Can I File Bankruptcy and Keep My Car?
You may be able file bankruptcy and keep your car if you can protect the equity in it. Exemption laws allow debtors to keep property that the state determines is necessary for them to continue working, up to a certain amount of equity. The value of your car, minus the value of any outstanding loan payments, is its equity. If your state allows exemptions of an equity amount greater than that of your car, you may keep it. If the equity amount does not cover the full value of your car, you will have to work with the trustee overseeing your case to try and keep it. If your car is worth more than what your state exempts, then when the creditors sell your car, they will give you back the equity that was exempt, and distribute the remaining funds to your creditors.
What Is Bankruptcy?
What Is Bankruptcy? The Three Chapters of Bankruptcy
There are three common types of bankruptcy known as “chapters”in the U.S. bankruptcy code, Ch. 7, Ch. 11, and Ch. 13, each with varying criteria and consequences.
Ch. 7 Bankruptcy
The most common type of bankruptcy is Chapter 7. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as “straight”or “liquidation”bankruptcy. It is designed to give a “fresh start”by discharging debts that cannot be repaid through the liquidation of the debtor’s assets. Upon filing Chapter 7, a trustee is appointed to sell the debtor’s non-exempt assets and distribute the proceeds to creditors. For individuals, the law exempts certain assets such as retirement funds, primary residence, tools for their trade, and personal vehicles from being liquidated to pay back creditors. This pays back creditors some of what they are owed and protects individuals from having all of their livelihood taken from them.
Ch. 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is primarily for companies, allowing them a break on paying their debts in order to restructure, come up with new terms for paying their creditors, and become profitable again. This allows companies to stay afloat while coming up with a new way to pay back creditors. Chapter 11 is the most complex and expensive form of a bankruptcy proceeding and should therefore be considered after other options have been explored.
Ch. 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, known as a “Debtor in Possession” Bankruptcy, stands in contrast with Chapter 7 because it allows the individuals to keep from liquidating their property. Chapter 13 creates a new, more affordable payment plan for the debtor to repay creditors, usually lasting 3 to 5 years. Once the payment plan is finished, the remaining unsecured debts are discharged.
You Can Avoid It
Bankruptcy is the least thing any business would want to experience. But sometimes because of reluctance, many business owners limit themselves from exploring the many benefits of getting help from financial advisors. Financial advisors can be a great help in steering a business to the path of profitability. Connect with a financial advisor in Beachwood, OH or check out our financial advisor page to see one closest to your area.
About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®
True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.
True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.