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Can I Keep My Jewelry When I File For Bankruptcy?

Often times we meet with people unsure about whether to file for bankruptcy.  We know this is a very difficult decision to make for our clients.  However, we can tell you, that we will make it as simple as possible for you every step of the way.  That begins with information about what to expect.  We know that many of our clients are worried about losing property and possessions.  The bankruptcy code provides some avenues of protection for houses, cars, and certain amounts of personal property.  However, many of our clients have things that may not be protected or even items that they still owe money for, but can afford and want to keep.  

The bankruptcy code, with the exception of houses and cars, does not allow you to pick and choose the debts you list on your petition.  You are required to list every debt owed, no matter the size of the debt or whether or not you can afford the particular debt.  You even have to list things that are not generally dischargeable, like student loans and tax debts.  Many of our clients tell us that if they got rid of certain debts they could afford others.

A scenario we have seen many times is a client or clients that are filing bankruptcy to discharge debts, but have financed engagement and/or wedding sets through a jeweler and they are still making payments.  We understand that you do not want to lose your engagement or wedding ring, however, we will still have to list it.  Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to be required to surrender the item.   It is very important that we discuss this prior to filing, because every situation is different and we cannot give blanket advice about whether people can keep engagement and wedding rings.  What we can tell you is that most of our clients are able to keep their property when we discuss things prior to filing.

The bottom line is that there are options.  In some cases jewelers will send what is called a reaffirmation agreement.  This is basically a document that says that you will continue to pay for the item even after your bankruptcy.  This is something we can negotiate for you and it will be sent to our office.  When considering this option it is important to consider whether you can truly afford to continue paying for the item.  Once a reaffirmation agreement is signed you financially responsible for payments and that cannot be discharged in your bankruptcy.

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy, including what property you will be able to keep, please contact your St. Louis Bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation today!


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