Actually, it is not really called a "wild card". It is the exemption for "other real estate and tangible personal property". In other words, you can use it for any non-homestead real estate and any tangible personal property. This would include collectibles.
Indiana makes no judgment as to how a debtor should hold his or her property. We don't care if you want to have 12 beater cars and no couch. Or lots of couches and no cars.
The more detail you provide on the schedules about things like collectibles, the easier the trustee's job. It also clarifies how you came up with the value of the collection.
Attorney Jay Perez is a Managing Attorney with Macey Bankruptcy Law, a national consumer bankruptcy law firm. His firm can be reached at 888-743-5787 or www.maceybankruptcylaw.com. Attorney Perez manages offices in Indianapolis, Merrillville, South Bend, Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Anderson, and Lafayette Indiana. Attorney Perez is licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of Indiana, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The private law firm of Macey Bankruptcy Law is a debt relief agency helping people to file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.
In general, you list all of your assets. Then you exempt them on Schedule C.
Get an attorney to ensure you are properly applying the wildcard.
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Please contact me directly with document for a free 30 minute consultation to get more concrete advice. This is not legal advice. I don't have enough information to give actual legal advice. I can only take the limited information presented and provide a framework to know how your situation may turn out. I may have questions that bring up issues you did not think were important but make a big difference.
Juan is definitely spot-on with his answer. One warning I give my clients about valuing their assets - trustees make money by finding undervalued assets. You have to be ready for the questions before the trustee's radar locks on to your petition. If a trustee sees the word "collection" in a bankruptcy schedule, I can almost guarantee that the trustee will ask for a full list and decription of everything in the collection, plus its value (and how you determined it) at the 341 meeting of creditors. So, be prepared: Provide the list (and even photos) to the trustee at (or even before) the 341 meeting, be sure the values on the list appear to be in line with the items in the collection, and verify that the total value agrees with the total on the schedule. Doing this will probably settle the matter. But, if there's a delay or a discrepancy, the trustee may think that you have undervalued other assets, and may take a closer look at everything in your petition and schedules, which could delay your discharge.
I am only licensed in Indiana. The information provided is general information, and is not intended to be interpreted as individual legal advice. For advice specific to your circumstances, you should consult an attorney.
What I will add is that while the personal property exemption does cover a wide variety of personal property, it does not cover a coin collection, for example. That would be covered under the $350 exemption that applies to all depository accounts, CDs, cash, coins, and the like.
Indiana law does NOT have a wildcard exemption. Rep. Ed DeLaney tried to introduce legislation last year that would have created a wildcard exemption provision, but it did not make it through the session. Urge your representative to reintroduce or otherwise support the bill.
Advice on this forum is for informational purposes only and should never be mistaken as a substitute for legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, you should consult local legal counsel.