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.

 
  • Introduction to Bankruptcy
    Do you need a fresh financial start? Are you being hounded by debt collectors? You are not alone. Almost 1.5 million individuals file personal bankruptcies every year in the U.S. It has been a long-standing element of American law that an individual can file for bankruptcy and obtain a fresh start...
    read more
  • Types of Bankruptcy
    For individuals, there are two basic types of bankruptcies : chapter 7 and chapter 13. An individual may file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, which is sometimes called "fresh start" or a "liquidation" bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an individual may keep certain kinds of property (called "...
    read more
  • Who Can File?
    Generally, anyone can file for bankruptcy. However, not everyone qualifies to file for a particular kind of bankruptcy. If you are an honest person who can't afford to pay your bills, you can qualify for bankruptcy. If you have previously filed for bankruptcy, it may affect your options. For...
    read more
  • The Process
    There are eight common elements in obtaining a bankruptcy discharge (i.e., eliminating or reducing your debts, or planning their repayment), although the details of these may vary depending on your situation. The attorney you find through LegalZoom will help you with the entire process which takes...
    read more
  • Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling
    Before you can file for bankruptcy, you must first consult a nonprofit credit counseling agency approved by the United States Trustee's Office. This consultation may show you if there are alternatives bankruptcy that would work for you.
    read more
  • Bankruptcy Reform
    Congress changed the bankruptcy laws significantly in 2005, making it more difficult for individuals to file for bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy relief remains available to those who qualify. Some important elements to the revised bankruptcy laws are:
    read more