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What happens to jewelry in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Question: I have an enormous debt and there’s no way I will be able to pay it off. I’m thinking about filing for bankruptcy, but I’m worried about losing everything I have. I know that I probably won’t lose my house, but I would be heartbroken to lose other items, like my grandma’s heirloom diamond ring. Will the bank sell jewelry that has been in the family for generations?

Answer: In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s possible that you might keep all your possessions anyway. Even if you would lose certain luxury goods, there are many items that state law protects from liquidation. These qualifying items are exemptions.

In Ohio, there is one particular exemption law that explains how you may be able to keep certain jewelry pieces. There is a value limit for exempt jewelry, however, of $1,350. This is to ensure that you prioritize sentimental jewelry over the most expensive pieces.

If you have a collection of jewelry that rises above this limit, you can include pieces within other categories of exempt property. This may mean you have to give up other belongings to stay within the value limits of these categories.

Jewelry has a special section of the law because it often holds sentimental value. Many people have wedding rings or inherited necklaces, so this protection can be very important. Other special items may also be exempt under different sections of this law.

For other property, like furniture or vehicles, you can ask your lawyer if these items could be exempt. Bankruptcy can be a highly complex field of law that widely varies between circumstances. You will need customized legal advice to understand what you could keep after declaring bankruptcy.

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