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What can I keep if I file chapter 7?

Columbus, OH |

I am a single woman and have not worked in 15 years. I have relied on men and credit cards for my existence. Now I have no man and my credit card debt in over 75,000. I own my home, PIF. I also hold a tiny bit of stock worth about 25,000. I have a new car and owe 25,000 on this as well. I want to wipe the slate clean and lose the stress that is overwhelming me. Can I keep my house, truck, and stock and still file chapter 7?

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Attorney answers 1


Whether or not bankruptcy filers can keep any individual piece of property depends on many factors, including how much property is owned and what exemptions are available to cover the property.

Volumes are available on the subject, so here's a summary in response to your general question. In 2005 Congress amended the bankruptcy laws, imposing a "means test". If your household's average monthly income over the last 6 calendar months is less than the census bureau's statistics for current monthly income in your state, then you qualify for a chapter 7 discharge. If not, then you would likely qualify for a chapter 13, which requires that you pay a certain percentage of your debts in a "plan" over the next to five years.

Even though bankruptcy law is federal, the next question is whether all of your assets, including any equity value in your real estate, car(s) or other property is protected by exemptions available under your state law.

Finally, bankruptcy requires review of your entire financial situation including all debts, income and assets. I highly recommend that you seek representation from an attorney in your jurisdiction who is experienced in bankruptcy law.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.

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