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Assets and Chapter 7

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  • Assets and Chapter 7

    We get a lot of questions concerning assets, so I thought I would provide a simple framework for analyzing how assets are, and can be, dealt with in BK.

    The chapter 7 trustee is primarily concerned about your assets and the value of those assets, i.e. the equity in those assets. An asset's value is its quick-sale, fair market value. An asset has equity if the value of the asset exceeds any loan or lien that is attached to that asset. If you have no loan or lien against the asset, the value of that asset equals its quick-sale, fair market value.

    If the debtor has assets, those assets fall into 2 categories.
    1. Exempt
    2. Non-Exempt

    Exemptions protect the "value" of the asset from being used to pay back your creditors. So, for example, if your state has a $5,000 Automobile exemption and your car is only worth $5,000, the value (or equity) in your car is exempt for BK purposes.

    If you have Non exempt assets, you have 5 choices.
    1. Before you file BK, sell the asset and spend the money. (there are caveats to this option, you must sell the asset for quick-sale, Fair market value, and you need to spend the money reasonably, i.e. necessary living expenses).
    2. Before you file BK, Borrow against the asset and spend the money. (same caveats as for option 1).
    3. File Chapter 7 and surrender the asset
    4. File Chapter 7 and redeem the asset from the trustee (i.e. buy the asset back from the trustee.)
    5. File Chapter 13 and retain the asset.

    Asset issues in BK don't really get more complicated than that. What complicates matters in BK are the debtor's emotional, and often unreasonable, attachment to their "things".

    Aside from a tax refund, there usually is no reason anyone should be in a chapter 7 asset case.

  • #2
    We are planning on filing for Chapter 7 and we have a limited partnership share with my husbands family business that was given to us and whom we share with 3 other siblings. Is this considered an asset although we couldn't sell it without the siblings? Thanks

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    • #3
      bank statements

      Will the Trustee question my bank statements or do they only care about the balance when I filed my bankcruptcy?

      I had a couple of large deposits for the month of Oct ($7k, $4k and $2k) from family helping my husband and I with our foreclosure. We had to come up with $25K for the repayment plan but is now on hold due to the bankcruptcy. But on Nov 13 (is when we filed) we had a balance of only $1900. Will the Trustee question the large deposits?

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      • #4
        Musical Instruments

        Can anyone speak to a situation like this.

        I am looking at Chapter 7 right now - loads of medical debt and credit card debt incurred because we were paying on the medical debt - blah, blah blah.

        I make approximately 1/3 of my income as a staff musician for a church. My guitar collection has been assembled over three decades. All of my guitars are "players" instruments - none of them hang on a wall, if you know what I mean. However, some of them are now quite valuable, although that does not stop me from gigging with the regularly.

        Is there a test for what constitutes a professional musician? How are instrument exemptions determined?

        The main question is, am I going to lose my guitars?

        Thank you

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        • #5
          I am hoping to file chapter 7 n March. My question is I own my car and have about 150k equity in the house. I want to keep paying the mortgage and kep the car but need to know if that is a possibility.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dphd View Post
            Can anyone speak to a situation like this.

            I am looking at Chapter 7 right now - loads of medical debt and credit card debt incurred because we were paying on the medical debt - blah, blah blah.

            I make approximately 1/3 of my income as a staff musician for a church. My guitar collection has been assembled over three decades. All of my guitars are "players" instruments - none of them hang on a wall, if you know what I mean. However, some of them are now quite valuable, although that does not stop me from gigging with the regularly.

            Is there a test for what constitutes a professional musician? How are instrument exemptions determined?

            The main question is, am I going to lose my guitars?

            Thank you
            You would need to see if your state has a tools of trade exemption. And as stated above, they will either be exempt or not. If not, you have the 5 options as stated above.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by alironz View Post
              I am hoping to file chapter 7 n March. My question is I own my car and have about 150k equity in the house. I want to keep paying the mortgage and kep the car but need to know if that is a possibility.
              It depends on your state's exemptions. If your state has a $150K exemption for home equity, you are fine, if there is significant non-exempt equity, the trustee will take and sell the house.

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              • #8
                Checking and Savings

                So can anyone tell me how much can I have in checking and savings accounts (and cash on hand)? Enough for a months livelyhood? I'm in COlorado if that helps. My Lawyer sais it is best to file right after a paycheck. So if I have a months pay in my account, do I surrender it? Then what does my family live on for the next month?

                I must admit my layer is not verry communicative or helpfull.

                Thanks in advance for your help.

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                • #9
                  We always think it is best to file right before a paycheck when the balances are lower.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HHM View Post
                    It depends on your state's exemptions. If your state has a $150K exemption for home equity, you are fine, if there is significant non-exempt equity, the trustee will take and sell the house.
                    I have an RV and 2 ATV's with no leins, that I want to exempt under the california system 2 wildcard $20K exemption, and I have 0 equity in my house to exempt right now due to the terrible housing market . it will be difficult to establish a value for these since there is really no bluebook. I assume i can use Craigslist comparables to come up with a price. but assuming they are valued over $20K will I be allowed to redeem them by paying the trustee the difference, or could he decide to be nasty and just seize them ?? are you allowed to choose to redeem or is it the trustee's decision what to offer ?? I would not think they would want to store a 32' toyhauler just to get a couple thousand dollars above my exemption at a quick sale .
                    Stopped Paying CC's 2/2009. Retained Attorney 1/10/2010 Filed 1/23/2010. Discharged 5/19/10 $187K CC, $240K 2nd,$417K 1st, No asset Ch-7

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                    • #11
                      [QUOTE=albacore44;223342]I have an RV and 2 ATV's with no leins, that I want to exempt under the california system 2 wildcard $20K exemption, and I have 0 equity in my house to exempt right now due to the terrible housing market . it will be difficult to establish a value for these since there is really no bluebook. [QUOTE]

                      www.nada.com has blue book values for RVs and ATVs.

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                      • #12
                        If you use your exemption and he does take them..he has to give you the dollar amount of your exemption.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ready2puke View Post
                          If you use your exemption and he does take them..he has to give you the dollar amount of your exemption.
                          So it would make sense that he would not take them, and have to pay me $20K
                          Stopped Paying CC's 2/2009. Retained Attorney 1/10/2010 Filed 1/23/2010. Discharged 5/19/10 $187K CC, $240K 2nd,$417K 1st, No asset Ch-7

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                          • #14
                            PacificAng

                            I am new to this forum and not intirely sure I am leaving this in the right place.
                            I need help! I am in financial melt down...

                            I am about to file Chapter 7, in MA. I have one asset. It is in the form of common shares in a privately held Argentine Corporation.. My debt is $50,000 in unsecured credit card debt... The shares are worth more than that.. But I have to ask the question? How will a trustee place a fair market value on them and how will he liquidate them in a reasonable amount of time? Thanks

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                            • #15
                              Echo1 we are in Arizona and our bankruptcy attorney has had us stop all automatic deposits into our bank account about two months before filing. The paycheck is now cashed and bills are paid via money order or cash. We were instructed that in AZ anything in the bank account above $300 at the time the bankruptcy is filed the trustee will demand to be turned over. Doesn't matter that it was meant to pay for the mortgage or the power bill. If the balance is above $300 no matter what's it's intended to pay it will belong to the trustee. She had us stop using automatic deposits early so that all checks will have cleared and we can control the balance to ensure that we are not over the limit at filing. We were also instructed to keep meticulous records of where the money is spent which we have done. Your state will be different on the amount allowed in the account but this is the advice we were given and which we have followed.
                              Ch 7 filed: 3/30
                              341: 5/12
                              Discharged and Closed 7/20: Now known as- Free Willy

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