No matter what type of bankruptcy you are filing, chapter 7 or chapter 13, you must disclose all of your assets on your bankruptcy petition schedule B. One of the lines on schedule B discusses personal property – “household goods and furnishings.” Debtors have often asked me what household goods are and how they are valued.
- What are my household goods:
Easiest way to explain a debtor’s household goods is that it is basically the furniture and appliances you have inside your home. You need to list all the furniture you own inside your house whether you purchased the furniture or you were given the furniture as a gift or a hand me down. The other part of furniture is the appliances part. You need to list all the appliances that you own in your house, examples include refrigerator, washer and dryer. If you live in a rental apartment or home it is unlikely that you own any of these appliances.
How do I value my household goods:
Debtors often get confused as to have to value their household goods. In my office we provide the debtors with a household goods worksheet where they can put quantity and value of their household goods. When valuing household goods the debtor should use garage sale/craigslist valuations not what they paid for the item. I typically tell my clients what would your neighbor give you for your furniture pieces… that is how you should value the goods.
Protecting your household goods:
In order to protect your assets from the bankruptcy court you need to use bankruptcy exemptions. Some states have specific bankruptcy exemptions for household goods, Florida unfortunately does not. Florida has a $1,000 exemption for anything the debtor wants and an additional $4,000 wildcard exemption if the debtor doesn’t own a home or is surrendering a home in bankruptcy.
If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy in South Florida you should hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney to assist you. If you would like to schedule a free consultation with attorney Ofer Shmucher from Shmucher Law, PL please give us a call at 954.309.5559 or 305.741.5553.