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Can I Keep My Car If I File for Bankruptcy?

We meet people from all walks of life with various financial difficulties.  We understand that sometimes "life happens" and for whatever reason you may be experience hard times. These things happen.  They could happen to any of us.  We know that sometimes circumstances change and payments that use to be affordable can become overwhelming.  However, we have good news.  You can breathe now.  We are here to help. 

One of the most common concerns we have from our new clients is concern about the ability to keep property.  The bankruptcy code explicitly protects some kinds of property by creating exemptions.  If you have a loan on your house or your car we can almost always help you keep them.  However, you do have some decisions to make.  Particularly in the case of vehicles, we often see individuals with high interest rates on old cars.  In some cases it is actually better for the client to surrender the old car and purchase a newer and/or better vehicle.  Don’t worry, this isn’t something you have to decide now.  We just want you to know that you have options.  With regard to vehicles, there are several options.  

First, you can surrender your car.  If you decide that your car is to old, or not worth it for whatever reason we can help you surrender your car.  We may be able to make recommendations on how to go about getting a replacement vehicle. 

Second, you can reaffirm the debt on your car.  This basically means that you will sign a new contract, post-bankruptcy petition with your car lender to keep making your payments and keep the original terms of your contract.  To do this your car payment must be current at the time of filing.  We also recommend that you contact your car creditor with your intent to do this as some car lenders have lengthy approval processes. 

Third, you can redeem your car.  This basically means that you would pay off the vehicle in full and keep the vehicle.  There are a number of reputable companies that offer "redemption loans" that will pay off the old note and enter into an agreement with you for repayment of the loan, often at a better rate than what you were currently paying.

Finally, in some cases we can "cram down" the car note.  Basically, if you qualify for this, you may be able to pay off only what the car is worth instead of the full balance of the loan. 

We will discuss each of these options in further detail over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for a more detailed discussion.  If you have questions before then, or would like to specifically dicuss your case, contact your St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney Today!


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