Do I Have to Include My House and Car in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

People most often consider filing bankruptcy once excessive debt truly overwhelms their ability to repay. However, many postpone talking to an attorney about bankruptcy for several months or a year or more, even after financial warning signs such as out-of-control credit card debt become impossible to ignore. Ledford & Wu offers people in the Chicago area a no-obligation bankruptcy suitability analysis. Contact us if you are wondering whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the appropriate solution to your debt problems.

Common bankruptcy myths often serve as mental obstacles for consumers. They may have reached the point where bankruptcy may be the best or only reasonable path forward, but put off getting real answers — usually much longer than necessary. We will gladly take the time now to answer questions that loom large in your mind.

Your Home and Your Car May Be Exempted From Inclusion in Bankruptcy

A popular bankruptcy myth is the fear of losing one's house or car. People naturally worry about where they would live or how they would get to work if they were forced to give up their house or car in bankruptcy. This is why of the first questions that we often hear in an initial consultation with someone considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is, "Do I have to include my house and car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?"

You Must List All Debts and Assets When You File Bankruptcy

To answer this question for potential new clients, our attorneys begin by clarifying that people filing bankruptcy must declare all income, assets and liabilities. However, society acknowledges that everyone needs a place to live and transportation to get to work. Bankruptcy laws allow for exemptions that are protected from creditors' claims — including a home and a vehicle.

By applying bankruptcy exemption laws to their lists of assets, most people filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy are able to keep their houses and cars if:

  • Their budgets enable them to keep up with mortgage and car loan payments.
  • Loan payments, insurance and taxes are up to date.
  • There is not more equity in the property than can be protected by the debtors' exemptions.

Contact an Experienced Chicago Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are seriously behind on your mortgage or car payments, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a better choice. In Chapter 13, you can repay mortgage or car loan arrearages as part of your debt reorganization plan.

Everyone's financial circumstances are unique. The best way to find out what Chapter 7 bankruptcy will actually mean to you is to discuss the facts of your debts, income and assets with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Keep in mind that only three lawyers in Chicago are certified in consumer bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification*. Two are partners at Ledford & Wu.

*The American Board of Certification is accredited by the American Bar Association and sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Commercial Law League of America. Federal law recognizes board certification in bankruptcy. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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