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What's going to happen to your personal property in bankruptcy?

It is not easy to make the choice to file for bankruptcy. Even people overwhelmed by debt are reluctant to move forward with this step because they have concerns about what to expect from the process. There are a lot of fears and misconceptions that hold people back from taking a step that could be beneficial for their future.

One of the main concerns Wisconsin debt holders have regarding the bankruptcy process is what will happen to their personal property. In reality, you may be able to keep most of the things that are important to you. Even when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, known as liquidation bankruptcy, certain exemptions may be available that will allow you to keep a majority of your personal possessions.

What do you get to keep? 

The intent of bankruptcy protection is to provide you with an opportunity to discharge your debt and secure a better financial future. It is not to leave you without the means to support yourself or maintain a certain quality of life. For this reason, bankruptcy law allows for certain exemptions, which means that you may not have to give up certain things when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You may be able to retain the following types of possessions:

  • Vehicles worth up to a certain amount
  • Tools you need for work
  • Necessary furniture and appliances
  • Your pension
  • Personal jewelry
  • A portion of your home's equity
  • Unpaid wages that you earned
  • Necessary clothing 

While you will likely be able to keep these things, there are certain possessions and assets you may not be able to retain. Examples of non-exempt property includes: 

  • Cash and bank accounts
  • Second vehicles or vacation homes
  • Valuable collector's items
  • Some heirlooms

If you have concerns about your property, you may find it beneficial to seek a complete explanation of exempt and non-exempt property before filing for bankruptcy protection. 

A better financial future for you

By filing for bankruptcy, you can deal with your debt once and for all. It is smart to address your concerns about this process and seek a complete explanation of the many benefits bankruptcy can provide. This is not the right step for everyone, but a complete assessment of your case can help you understand if this is right way forward for your situation.

If you cannot pay your debt and you are getting phone calls at all hours from creditors, it may be time to learn more about the legal options available to you.

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