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23 Aug 2012

Will Creditors Take My Clothes & Jewelry in a Chapter 7?

 

Colorado Springs chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers know that if you're considering filing for bankruptcy protection, you are likely concerned about your assets.

Many people wonder about every detail: What about the car? My antiques? My jewelry?

The answer is somewhat complex because every situation is different. The best way to get a gauge on what you can protect and what you can't is to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help you analyze your individual situation, along with the laws that apply uniquely to Colorado residents.


That said, it's highly likely that your creditors aren't going to want to take the coat off your back or the ring off your finger. Unless you had a fairly sizable and expensive collection of jewelry, it's probably safe.

People may mistakenly think that they can protect these items by transferring them to family members prior to filling them. Not only could this be detrimental to your bankruptcy, it's illegal. The court wants to be able to consider all your assets when determining how the case will be handled. It doesn't want you shedding yourself of bad debt while hanging onto valuable assets. It's probable that if you have a vehicle that's paid off or an heirloom necklace that your attorney is going to be able to protect those items from creditors in a Chapter 7. However, if you start giving away or selling those things to friends or relatives, there's a strong likelihood that they might not be protected.

You'll also want to be mindful of taking out any large cash advances just prior to filing. For example, if you know you're going to be filing for bankruptcy and you go on a shopping spree with your credit card just a few weeks before, the bankruptcy trustee is going to see that. It is generally considered fraudulent and not only might you have to return those items if possible, but it may hurt your chances for a successful bankruptcy.

Likewise, you can't make payments to family just before you file. Family members and close friends to whom you owe money are considered creditors like anyone else, and you can't show favortism in this regard.

Stephen H. Swift

Managing Attorney
Law Office of Stephen H. Swift, P.C.

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