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When people hear bankruptcy, they automatically assume they are going to lose everything they own. Luckily, that is not the case. Depending on your circumstances and the type of bankruptcy that you file for, you may be able to keep a lot more than you think. The things that you can hold onto in bankruptcy, your car, your house, your furniture, are pretty varied because when Congress wrote the bankruptcy laws it seems like they just stuck in whatever seemed like a good idea. Cars, guns, photography equipment, farm animals if you have them, they’re all assigned a dollar value. Just like when you do taxes you get deductions, in bankruptcy we call them exemptions. You can exempt a car. You can exempt furniture, clothes, jewelry up to a certain dollar value. The dollar values are fairly high.

If you have something precious to you like an old engagement ring that you think is worth $15,000, it’s a puzzle, meaning if you don’t use an exemption on one thing you can use it on another and cobble them together to create a greater exemption for that piece of jewelry. You can generally keep most or everything you already own. It’s a question of how it’s crafted, how it’s written up, and what other things you’re trying to accomplish. Bankruptcy is a tool and if you don’t know what you’re using the tool for, it’s difficult to say how to use it.

If you are in need of experienced legal counsel in New Jersey, please contact Tomes & Hanratty, P.C. and we will be happy to assist you.