Filing a St. Louis bankruptcy does not automatically mean that you will lose your assets, like a car or house. In fact, it is the number goal at Brinkman & Alter to make sure that you keep all of your belongings (whether it is personal or real property).
The state of Missouri allows a St. Louis bankruptcy attorney to use what are called “exemptions”. Exemptions are legal tools to keep your property safe. So for instance, let’s say you have a 2011 Honda Accord with a loan balance of $10,000. And let us assume that the value of this vehicle is $13,000. On paper, your car has equity of $3,000 (13,000 – 10,000 = 3,000). But the exemption for a car in Missouri is $3,000 for an individual (and $6,000 for a joint married couple). So in the example provided, the $3,000 of equity is eliminated by the exemption for $3,000. This in turn will keep your car safe and in your hands.
In terms of real estate, Missouri allows for a $15,000 exemption in your residence. So if your home has equity of up to $15,000, this exemption will protect your house. For household goods, the state exemption is $3,000 for an individual (and $6,000 for a joint married couple). There are also exemptions for things like jewelry, clothes, 401K, books and artwork, etc.