The sweet and short answer is…no. Not all. Many are exempted. And some exemptions are actually surprising. Best read on because there ARE many things that you might have to give back, and of course, you want to prepare so you don’t have to when it’s your turn to file your Chapter 7.
- For instance, you can keep up to $16,500 of a personal injury settlement even if you have other income – but anything above that goes to the bankruptcy trustee to distribute between your creditors.
- You can also keep one vehicle with equity no higher than $15,000. So if you have more than one vehicle with no more than this same amount in equity in all vehicles combined, you will have to give back all of them but one. You do get to choose which one you’ll keep…as long as the equity in it is no more than $15,000. The idea is for you to have transportation to get to work so you can provide for you and your family. Note that if you still owe on the vehicle you choose to keep, you’ll have to reaffirm the debt with the lender – most lenders are eager to do this. They really don’t want your car back…as long as you agree to keep paying. Otherwise, yes, they’ll come get it. This exemption is quite generous considering that, these days, you can purchase adequate transportation for under $10,000. If your vehicle is equipped for a disabled person, there is no limit on this Chapter 7 exemption.
- If you own your home, you can have as much as $550,000 in equity in it and not have to sell it to satisfy creditors in either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Wow. That’s actually amazing in this real estate market if you think about it. You can actually buy quite the mansion here in Nevada for that kind of money. Note that, in a Chapter 7, you can only keep your home if you are up to date in your payments. If you are behind on payments, you’ll have to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to keep it.
- Are you a book collector? If so, all the books you keep cannot exceed $1500 in total value. If your books are ordinary enough and have no collectible value, you value them for what you’d be likely to get selling them at a garage sale. If they are considered collectibles, you value them for what you are likely to get for them at auction, online or offline. Does your collection contain books valuable enough that you know their total value is above $1500? If so, you’ll have to choose which ones you want to keep and then turn the rest over to the bankruptcy trustee, though in some cases, the trustee may not see enough value to bother taking them from you and selling them to satisfy your creditors.
- You can keep one gun (being that we’re apparently in the Wild West here in Nevada); all others, you guessed it, get turned over to the bankruptcy trustee to sell and pay back your creditors.
- Did you employer neglect to pay you recently? Not so far-fetched in this market so it’s covered in these exemptions: you do get to keep at least 75% of any unpaid wages due to you or 50 times the current federal minimum wage.
- And we get asked this question enough every day that we’re answering it here. Your unemployment benefits are exempt in a Chapter 7 Nevada bankruptcy.
There are of course many other exemptions, too many to mention here so we covered the ones we find the most interesting, and covered the others in the attachment to this blog. Feel free to download and print it to have on hand as you go about the business of deciding what to keep, what to sell before filing your Chapter 7, and what to just turn over to the bankruptcy trustee.
Since Nevada exemptions do change from time to time, be sure to check with us before you just assume that something or other is exempt especially if you are very fond of whatever it is and really wish to keep it.
Looking out for your legal rights!
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This blog and everything posted on this blog is offered for general information purposes only and should not be considered by any person or entity viewing this blog as advice given by, or a consultation with, James E. Smith, Attorney at Law, or with Conexa, LLC.