Will I lose my property and possessions if I file bankruptcy in Oklahoma?

by Dan Nunley

Worried womanI talk with people every day who are scared to death that if they file bankruptcy, much of their property and possessions will be taken from them in the bankruptcy process.

Fortunately, the truth is that the vast majority of people who file bankruptcy in Oklahoma don’t lose any of their possessions.

When a person files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, he or she gets a “fresh start.”  The law specifies what property a person gets to keep as a part of the fresh start. The property a person gets to keep is called “exempt property” and the property that a person doesn’t get to keep is called “non-exempt property.”

One of the good things about living in Oklahoma is that Oklahoma law is very generous when compared to most other states regarding the amount and type of property that a person filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy gets to keep. Most Oklahomans who file bankruptcy don’t own any non-exempt property that is worth enough money for a bankruptcy trustee to be interested in taking.

Some of the things that Oklahoma law allows a person filing bankruptcy to keep include:

  • Unlimited equity in your home (subject to acreage limitations and business-use exceptions);
  • All household and kitchen furniture including a personal computer;
  • $7,500 equity in a motor vehicle;
  • $4,000 worth of clothing;
  • $3,000 worth of wedding/anniversary jewelry;
  • $2,000 worth of guns;
  • $10,000 in things you need for your job (tools, books, etc.);
  • Certain retirement plans including 401K, 403B, and IRA.
  • Certain benefits such as Social Security, unemployment compensation, veteran’s benefits, public assistance, and pensions;
  • Alimony, spousal support, separate maintenance, and child support payments;
  • The portion of a tax refund due to the earned income tax credit; and
  • Up to $50,000 for a personal bodily injury, death or workers’ compensation claim.

The amounts of the exemptions are doubled when a married couple files together.

Also keep in mind that the values listed are not what you paid for the items when you bought them but instead are the present fair market value of the items i.e. what a willing buyer would pay you for the item in it’s current condition.

If you’re seriously thinking that you may need to file bankruptcy, I’m happy to offer you a free initial consultation so that I can learn more about you and your specific financial situation. Then I’ll be able to answer all of your questions about how bankruptcy might be able to help you. Simply fill out the Contact Dan form on the right side of this page and click the Submit button then I’ll get back in touch with you right away. Or give me a call today at 918-615-8260. I look forward to hearing from you.

Source: Tit. 31 O.S. Sec. 1

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