I have been meeting with numerous clients who have told me what “other attorneys” have told them regarding their vehicles and if they will lose them when they file for bankruptcy. The answer to this question really depends on whether there is equity in your vehicle and whether you can exempt that equity in the vehicle.
A recent client told me that another attorney told her that bankruptcy trustees will not seek to take possession of cars if they are over five years old. This advice is completely false, and following it would potentially yield the debtor from losing their vehicle.
The bankruptcy trustees job is to recover money and use that money to pay some of your creditors. Also the bankruptcy trustee gets paid a percentage of the money that they recover in every case. While you think that you may have a sad story and that “it’s your only car,” you must remember that your bankruptcy filing is VOLUNTARY and that once you file you understand that ramifications. If your attorney doesn’t inform you of the consequences of filing for bankruptcy when you are over-exempt then I suggest you see a different bankruptcy attorney.
How much over-exempt is “safe” for a car:
A trustee is allowed to request the debtor to pay any amount that he or she is over-exempt on any asset, so there is no “safe” amount. Whether the trustee acts and requests a debtor to make a payment on the amount they are over-exempt depends on the trustee (and bankruptcy trustees are assigned at random).
How long will I have to pay for an asset that is over-exempt:
A bankruptcy once told a debtor in a meeting of the creditors that he “is not in the collections business,” and that he would rather take a little less money by selling the vehicle now, rather than wait for the debtor to pay it over an extended period of time. So the answer to how long a bankruptcy trustee will give you to repay debts really depends on the bankruptcy trustee. Some bankruptcy trustees will give the debtor a week, while others will allow repayment plans of upwards of six months.
Before you decide to file for bankruptcy it is in your best interest to meet with a bankruptcy attorney who will give you a worst case scenario and a realistic answer as to what will happen in your case. No bankruptcy attorney will give you a guarantee on your case but most will give you an opinion based on their experience in the district in which you are filing in.
If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy in Florida and would like to schedule a time for a free consultation with a local bankruptcy attorney then please contact Shmucher Law, PL by calling 305.741.5553 or 954.309.5559. We offer free consultations in any of our office locations including Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Plantation and Sunrise Florida.