Published on:

St Louis Bankruptcy Lawyer: If I’m A Construction Worker, Can I Keep My Tools If I File For Bankruptcy?


No, you usually do not lose the tools of your trade when you file a St Louis bankruptcy. Most of the time, those items are completely protected (by way of federal exemptions). So your hammers, screws, saws, and other basic items can be kept safe. A more thorough explanation is given below:

To begin with, when you file for bankruptcy the court requires that you list out all of your assets. When most people think of an asset, they imagine big-ticket items like real estate or an automobile. But the court and/or Bankruptcy Trustee is also interested in learning about your bank accounts, cash on hand, household goods, clothes, jewelry, and (if applicable) the tools you own to do your job.

Does that mean that you will lose all of these items to the Bankruptcy Trustee? No, not necessarily at all. Why? Because the government allows you to use certain exemptions to keep the property safe. For instance, the state of Missouri has a $3,000 exemption for “Household Goods and Furnishings” ($6,000 for a joint filing couple). Your attorney will then ask you to provide garage sale values for these items, and then apply the exemption. Almost always, the garage sale value of your household goods and furnishings will be below $3-6,000 (and can therefore be kept safe from the hands of the Trustee).


The same concept applies for the tools you make use of in your employment as a construction worker (or whatever line of work you happen to be a part of). It is called the “Tools of the Trade” exemption, it helps to protect all of the tools you own.

For example, let’s say you have three hammers, five saws, various screw drivers, and some other equipment. Your bankruptcy lawyer will have you supply the garage value of those things (in other words, what you believe the tools would fetch if you were to sell them in a garage sale; so therefore, you should not value the tools at what you paid for them initially). Once this exercise is complete, then you should be in a good position in which to keep your tools!!

But the best way to understand how to the whole thing works is to simply give us a call, or fill out an online form!! We look forward to meeting with you!

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.

Contact Information