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Will the Bankruptcy Court Sell My Property?

Notepad that reads chapter 7

Under certain conditions, bankruptcy trustees handling Chapter 7 cases are authorized to sell the debtor’s personal property or otherwise turn the property into cash (also known as “liquidating property”) and give that cash to their creditors. However, most people who qualify to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 don’t have any property that the court is legally allowed to take, and so the trustee can’t sell any of it. You may be wondering, what kind of property can the court take? And what is the likelihood that they’ll take it if I file for bankruptcy? Read on to learn more.

When you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, you and  your lawyer work together to protect the property that’s most important to you so that the  trustee can’t take it. Many Chapter 7 debtors choose to protect their car, home, and personal items that are dear to them, such as jewelry passed down by family members.  Your property is protected by exemptions, which is a law that sets out how much property you can protect from creditors and from the trustee taking it from you.  Your lawyer can explain the use of exemptions and how they apply to your property.

There is a limit on how much property your lawyer can prevent the trustee from taking when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Technically, the bankruptcy trustee can take property over your exemption amount and sell it, giving the sale proceeds to the companies to which you owe money. However, there are reasons why the trustee might not want to sell your property. One reason is that some property is not valuable enough to make it worth the time and expense to sell it. For example, you may own a lot of household goods, such as furniture, pots and pans, and TVs.  A trustee probably won’t want to go through the trouble of selling them because they aren’t worth much.   Another example is a vehicle that does not run.  The expense of repairing the vehicle would probably cost more than the vehicle is worth.

If a trustee is able to sell some of your property, the sale proceeds will be used to pay on the debts that you owe. Usually the property sold by the trustee is something you will not miss or luxury items.  Examples of property that the trustee might sell is real estate (other than your home) and expensive jewelry.  If there is money left over after paying your creditors, the trustee would give those sale proceeds to you. 

If you’re facing mountains of consumer debt and need skilled legal help to find a way forward, contact the experienced Montgomery bankruptcy lawyers at the Dansby Law Firm for a consultation, at 334-834-7001.

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