If you are filing for bankruptcy in Florida then you must fill out a bankruptcy petition.  Usually if you hire an attorney he or she will fill it out based on your answers to their questions, or in other cases the attorney will give you a packet to fill out and return to them.   Part of the packet or one of the questions the attorney will ask you will be regarding your vehicles.  They will want to know the make, model, year, transmission, trim, and condition of the vehicle.  Finally the attorney will likely ask you how much is your car worth.  This question is critical as it will play a part in deciding whether or not you need to pay money to retain the vehicle.

The best way to determine the value of the vehicle is to use either the NADA.com website or Kelly Blue Book (kbb.com).  Always use the PRIVATE PARTY value and not the trade in value.  Furthermore never use a carmax.com trade-in appraisal as it is low and could have a significant effect on your case.

A great example of a client relying on a carmax.com appraisal is the following case:

I was in court waiting for my client’s case to be heard and in a case prior to mine the attorney incorrectly relied on the carmax.com appraisals for two vehicles.  Each appraisal was at least $5,000 less than the vehicle’s true value based on private party sales.   This error was a costly one for the debtor because likely he will need to come up with the additional value of the vehicles in order for him to keep them.  Otherwise he will likely need to surrender them to the bankruptcy estate.

If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy and have questions or concerns as to whether you qualify or whether you will be able to keep all of your assets then please contact Shmucher Law, PL at 305.741.5553 or954.309.5559.  We offer free initial bankruptcy consultations in any of our offices located in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Plantation, and Sunrise Florida.