If you’re in the midst of tough financial circumstances where your income is not able to keep up with your debts, or where you simply may be considering how the benefits of a fresh start might free you up to pursue goals of starting a new business or provide for your family, filing for bankruptcy is a financial strategy you may want to consider. Clearly, no one’s ideal plan involves bankruptcy, but our nation’s bankruptcy laws have long been in place to provide hardworking Americans like yourself with a chance to get out from under crippling debt (including medical bills, credit card debt, and adverse judgments) and get a second chance to become a productive member of our economy again. One common question is what assets a filer will get to keep after bankruptcy, and answering this question can help you decide whether bankruptcy is right for you and what type of bankruptcy filing to pursue.
The Decision to File for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
Individuals in the United States have two options for filing bankruptcy: either filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 filing, all of your eligible debts will be extinguished (including medical bills, rent, personal loans, and credit card debt) and creditors will prevented from harassing as soon as your attorney makes your bankruptcy filing (which can be done within days of speaking with a lawyer). Under a Chapter 7 filing, however, you will only be allowed to keep certain assets and your remaining assets, if any, will be liquidated and provided to your creditors. In a Chapter 13 filing, you will work with your creditors to create a reduced payment plan, but you will be able to keep all of your assets.
Personal Exemptions Available in Missouri
Although federal law provides the basic framework for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, state law determines what types of assets you will be able to retain after filing. In Missouri, the state law allows for bankruptcy filers to retain the following assets after their debts are extinguished:
- Household goods, furnishings, and personal belongings worth up to $3,000
- A wedding ring worth up to $5,000 and other jewelry worth up to $500
- Any other property worth up to a combined $600
- Professional books and tools of trade worth up to $3,000
- Vehicles worth up to $3,000
- Mobile homes used as principal residences worth up to $5,000
- Life insurance policies worth up to $15,000
- The right to receive some types of benefit payments, including VA benefits, social security, alimony, disability benefits, and certain pension and retirement benefits
Debtors filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Missouri may be able to claim additional exemptions under state and federal law, and an experienced bankruptcy attorney can walk you through all exemptions available to you.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Bankruptcy Attorney Today
The attorneys at The Law Store are here to answer any questions you have about the bankruptcy process, and to help you assess your financial situation. We can help you decide if filing bankruptcy is right for you, or whether a debt negotiation, settlement, or other option is a better option. Drop by The Law Store, call for an appointment, or schedule one online. We are open on weekends and keep evening hours for your convenience. Our attorneys and staff are there when you need us, and your first consultation with The Law Store is free.