If you are struggling to make debt payments on time or if trying to pay off debts has significantly damaged your quality of life, finding debt relief through bankruptcy might be the right choice. The most commonly filed type of bankruptcy is Chapter 7, which discharges debts in exchange for the liquidation of non-exempt assets. This means some of your property may be subjected to sale and the resulting sale proceeds may be paid over to your creditors. However, in the vast majority of chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, a person is able to protect all of his or her property. Chapter 7 bankruptcy isn’t designed to leave filers destitute and without property to reorganize. There are ways to protect your assets from liquidation. By asserting and taking advantage of the applicable bankruptcy exemptions, filing a reaffirmation agreement on a debt that is secured by some of your property, or by redeeming an asset by paying the present value of that asset to the creditor holding a secured lien on that asset, you can keep your home, car, appliances, and other important items. Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides protection and guidance for those filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN and the surrounding areas. Our attorneys help you work through your petition to protect your assets from liquidation and to file a strong case for long-term, bankruptcy court enforced debt relief.
Each state has different bankruptcy exemptions that Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers can claim. The most current exemptions will protect the value in your home, car, household appliances, clothing, retirement accounts, life insurance policy proceeds, and many additional miscellaneous items.
Filers can also choose to redeem an asset in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition from a creditor that has a secured lien on that asset. In order to redeem an asset, one must pay the asset’s present value to the secured creditor in one lump sum. The value of the property you want to redeem may be agreed upon between you and the creditor. If the creditor believes that the property is worth more than you do, you can present the matter to the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy court will determine the appropriate value for the asset.
If you have the resources/funds to redeem an asset, it can be beneficial to your financial circumstances in many ways. Redeeming an asset makes the most sense if:
- The value of the property is less than the debt against it. If the subject debt has accumulated over time with missed payments, late fees, and interest, it makes sense to pay off the actual, present value of the property in a redemption rather than pay the total debt owed. For example, if you bought a car worth $15,000 in 2015 and the loan in 2021 has only been reduced to $10,000 but the value of the car has depreciated to $5,000, it makes more sense to pay the $5,000 value of the car than the $10,000 debt.
- If the asset works well and will be reliable going forward or if it is an asset that is unique, difficult to replace and is needed for your employment, trade or profession, such as specific mechanical tools or farming equipment or equipment used in construction, it makes sense to redeem the asset rather than invest time and energy looking for a new replacement.
- Sometimes it may be challenging to obtain a loan to purchase a vehicle or other asset after a bankruptcy. In such circumstances, it makes sense for someone to use proceeds from a retirement account, use tax refunds or use the cash value that has been built up in a life insurance policy to redeem an asset.