You appear to be asking two questions. The first one is if retirement savings are protected. Generally yes but there are exceptions and more information is needed. the second one is if you can pay creditors within 90 days of a bankruptcy. You can but the Trustee can later sue to recover it. As to retaining credit cards, they generally cancel them even if you have a zero balance.
PLEASE hire a lawyer to help you file for bankruptcy instead of trying to figure all of this out on your own. There are many good bankruptcy lawyers in Worcester, and some of them are prominently featured on AVVO too. (I'm not angling for your business, BTW. There's no good reason for you drive up to my office in Fitchburg when downtown Worcester parking is as cheap as it is.)
I agree with my colleagues and i think you would benefit from consulting with an attorney. it seems that you have a lot of questions so maybe you should find a local bankruptcy attorney and sit down and have a conversation about all your concerns.
More often than not your 401K and any ERISA retirement plan are exempt in a bankruptcy. Bankruptcy requires full complete disclosure of all assets, income and debt. There are enough legal and procedural complexities to bankruptcy that in order to optimize your result and avoid problems, it is highly recommended that you retain an experienced bankruptcy attorney to get into the details behind the facts you have summarized.
Meanwhile click below for a general bankruptcy summary:
Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.
Just a quick addition to the other answers -- you can probably time your Sears card payment if you want to pay it off. In consumer cases, trustees can pursue preferential payments that total $600.00 or more to an individual creditor within the 90 days; if the payments are less, there is no case. So -- if your $300.00 payment falls outside this period (or will soon fall outside it -- i.e., the payment was made more than 91 days before the date you intend to file), you could pay off the $500.00 balance with no worries before you file.
Nothing contained in this answer constitutes specific or complete legal advice to the questioner and is for general informational purposes only. My response is based only on the facts presented, and may change based on additional facts or different information about your situation. In other words, you are only getting the tip of the iceberg – consult with a lawyer if you think what you read here might apply to you and your situation. I am an attorney licensed to practice only in Massachusetts state and federal courts. To the extent that I am responding to a question posed by an individual in a different state, my response is given as a general opinion based only on my experience and knowledge acquired in the state and area in which I practice, and the questioner is ALWAYS advised to consult a local attorney for a more specific and definitive answer to the question posed.