In the District of Oregon the trustee would. In your district, not sure. Discuss with bankruptcy attorney.
Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662.
Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate.
Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.
In my district it depends entirely on the Trustee. Many times the Trustee will threaten to liquidate the vehicle in an effort to extract a cash settlement. Keep in mind that a Trustee's compensation is very minimal, and they receive a percentage of all assets they recover for creditors, so, there is financial incentive for the Trustee to liquidate the asset, or get you to pay up to keep the asset.
The Chapter 7 Trustee has a duty to liquidate non-exempt assets for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate's creditors. However, that does not mean that the Trustee will liquidate an asset with minimal equity just because he/she has the ability to do so. Costs of the administration, which include the cost to sell the asset, are part of a Trustee's analysis when determining whether it is cost prohibitive or effective to liquidate property. The Bankruptcy Code, Rules, and/or Chapter 7 Trustee guidelines do not mandate a minimum/maximum threshold for the sale of assets.
There is no general rule and each Trustee handles administration of their cases differently. I always advise my clients that there is no guarantee that a Trustee will not liquidate an asset even with a small amount of equity. However in my experience, most Trustees are willing to negotiate a buy back of the estate's interest from the Debtor, if they have the ability to do so , before liquidating the and incurring additional fees associated with a broker/auctioneer sale of a vehicle.
This is why it is always important to prioritize your goals for a bankruptcy filing and advise your attorney what they are. The Attorney will then be able to educate you on the best way to protect your assets.
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