A common misconception about bankruptcy in the United States is that the individuals or businesses that file will lose all their property. While it’s true that property can be at risk in any bankruptcy case, the fact is that the vast majority of individual filers don’t lose a single piece of property in a liquidation, Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In the vast majority of cases, all people lose are their debts. This is largely because of the exemptions filers can claim to protect their property from the liquidation process and because of filers’ financial conditions prior to bankruptcy. For individual consumers, Chapter 7 is the liquidation process the bankruptcy code provides. If you’re considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Luverne, MN, or the surrounding areas, Behm Law Group Ltd. provides legal protection and guidance throughout the process.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation process that works to discharge debts in exchange for the sale or liquidation of non-exempt assets. However, because of the situation most people are in when they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and because of the available bankruptcy exemptions, individuals will probably not lose any property to the Chapter 7 liquidation process.
Situation: In order to qualify for Chapter 7, filers need to pass the Means Test, which measures your debt-to-income ratio. If this measurement is lower than the state median or average for a household of similar size, you’ll be eligible for Chapter 7. This generally means you have a low income or you have a lot of debt that “outweighs” a middle to upper-middle class income. If this is the case, you probably don’t own much property of high value. You may have a house, a car or two, other common items like appliances and furniture, and maybe even some valuable jewelry or tools in your name, but these items often fit into the range of monetary values set by the bankruptcy exemptions.
Exemptions: When you file for bankruptcy, the goal of the process is not to devastate your finances or have you lose all your property, but instead to provide you with permanent debt relief while remaining fair to your creditors. This means that there are exemptions you can claim to protect your property up to certain values. Exemptions keep those properties from being vulnerable to the liquidation process. In Minnesota, filers can claim the exemptions provided under Minnesota state law or the federal bankruptcy exemptions provided under the bankruptcy code, but they cannot mix and match between the two. The current exemption amounts filers can claim often cover the values of most people’s properties. Additionally, in some cases, exemption amounts can be doubled when spouses file jointly.
Because of the available exemptions and because filers who qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy often don’t own a lot of high-value property, most filers will not lose any property or very little property to the liquidation process. If you’re planning on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Luverne, MN, or other communities in the area, our attorneys can help you protect as much property as possible and work through a successful case. Contact Behm Law Group Ltd. today by calling (507) 387-7200 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.