You can use any remaining California wildcard exemption for the additional exemption needed for your vehicle (amount of equity over $3525; it's been increased from $3300). The California wildcard exemption is noted as "C.C.P. 703.140(b)(5)". You sound like you're doing this by yourself without an attorney. All I can say is there are many ways to slip up and not get the results you expect. I urge you to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney in your area.
In most states that have a wildcard exemption, you get to use the exemption just as you would a wildcard when playing poker. I am guessing you aren't a poker player!
You can apply the wildcard to any property. You can apply it to a vehicle, to a timeshare, to a boat, to investments. You just need to make sure it is included on schedule C & that you cite the precise law you are claiming for the wildcard.
Hope this perspective helps!
You can exempt the equity in the vehicle using $3,525 under 703.140(b)(2) plus the wildcard exemption of up to $23,250 under 703.140(b)(5) which is $22,075 under 703.140(b)(1) + $1,175 under 703.140(b)(5). Read the code carefully. Also you need to reaffirm the vehicle loan if you want to keep the car from being repossessed which is a separate topic. Note that the exemptions change 4-1-2010.
Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract.
Good Luck starts with a strategy and a plan.
Robert J. Suhajda, MS,CPA
17721 Norwalk Blvd. #43
Artesia, CA 90701
Former financial auditor and controller. Admitted to US Tax Court, Income Tax, IRS representation, Fiduciary income tax returns, Estate and Gift tax returns,
Homeowner Association Strategist.
As a strategist, I analyze and integrate the operations, reserve study, budget, and financial statements into a unitary plan for 1 – 5 years, utilizing my experience as
a former treasurer and vice president of a homeowners' association and corporate
controller and auditor, to minimize homeowner association dues.
There are also specific exemptions in California for "tools of trade," which can apply to a motor vehicle used in your trade. Tool of trade is a term of art; whether an asset qualifies as such is a legal determination.
We recommend that you obtain legal counsel before filing for bankruptcy. Internet advice can lead one astray.