Filing for bankruptcy is a difficult decision, and it is one that should not be made lightly. One of the concerns that can affect people who are considering bankruptcy is whether they will lose any of the property they own. However, in many cases, debtors will be able to complete a no-asset bankruptcy and eliminate their debts without being required to turn over any property.
Understanding No-Asset Bankruptcy
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will usually be able to eliminate most of your debts, although this type of bankruptcy may require you to turn over certain assets so that they can be liquidated, which will allow some of what you owe to be repaid to your creditors. However, there are certain exemptions that apply that will allow you to keep different types of property. In a no-asset bankruptcy, all of your assets will be exempt under either federal or state laws. This means that there are no assets for creditors to collect from your estate. In other words, you will not have to surrender any of your property, and exempt assets may include real estate, vehicles, furniture, or jewelry. All unsecured debts that you owe will be discharged without any assets being liquidated to repay creditors.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Exemptions in New York
When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York, it is important to know the exemptions available under state laws so you can determine whether you will be able to complete a no-asset bankruptcy. These include:
- A homestead exemption of $179,975 for equity owned in your home.
A vehicle exemption of $4,825 for one motor vehicle.
A domestic animal exemption for family pets and their food and accessories worth up to $1,175.
An exemption for tools of your trade valued at up to $3,575.
An exemption of up to $600 for family photos, religious books, school books, and other books in a family’s library.
An exemption of up to $1,175 for art and jewelry, including wedding rings or watches.
An unlimited exemption for home furniture, clothing, kitchen utensils, and health aids, as well as one TV, one radio, one refrigerator, one computer, and one cell phone.
A “wildcard” exemption of up to $1,175 for other personal property. This exemption may only be used if no homestead exemption is taken.
Life insurance policies and retirement accounts such as 401Ks and IRAs will also generally be exempt from liquidation. As you evaluate the different types of assets you own, you can determine whether you may be able to avoid the liquidation of most or all of your property. By consulting with an attorney, you can determine the best ways to prepare for bankruptcy and ensure that you can eliminate your debts while experiencing minimal financial losses.
Contact Our Hudson Valley No-Asset Bankruptcy Lawyer
Filing for bankruptcy can be a daunting task, but understanding the available options can make it easier. If you do decide to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the state of New York, understanding the exemptions available can make all the difference between getting out from under debt quickly or struggling financially for years afterward. Knowing what assets are exempt from seizure can give you peace of mind during an otherwise difficult time. At Law Offices of Robert S. Lewis, P.C., our Rockland County Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can provide guidance on the specific exemptions available to you, and we can help you take the correct steps to eliminate your debts and protect your financial future. Contact us at 845-358-7100 to schedule a free consultation today.