Bankruptcy and Antiques – Can I Keep Them If I File in Georgia?
Can I file Bankruptcy in Georgia and keep all of my antiques? Just the other, I got this question from a Rome GA bankruptcy client. My response is, “It depends.”
The Georgia statute that enables you to exempt property in bankruptcy allows you to keep up $5,000.00 worth of household furniture for a single resident of Georgia and $10,000.00 for a married residents of Georgia. In addition, if you do not use any of your wildcard exemption on real estate equity, you can exempt an additional $5,600 for and Georgia individual and $11,200 for a Georgia married couple.
I asked my Rome GA bankruptcy client, “How much would you take for all of your antiques?” He responded with $500,000.00.”
“How in the world could your antiques possibly be worth anywhere near half a million dollars?” I asked.
He then responded that the antiques once belonged to Aunt Bessie. This Aunt Bessie was a tremendous influence in his life. She was like a second mother to him. He loved her dearly. Thus, it would take a least half a million dollars for him to part with these symbols of love in his life. Fortunately, this is not how we value antiques.
The question is not how much would you sell the antiques for but how much would I sell the them for if I was hired by the Bankruptcy Trustee to sell them and get the highest price within a reasonably short time. For almost all of my bankruptcy clients, no one on planet earth would pay more than $5,000 for all of the furniture in their house. In many cases, you would have to pay someone to take the stuff.
If Aunt Bessie had been an antique dealer, this client may have had a problem. Fortunately, she was not and the items she left to him were really just a bunch of junky old furniture.
If you are really concerned about the value of your antiques, hire an appraiser to value them. Even if you were not filing for bankruptcy, an appraisal can come in handy when you are getting insurance on your household items. If have the ability to take the antiques to a local dealer, ask the dealer how much money would he give you for the items.
If you have antiques that are truly worth a lot money, your bankruptcy attorney needs to know the approximate value before he writes any Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 case.
The question is “How much would a willing buyer pay for the furniture?” For most items, this is garage sale value.