Bankruptcy – Can I Keep The Four Wheeler?
“After filing bankruptcy in Georgia, will I be able to keep my four wheeler?” Last week, I was asked this question by a Rome GA bankruptcy client. In their situation, the four wheeler was their child’s toy that they drove around every day after school. The thought of taking it away from their child clearly agonized these parents. Fortunately, we were able to keep it in their case.
Can I keep the four wheeler in my case? The answer to this question depends of the specific facts of your case. For example, you will be able to keep the four wheeler if your chapter 13 plan pays back 100 percent of your debt owed to your unsecured creditors. Luxury items are not an issue when all of the debts are being paid at 100 cents on the dollar. If you are in a case where we are wiping out debt, things get more complicated. You might still be able to keep the ATV but there are many factors involved.
If there is no debt owed on the four wheeler and we have enough wild card exemption left in your case, you will be able to keep the ATV. For example, let’s say this Rome GA bankruptcy client had no equity in their house and this four wheeler was worth 1,000.00. In this situation, we are not going to have a problem keeping the four wheeler even if we are eliminating credit card and medical debt in the chapter 13 plan. Fortunately, most used ATVs are not worth that much. If you want to know for sure, take your ATV to a local dealer and ask them how much would they give you for it.
In situations where money is owed on the four wheeler, you might not be able to keep it. In most cases where we are wiping out credit card debt and medical bills, the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee will object to you paying for an ATV at the same time. The trustee will argue that you should not be allowed to pay for any luxury that you can live without if we are wiping out any unsecured debt.
However, if we can set up a plan where you pay your unsecured creditors the same amount of money that we are paying for the ATV, you will be able to keep it without objection from the trustee.
In chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, your bankruptcy attorney is required to sign the reaffirmation agreement that re-obligates you on the debt. When the debt is a luxury, I cannot sign off a reaffirmation agreement that puts you back into debt. The goal of a chapter 7 bankruptcy is to give you a fresh start and not put you back into debt.
There are exceptions in every case. To know for sure, you should meet with a bankruptcy attorney so that they can review the specific facts of your case and tell you what you can and cannot keep if you file for bankruptcy.