Will I Lose My Stuff During a Bankruptcy?

Top Bankruptcy Attorneys and Home Foreclosure Defense Attorneys.

Over 750 ★★★★★ Google Reviews

brad sadek

Contact Our Attorneys Today

bbb badge
three best badge
rated by super lawyers sadek

At Sadek Bankruptcy Law Offices, we realize that every situation is different. Our debt relief lawyers will take the time to learn about your situation and your goals. Our objective is to explain your legal options and offer the best debt relief strategy for you in the most compassionate and friendly manner possible. Call 24/7 to schedule your meeting with a lawyer.


Our office understands the financial stress our clients endure. Therefore, in addition to reasonable legal fees, we offer a payment plan to all of our valued clients to make quality legal services most affordable.


In addition to our primary law office in Center City, Philadelphia, we also have law offices throughout the Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Area and in New Jersey. Our branch offices have contributed to making us the #1 Bankruptcy Filer and debt relief firm in the Greater Philadelphia area. Our goal is to have a convenient location within 20 minutes of where our clients work or reside.

Will I Lose My Stuff During a Bankruptcy?

The idea you’ll lose all your stuff in bankruptcy is perhaps the biggest misconception people have about bankruptcy, and the number one fear that ensures people wait too long to file. Plenty of clients come to our offices with visions of someone carting off everything they own in a moving van.

Fortunately, that never happens.

Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7

First, you need to understand the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 allows you to restructure your debt by making regular payments on it. A trustee manages these payments and distributes them to creditors. The creditors don’t get paid as quickly as they’d like, but they get paid.

In a Chapter 7, theoretically you are liquidating assets to pay off creditors, then discharging the rest of the debt as unpayable. But an asset is only an asset if it is non-exempt property.

See also: Why You Must Understand the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Exempt Property vs. Non-Exempt Property

Exempt property cannot be liquidated in a bankruptcy. The exemption list is fairly generous and covers most of what many people who can pass the Chapter 7 means test tend to own in the first place. In 90% of all Chapter 7 cases, the trustee takes nothing at all.

You have the choice of using either Pennsylvania’s exemption list or the federal exemption list. We can advise you on what’s more advantageous.

Unless you have special, expensive equipment or expensive antiques, you’re unlikely to lose anything from within your home. Homes and cars are difficult to keep in a Chapter 7, but we can advise you if there’s a way for you to keep both and use Chapter 7. Often, people who want to file save either of those assets should opt for Chapter 13 instead.

The Reality: A Lot of Property Just Isn’t Worth It

A lot of the property we own and use doesn’t have a lot of resale value. Sometimes the amount one might expect to receive is a lot less than the cost of transporting or storing those goods. Sometimes goods are just too hard to sell.

Thus, bankruptcy trustees always have the option to just let you keep that property, and they often do.

It’s Possible to Negotiate

If you have a piece of non-exempt property you really love and need you might be able to convince the trustee to let you keep it if you exchange it for something else. You might also be able to buy the property from the trustee.

Some trustees will play ball, some won’t, but there’s no harm in asking.

Protecting Property: A Great Reason Not to Go It Alone

The rules for protecting property may look straightforward on paper. In practice, they’re anything but. If you have specific property you’re worried about protecting that’s just one more reason to take advantage of our free consultations.

We are experienced bankruptcy attorneys who can help you get a fresh start with a minimum of pain. Call us today to set your appointment.





Share This Story