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If I file for bankruptcy, will I have to give up my property?

One of the things that often holds people back from filing for bankruptcy when they could really benefit from it is the fear of losing personal property. Many Ohio readers often associate bankruptcy with a forced selling of all valuable property in order to pay off debts. In reality, bankruptcy is an organized, beneficial way to deal with overwhelming debt, all while keeping certain personal items.

There are certain types of assets and property that are exempt from the bankruptcy process. This means that you can keep it no matter how much debt you owe or what else you are required to do per the terms of your approved bankruptcy plan.

Exempt property during bankruptcy 

Typically, there are certain types of property that you will be able to keep during the bankruptcy process. Most of the time, the following things are exempt: 

  • Vehicles worth under a certain dollar value
  • Needed clothing
  • Furniture and necessary goods for the household
  • Portion of the equity in the home
  • Pensions
  • Jewelry worth less than a certain dollar amount
  • Tools of the trade
  • Unpaid wages
  • Damages awarded from a personal injury claim
  • Public benefits

With the ability to seek exemption for certain necessary items, a person going through bankruptcy does not have to fear that he or she will be unable to get to work, have necessary clothing or live in destitution.

Property that is not exempt

Bankruptcy applicants may not always be able to keep everything that they want to keep. Not all personal property is exempt, and examples of non-exempt property include:

  • Valuable musical instruments
  • Valuable personal collections, such as stamps and other collectibles
  • Cash
  • Investments, stocks and bonds
  • Heirlooms
  • Second homes or vacation properties
  • Extra vehicles

Every case is different, and if you have concerns about what property you will be able to keep, you would be wise to speak with a lawyer. Knowing what to expect can help you avoid confusion and difficulty during the bankruptcy process.

A strong financial future is in reach

Bankruptcy is not the best choice for everyone, but it could be the tool you need to break free from your cycle of overwhelming debt. A strong financial future is possible, and an experienced bankruptcy attorney can explain your options, help you find the right path for your individual situation and ease your fears regarding losing your personal property. 

Filing for bankruptcy does not mean you have to give up everything. It is always better to know your options than to remain burdened by debt, and you would be wise to act quickly to learn how you can protect your financial interests.

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