Facing the possibility of bankruptcy is a difficult time for most people. One of the biggest questions people have when contemplating filing bankruptcy is if they can keep their assets. Different kinds of bankruptcy have different benefits and drawbacks when it comes to the debtor. One of the major advantages of filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is that it allows you to keep various assets that would other wise be surrendered when trying to pay off debts and filing bankruptcy. Cars and homes are two of the biggest assets that most people have.
One of them most commonly asked questions people have when facing bankruptcy is “Can I keep my vehicle if I file bankruptcy?” Under chapter 7 bankruptcy, the answer is yes in most cases. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows that as long as the vehicle is owned by the person filing bankruptcy and is worth less than the maximum allowable value for exemption amount of the state that the person is filing bankruptcy in. Different states have different exemption laws, so it is important to find out what the laws are in your state before filling bankruptcy.
The answer becomes more complicated if you do not own the vehicle you wish to keep, either because you are still making payments on it, or because it is a leased vehicle. Laws very from state to state, but, in most cases, if the payments are current than you will be able to keep the vehicle. If you are leasing the vehicle you usually have the option of breaking your lease agreement without occurring any penalties and returning the vehicle or keeping the vehicle under the current terms.
Where your options under Chapter 7 bankruptcy law become complicated is when you are making payments on vehicle you plan to own in the future. Most states give you several options. You can keep the terms of the loan as they are, without making any changes, you can renegotiate the loan or resign the loan under what is called a reaffirmation agreement, or you can agree to pay the lender a lump sum more or less equal to the vehicles current worth, under what is known as a redemption payment. Each state has different policies, so you need to make sure that you understand the law in your state.
In any case the first thing you should do is call you lender and inform them that you are planing on filing on bankruptcy, but wish to keep your vehicle. Your lender may have certain policies for dealing with bankruptcies, and it is important to understand all of your options before proceeding.
Because the law is complicated, it is very important to consult a bankruptcy lawyer when filling for bankruptcy. Your lawyer will have more specific information concerning your case, and will able to provide you with a more specific answer about which assets you will be able to keep, and what you will have to do in order to be able to keep them.