CH 7 Bankruptcy: How detailed does my list of property have to be?
January 13, 2017 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Filing CH 7 bankruptcy - I have a lot of stuff, mostly worthless IMO - how detailed do I have to be?

Due to extended unemployment, I'm plowing through a DIY Chapter 7 BK. On advice of an attorney, it's the best option, as it's a fairly straightforward situation: no real estate, all credit card debt.

One of the requirements is that I provide a list of all my property with each item's value. What's the practical meaning of this? For example, am I expected to detail every peripheral connected to my computer? Every book I own? How do I set a value on stuff that's many years old and really has no intrinsic value? Do I estimate what I think I could get for it, say on eBay or Craigslist?

How did you handle this?
posted by DandyRandy to Law & Government (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in the same process. On my own, as well. A bankruptcy lawyer I spoke to briefly said you estimate the cost based on what you think you could get for an item at a yard sale. I think it's okay to group smaller things together and calculate the total, ie "Various books - $50" or "Computer accessories - $35." I would assume they don't need to know each individual book title you own (unless it's an expensive collector's item) or how many pairs of jeans.
posted by blackzinfandel at 1:43 PM on January 13, 2017

OK, so first of all please realize that you're seeking legal advice here. I am keeping my comment general for this reason. I am not your lawyer. You should consult a lawyer. I know it's hard when you're out of money, but still. You might consider seeking pro bono assistance at a law school nearby.

Anyway, it's hard to answer this because you as a bankruptcy petitioner get to keep certain assets even after you file, and due to the way our bankruptcy system works, the list of things that you get to keep varies by state. So you should probably google "[STATE] bankruptcy exemptions" and go from there. You don't list a location in your profile, but based on your commenting history I'm guessing California; here is a list of exempt assets in California. As you can see, there are two systems that you can choose from: one for homeowners with home equity to protect, one for others.

Based on your question here I surmise that "Clothing, household goods, appliances, furnishings, animals, books, musical instruments and crops" might be an interesting category for you, and you can see that these are exempt "up to $650 per item." This would seem to encourage itemizing. By contrast, "tools of the trade" (if you have any such things) are exempt up to a fixed amount for the whole category, so it would make sense to group those all together.

Hope this helps - best of luck.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 2:50 PM on January 13, 2017

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