If you’re considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your top concerns are probably your debts, your home and your financial outlook. What about the things that have important sentimental value to you, such as personal treasures like jewelry and heirlooms? You wouldn’t want to lose your grandmother’s wedding ring or a pocket watch that’s been in your family for generations. Good news: An experienced bankruptcy attorney can advise you of options that can help you keep your assets, including heirloom jewelry.
Am I Going to Lose All of My Belongings in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
The answer to this question depends on many factors, including the state you live in, how much debt you have and your exact bankruptcy terms. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee will review your assets to determine if you have non-exempt assets that they could turn into money to pay back some of your debt. Jewelry and heirlooms often have considerable value, so they could be sold or auctioned off, unless they qualify for exemptions. In the end, most people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy don’t lose their personal property. Asset exemption statutes are in place help you keep the basics you need for living, plus some items of sentimental significance.
What Kinds of Exemptions Protect My Heirlooms and Jewelry?
Every state in the U.S. has laws that protect certain kinds of property in bankruptcy. For example, in Indiana you could use the homestead exemption to preserve $19,300 per person of equity in your home. When it comes to heirlooms and jewelry, you may be able to protect them under a personal property exemption. In Indiana, each person in bankruptcy is entitled to keep up to $10,250 in equity in personal property, including jewelry. It is critical to talk to a bankruptcy attorney about the specific laws that apply to your assets.
How Do I Know If I Should Use State or Federal Exemptions?
Some states may force you to choose between using either state or federal exemptions, and other states only allow you to pursue state exemptions. It can be tricky to know which exemptions will protect your property – especially if you’re talking about family heirlooms that don’t yet have established values. To be certain that you are choosing the best path forward, consult with a bankruptcy attorney. They’ll help you examine all of your personal property and determine the best way to file for bankruptcy while protecting the special belongings you treasure.
Sawin & Shea – Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorneys
Filing for bankruptcy is not the end. It’s the beginning of a new financial life for you. The Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at Sawin & Shea can help you get rid of the overwhelming debt and advise you on life after bankruptcy. We are here for you during this life-changing process. Please do not hesitate to call us today at 317-759-1483 or send an email for a free consultation. We are ready to help.