of trade," that is, items that they use to do their jobs (e.g., a construction worker will not lose his or her construction tools, even though they may be quite valuable).

Pensions, Roth IRAs, Keoghs, and insurance benefits will generally be retained by the person filing for bankruptcy.