|CAN YOU KEEP YOUR CAR, HOME, AND
There are certain protective categories available in bankruptcy which
are referred to as "exemptions." In Alaska, you can choose from
state or federal exemptions (all of one system or all of the other
system). Misinformation concerning exemptions is common in much
of the bankruptcy literature (for instance, you may have read that
Alaska is an "opt-out" state - that is wrong!). By the way, if you have
not done this kind of reading, don't worry. But those of you who have,
Under the state exemptions, you can protect the following as an
individual filer: Home equity (costs from sale are not deducted) -
$72,900; Vehicle equity (low blue book less amount owing) - $4,050;
and most furniture and clothing (garage sale values). In addition,
there are miscellaneous categories such as tools of the trade. Most
retirement is protected.
Under the federal exemption system, you can protect less equity in a
home, but you can often protect almost all other assets including
snow machines, four wheelers, tax refunds, PFD's, etc., depending
on the value of these assets.
DO NOT ASSUME THAT YOU WILL LOSE ANY ASSETS IN A
BANKRUPTCY. ONLY A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY CAN GIVE
YOU THE ADVICE YOU NEED TO DETERMINE WHAT IS
PROTECTED. The vast majority of bankruptcies filed in Alaska are
"No Asset" cases, meaning all assets can be protected.
CAN YOU KEEP A CREDIT CARD AFTER A
CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY?
Many credit card companies will allow you to keep your credit card
after a bankruptcy if you agree to continue making payments on your
account. This is referred to as a "reaffirmation" - you are re-upping
on your debt with that creditor even though you could have eliminated
your responsibility for that debt in bankruptcy.
Do not assume that a credit card company will allow you to
keep their card if you do not list them in a bankruptcy or if you
owe them nothing when you file the bankruptcy. In fact, the
opposite is generally true. Unless you owe the creditor something
which you are willing to voluntarily repay even though you have filed
bankruptcy, the creditor or credit card company has little incentive to
work with you.
Reaffirmation policies vary with each creditor and often change over
time. Only a bankruptcy professional can tell you which cards offer
these policies and whether you are likely to qualify.
|LAW OFFICES OF JENNIFER L. HOLLAND