What Do You Own?

An important part of your bankruptcy petition is the list of assets. You have to list everything you own in your petition.

Then you have to place a dollar value on each item. Then you exempt as much as you can. 

The bankruptcy code allows certain exemptions for certain categories of items in certain dollar amounts. The dollar amounts change every three years. 

A list of exemptions allowed under federal law can be found here:


I think the easiest way to create a list of your assets is to go room to room and write down what's in each room. Depending on your situation this can take some time.

Then you and I will go over your list and we'll probably make a few additions and revisions. This is because bankruptcy law thinks of assets a bit differently than most people do.

For example, if you could sue someone that potential claim is an asset - even if you do not plan to actually file a lawsuit. 

Valuing & Exempting Assets

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Valuing What You Own

As already noted, once your list is done you have to place a dollar value on each item. 

The dollar value for bankruptcy purposes is the replacement value of the asset. ​

Replacement value is what you would expect to pay for the same of a similar age and in a similar condition if you had to go out and purchase that particular item again. ​

Here's an example: 

if you own a 32" flat screen TV that is 5 years old then its value is whatever you think it would cost to buy another 32" flat screen TV that is five years old.

That value is far different than what it would cost to buy a brand-new TV.

Because of this in a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy you will be able to keep everything you own when you file.*

*Note: this is a general statement that may or may not be true for you. Whether this is true for you depends on the specifics of your situation.