Depending upon which exemption scheme is selected and your circumstances, you may exempt up to $100,000 in equity. When calculating your equity you should use a value that is based upon a forced liquidation as opposed to the selling conditions to arrive at a value for your home. Once you know the value, subtract the amount owed plus selling and transfer costs from the value to calculate the equity. In a depressed market, liquidated properties are often valued less than what we like to think the property is worth.
Depending upon which exemption scheme is selected, you may keep your car if your equity is equal to or less than the allowed exemption. Generally speaking, depending upon the exemption scheme selected, you may exempt as little as $1200 or as much as $9100. When calculating your equity you should use the Kelly Blue Book or a comparable guide. Once you know the value, then subtract the amount owed from the value to calculate the equity.
Generally, most courts understand that you need a car to work to get back on your feet. Apply rules of common sense here: If you own vintage cars which are free and clear and worth thousands of dollars, you are probably not going to be able to keep them. If, on the other hand, you have a car worth $10,000 and you owe $8000 on it, you will most likely keep it. Again, the need to talk to a good lawyer should be evident. Most leased vehicles have no equity and therefore are entirely exempt. If you owe money on your car or it is leased you must still make the payments. In those instances you will have to redeem or reaffirm the property to keep it. However, in some circumstance your representative can renegotiate the loan or the lease to get a more favorable deal for you.
This information deals with Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy. Each state has its own bankruptcy laws, so you need to check with your state for details. Information dealing with Chapter 13 bankruptcy and consumer debt restructuring is not discussed in the above FAQs. The information contained in the following FAQs is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a legal opinion nor legal advice nor is it intended to be a complete discussion of all the issues related to the area of Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy. Every individual's factual situation is different and you should seek independent legal advice regarding specific information.