When meeting with a lawyer for the first time, bankruptcy assets will be discussed. Assets are the things you see all around you in your home, office and life. Tables, chairs, appliances, cars, computers and more are considered assets. If proper paperwork is not filed, creditors have the right to demand these assets be liquidated and the money used to repay debt before a discharge can be made. A lawyer will often file proper paperwork to exempt assets from liquidation. If the debtor is choosing to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, they are risking the loss of these assets to their creditors. Here are some other important facts debtors need to know about bankruptcy assets.
Moving assets from one person to another does not mean the bankruptcy court or creditors cannot find and liquidate those belongings. Some people believe giving away their most prized possessions will prevent the courts from seizing the belongings. This is not the case. For a minimum of one year, creditors can take a "look back" to see if any property exchange was made. If movement of property to another owner is found, the debtor or new owner will often lose that property. Giving away or selling property can also lead to a denial of discharge. This leaves the debtor with no relief from creditors and monies owed.
Giving up all assets is not required. Most bankruptcy cases are "no asset" cases. This means the lawyer in charge of filing paperwork has included all physical property on an exempt list. As long as the court agrees that this property is exempt, the creditors cannot touch the property or choose to liquidate it for payment.
Certain restrictions apply to exempt assets. Each state in the United States will have a different limit on how much property can be claimed as exempt. Lawyers licensed to work in your state will have immediately access to those numbers.
Cars, trucks and home can be claimed as part of your exempt assets. In some cases, large personal property can be claimed as exempt from bankruptcy. These payments will need to be made on time and kept up to date, but they will not be lessened or released even when the other debts are discharged. Some people find it easier to deal with finding another vehicle than to stick with a monthly payment that may place stress on finances. The same goes for a home. These are things that will need to be discussed with the attorney on a case by case basis.
Bankruptcy proceedings are complex and complicating. One missed piece of paperwork can mean the home you love is being liquidated. Bankruptcy assets belong to the court unless your lawyer works with the system to relieve or exempt them from consideration.
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