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Can I Keep My Assets When Filing For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Are you filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York? If so, you may have heard frightening tales of the repo man coming in and taking everything. You may be wondering, "Can I keep any of my assets when I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?" The short answer is, "Yes." If you'd like to learn more about which assets of yours fall under New York's bankruptcy exemption laws, continue reading below.

Do I Need A Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Your property is important to you. As much as you may want to dig yourself out of debt, most likely, you also want to safeguard some things like your home and source of transportation. Knowing which asset to keep and which to surrender for liquidation can be frustrating and complicated, so don't make these decisions alone. Instead, hire a seasoned New York bankruptcy lawyer from Law Office of Simon Goldenberg. We have years of experience you can trust, so call us at (888) 301-0584 or contact us online for a free consultation.

What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Before we discuss the particulars of what bankruptcy exemptions are, you should know that each state adheres to different laws regarding who can file for bankruptcy exemptions and when. For example, In New York, you must be a resident for 181 days or more before filing for New York bankruptcy. You must be a resident for 730 days if you'd like to benefit from New York's exemptions laws. Recall that you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy at any time, and there's no floor or ceiling to the amount of debt you must have accrued to file. Therefore, if you've yet to reach the 730-day mark, you may want to wait to file.

There are bankruptcy exemptions. After a bankruptcy judge approves your Chapter 7 application, your bankruptcy trustee will liquidate your assets. Once your assets are liquidated, your trustee pays off your creditors with the money from the sales. Naturally, this frightens many people. They fear losing all of their key possessions, such as their home, car, and furniture. Fortunately, you're allowed to keep and protect any asset that is exempted.

Also, remember that New York allows you to choose between using state exemptions and federal exemptions. You may not use both, however. If you're on the fence about whether state or federal exemptions are best for you, you may want to speak with a New York bankruptcy lawyer first.


You may be able to protect your car from repossession and liquidation. If your car has equity equal to or below $4,825, you can prevent a creditor or trustee from taking it from you. If you are disabled, you may keep your car if its equity is equal to or below $11,975.

Your Home

At least in New York, the equitable value your place of residence must have varies by county. For example, whether it's a home, co-op, condominium, or mobile home, its equity must be no more than:

  • $149,975 if you reside in Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Saratoga, or Ulster county.
  • $179,950 if you reside in Bronx, Nassau, New York, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, or Westchester county.
  • $89,975 if you reside in any other county.

These amounts can double if you are married and you and your spouse have an ownership interest in multiple exempt properties.


You may protect your jewelry up to $1,175 in value. This value may seem disheartening to read, especially if the jewelry you're seeking to protect is your wedding ring or a family heirloom. After all, jewelry pieces can be more than shiny gemstones that beautify our bodies; they can carry a sentimental value that we can never price. Sadly, you may have to part with it so that you're in a better financial position down the line. Maybe you can buy a replica of your most prized jewelry pieces once you're out of debt. In any case, suppose your jewelry is worth $5,000. Your bankruptcy trustee will sell it for $5,000. But your trustee will only divide $3,825 of that $5,000 amongst your creditors; the $1,175 will go back to you.


Furniture can have sentimental value, as well. Suppose your grandmother left you a couch through her will. Suppose your family has passed down a bedframe for generations. You may protect your furniture up to $1,175 in equitable value. Sadly, as with jewelry, you may not be able to keep all your furniture, but if it values above the New York exemption amount, you can look forward to recouping $1,175 of it, at least.

Trust Fund

You can protect your child's trust fund for college tuition if its equitable value is equal to or less than $11,375 if the child is still a minor.

New York Bankruptcy Lawyers Can Help You

If you are facing bankruptcy and are looking for guidance on keeping your assets, the attorneys at Law Office of Simon Goldenberg are here to help. Our knowledgeable attorneys will do their best to help you protect what is yours. We aim to put you in a better financial situation no matter the circumstances. To consult with Law Office of Simon Goldenberg, call (888) 301-0584 or contact us online today.