Many people are under the mistaken belief that you can only keep one car in bankruptcy. While the bankruptcy code in California only give you an exemption for one car at $3550 this does not mean that you can only keep one car. I have had clients with 8 cars that have filed chapter 7 and kept them all. Because california has a wildcard exemption for 23,500 its not a question of how many cars but how much value in your cars that you can exempt. Many people have financed cars with no equity in them as they owe the banks more than the cars are worth. Under that analysis you can have as many cars as you have financed as its of no value to the estate since its your equity position in the car that the trustee cares about and not the cars that are overly financed. The wildcard exemption can be pieced and parceled however you like so if you have a car worth 10k we would use the 3500 for the car exemption and the 6500 for a wildcard exemption which would still leave 17k on the wildcard. We could then exempt 2000 dollars that you have in the bank which would leave 15k on the wild card. You could have 5 cars worth 3k a piece and then that would use all the exemption amount. So you can see by my examples its not a matter of how many cars but what the values are and if we can protect everything with the wild card exemption as well as the car exemption. Call my office if you have further questions as to what you can keep in bankruptcy.
February 2012 Archives
This is a very busy time for my bankruptcy practice as many of my clients are using their tax refund to pay the bankruptcy fee that they have needed to do for a while. Having a big lump sum of cash come into your account when you have had financial issues can be a big help and rather than spending it to pay down creditors or for other personal reasons, bankruptcy might be the right decision and a good place to park that money. My fees typically start at $1000 for attorney fees for simple cases. Filing fees and pulling your credit to populate my software is $330 and the two credit counseling fees that I recommend to people and which are mandated by the bankruptcy code will end up costing you $31. So for a simple case $1367 is the total out of pocket cost for your bankruptcy. Many times people tax refunds are suffice to cover this and you can move on with your fresh start and get your financial future on track in 2012. When you are living pay check to pay check and can barely find the income to pay creditors then bankruptcy is most likely your best decision that you can make. Call my office if you are in the situation and we can discuss options to help you move forward with a chapter 7 bankruptcy.