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St Louis Bankruptcy: Can I Keep My Car If I File For Bankruptcy?


Yes, it is entirely possible to keep all of your assets when you file a St Louis bankruptcy. Not only can you retain your car, but you can also keep other major assets (like real estate). But it depends on which chapter of bankruptcy you file for, and it depends on whether or not you have sufficient “exemptions” to cover any equity that may exist in the asset. A brief explanation of how it all works is given below:

When you file for bankruptcy, you are required to disclose all of your assets. In other words, you have a duty to list out all things that you own so that the court can take a close look at the things you have. Obviously, an automobile is definitely an asset you would have to list.

Once it’s listed, the next step is to provide the court with an understanding of: 1) how much you still owe against the car; and 2) how much you believe the value of the car is. So for instance, let’s say you have a 2010 Toyota Corolla. According to the NADA, such a car has an average trade-in value of about $8,000. And let’s further assume that you owe a balance of $7,000 against it. That would mean (at least on paper) that you have about $1,000 of equity in the car.

The state of Missouri provides you with an exemption for a motor vehicle of $3,000 for an individual filer, and $6,000 for a joint, married filing. So in the example given above, the exemption would more than cover the equity in your car. In essence, the exemption (of either 3K or 6K) “gets rid” of the equity. That being the case, there is nothing that the Bankruptcy Trustee can do with the car (because there is no equity left over in the vehicle after the exemptions are used). So if you file a St Louis Chapter 7, you would just continue to make the monthly payments to the creditor as usual.


On the other hand, if you have a car that does in fact contain a lot of equity (especially equity that cannot be fully exempt), then the next best option is a St Louis Chapter 13 (which is a chapter of the bankruptcy code in which the Trustee cannot take any of your assets, regardless of how much equity you have in them).

But the best way to understand how all of this works is to speak with an experienced St Louis bankruptcy lawyer!! We want to make sure your questions are answered, you understand your options, and that we help guide you through the entire process (from start to finish)!!

The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy attorneys at The Bankruptcy Company have been saving and protecting people’s assets for years. Our goal is to make sure that you keep the assets and property you want, discharge the debts that you want to get rid of, and do it all at an affordable cost to you. All phone conversations and office consultations are free of charge.

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