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Protecting vehicles and jewelry in New Jersey

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  • Protecting vehicles and jewelry in New Jersey

    I've been posting in the general forum but was advised to break my questions up among the specific forums for more specific answers. The bottom line is this-my wife and I are in the very early stages of planning for filing for CH 7. We have no equity to protect in our home, so I'm hoping that we can apply some of the homestead exemption to our vehicles and jewelry, but I'm not sure how this works. Here is what we want to protect:

    2003 Ford F-350 (My daily driver) - KBB value is $12,600 (Fair condition-it has body damage and rust) and I owe about $4000 on it so there is around $8000 in equity. I would like to reaffirm the truck and continue paying after the bankruptcy since it will be paid off in May 2012.

    2001 Toyota Corolla (My wife's daily driver) - KBB value is $3200 (Fair condition-it has minor paint issues, interior wear, etc...) and we own it outright.

    The two vehicles listed above would be our highest priorities because without them we can't get to work. Public transit is not feasible where we live.

    1991 Toyota Truck (Given to me by my aunt and used as a spare vehicle) - KBB value is $1000 but that's probably being generous. It runs and will get one of us to work in an emergency, but it burns/leaks oil, needs a clutch, the transmission makes a funny noise in 3rd gear, I can see through the floorboard (rust holes) in a few spots, and it's got body damage/scratches, broken parts, etc...but it has saved both of our butts when we couldn't immediately afford to fix one of the other cars. Finally, the truck has sentimental value-it belonged to my late uncle and despite it's condition it was his pride and joy. He was like a second father to me so my aunt gave it to me (no money exchanged-she just signed over the title) when he died. To me it is like a piece of him and it would absolutely kill me to see it auctioned off-especially knowing that the proceeds would likely amount to little more than one minimum payment of one credit card.

    Not much here really-just three simple things. Her engagement ring and both of our wedding bands. I know that jewelry gets evaluated on the basis of what it would fetch from a quick cash sale, and I'm not sure how to really evaluate that since most appraisers are going to look at it from a replacement standpoint. I could really use some guidance here.

    Basically I'm just looking for what the realistic expectation should be here. Are we going to be able to keep, some, none or all of it?

  • #2
    You protect your vehicles and jewelry with exemptions.

    This is a very good article about NJ vs. Federal exemptions and it is written in plain English. Read it and it should answer most of your questions about exemptions.

    Most folks in NJ choose the federal bankruptcy exemptions. My comments below are based on the premise that you will use them, too.

    VEHICLES: You will each have (if you file jointly ) a federal vehicle exemption of $3,450. So, your wife's car is covered completely by her exemption. You will still have equity/value in your truck after applying your vehicle exemption. $8,600 -$3,450 = $5,150 <-- Equity you need to protect. You can use some of the "wild-card" exemption* to do this. I believe you can also use some of the "wild-card" exemption to cover the older truck - but you should definitely ask an attorney about the 3rd vehicle.

    *Federal exemptions offer a homestead exemption of $21,625 (doubled if you file joint with spouse). Presuming you have little or no equity to protect in your home, you can use the unused portion of the federal homestead exemption up to $10,825 (doubled if you file joint with spouse) as your "wild-card".

    JEWELRY: You will each have (if you file jointly ) a federal jewelry exemption of $1,450. If you still have equity/value to protect over this amount, you can use some of the "wild-card" exemption* to do this. Re: valuation of your jewelry, I mentioned CraigsList and pawn shops to you in your other thread but forgot to mention eBay. Print off any ads you may use to determine the value of the jewelry from CraigsList and eBay and put them in your file for your attorney.

    As always, it's a wise idea to check with a BK attorney for your particular case!!
    Last edited by ValleYum; 04-28-2011, 10:38 PM.
    ~~ Filed Over Median Income Chapter 7: 12/17/2010 ~~ 341 Held: 1/12/2011 ~~ Discharged: 03/16/2011 ~~
    Not an attorney - just an opinionated woman.


    • #3
      Based on the information you provided, I dont' see anything that might get taken from you if you use the federal exemptions allowed in NJ. My car was worth 8,000, I had about 3500.00 in fine jewelry and a few antiques. I had about 9,000 in equity in my home but still was able to squeeze out some money from the homestead exemption. I got a CMA and just asked the realtor to make it " realistic" for the current economy. I was able to protect everything using the federal exemptions.

      I even got to keep my 1049.00 tax refund which I had already spent......LOL.

      Good luck, I think you will be fine.
      Filed CH 7 4/15/11
      341 5/23/11
      DISCHARGED & CLOSED ON 7/27/11


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