Skip to main content

If I file bankruptcy ch 7, will they make me sell my personal items?

Jacksonville, FL |

I dont have any real assets. I have a$500 cash car. live in a apartment. No homes, boats, . no jewelry. Would i have to sell my Xbox, Vizio flat screen, couch & love seat?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. In Bankruptcy Court, if you have assets that are not protected by the exemptions that are allowed under the law, you don't sell the items, the Bankruptcy Trustee seizes the items from you & sells them.

    To check whether you have any belongings that are not protected by the law, you will want to look at the exemptions allowed in your state. In most instances, these exemptions are set forth in the state laws, and if you go to the state website, you can search for them.

    Hope this perspective helps!


  2. Based on what you have listed as your assets, you would not have to give anything up in bankruptcy.

    Since you do not own a home, you have the following exemptions:

    $1000 to cover a car
    $1000 to cover any personal property
    $4000 extra exemption to cover any personal property (since you don't own a home)

    Go to my blog to see more posts regarding protecting your assets in chapter 7.


  3. In bankruptcy many of your personal items are exempted from being taken and sold to pay your creditors. Much of what is exempt depends on the state where you live. Each state has a different list of assets that cannot be sold to satisfy creditors. The bankruptcy code also has a list of those exempt assets. To make things more complicated, the Bankruptcy code allows the states to say whether you have to use their list of exemptions or you can use the list included in the bankruptcy code. Deciphering all this is why the attorney''s get paid the big bucks, because it can mean a lot of money to you. At your local law library you will find someone who can help you to find the exemptions for your state and maybe show you where to look to see if you get to choose between the state's list of exempt property or the list in the bankruptcy code. In California where I practice, we are required to use the state exemptions, and not only that but we have two different exemptions schemes depending on whether you want to use your homestead exemption or not. For us, protecting cash can be difficult. It is an asset that does not have its own specific exemption.

    The ideas and opinions expressed in this comment are generalities only and not based upon a thorough analysis of your situation or the law that might apply to you. As such they are intended to be general guidance and not legal advice. Use this information to assist in your analysis as to what you want to ask an attorney when seeking legal advice, Nothing stated herein shall be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship with you nor legal advise for you to use.


  4. People often ask if they can keep homes, second homes, cars, boats, tax refunds, etc., when they are contemplating Bankruptcy. I always tell them they can keep what they want of they can pay for it, or if the equity or value is protected by an exemption in their State!

    There are two types of Bankruptcy for most individuals. Chapter 7 (liquidation) and Chapter 13 (payments are made to a Chapter 13 Trustee to be distributed pursuant to a Plan you and your attorney draft). To determine of you get to keep the property you have to know two things…

    1) What is the equity in the property? (I.e., what is it worth minus what you owe on it).
    2) Will the exemption laws that are applied to the property protect the equity?

    Bankruptcy is much more concerned with equity than it is with debt. If you have no equity in a rental home the Trustee in a 7 or 13 does not have an interest in the property and you may keep it.

    If you owe more on the vacation home than it is worth you may be able to use Bankruptcy to reduce the amount of the debt, and again, keep it.

    When you have equity in something that is not protected by an exemption then that is an issue that a lawyer must evaluate. See an attorney right away before you act.

    Good Luck!

    REQUEST: Please give this answer a "thumbs up"(below) if you find it valuable.

    Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.