What Happens To My Property?

When clients visit a bankruptcy attorney, the question at the top of their minds is almost always, "What happens to my property?" They are afraid that they will lose everything they have worked for, including their home. As a bankruptcy lawyer, Stephen J. Zayler has helped thousands of people enter and emerge successfully from the bankruptcy process.

Attorney Zayler helps people get a second chance by helping them make informed, intelligent choices about their financial future.

The first thing he does after analyzing a person's situation is to provide a clear explanation of the bankruptcy process and to reassure the client. While every situation is different, in most cases, you can keep your house and all or most of your personal property.

Stephen J. Zayler can provide a free analysis of your financial situation, and explain your bankruptcy options.

If I declare bankruptcy, can I keep my vehicle or home?

Usually the answer is yes, if you can afford to pay for it. Some creditors hold a secured claim (for example, the bank that holds the mortgage on your house or the loan company that has a lien on your car). You do not have to pay a secured claim if the debt is discharged, but the creditor can still take the property. Even if a debt can be discharged, you may have special reasons why you want to promise to pay it. However, you may want to work out a plan with the bank to keep your car. To promise to pay that debt, you must sign and file a reaffirmation agreement with the Court. Reaffirmation agreements are under special rules and are voluntary. Reaffirmation agreements:

  • Must be voluntary
  • Must not place too heavy a burden on you or your family
  • Must be in your best interest.

Do I have to list all of my property in the Bankruptcy?

Absolutely, YES! Land or personal property of any kind, fully paid or not. Whatever it is, where ever it is.

Can I transfer or make a gift of any of my property to someone before I file a bankruptcy?

Attorney Zayler does not recommend anyone transfer or give anything of value to someone before you file a bankruptcy without first seeking the advice of a competent, experienced bankruptcy attorney and fully disclosing to the attorney what you want to do and why. Any type of property transferred or given to another within one year of a bankruptcy filing can usually be set aside or recovered by the Bankruptcy Trustee, sold and the money distributed to your creditors.

May I still claim my Texas homestead?

The Texas homestead remains available for most debtors. However, a debtor generally needs to have lived in Texas for the two years (730 days) before bankruptcy in order to claim Texas exemptions. For debtors who have owned their Texas homestead for at least 1,215 days before filing, the homestead exemption remains unlimited. For others, however, there may be a $125,000 cap.

Are retirement accounts exempt?

Yes, for ordinary retirement plans and 401(k) plans. The new law clarifies that a qualified IRA of up to $1 million plus certain eligible rollovers is exempt and excluded from the bankruptcy estate.

For a free initial consultation regarding bankruptcy with attorney Stephen J. Zayler, call 936-229-3570, or contact him online .

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Law Office of Stephen J. Zayler
123 East Lufkin Avenue
P.O. Box 150473
Lufkin, TX 75915

Phone: 936-634-1020
Fax: 936-634-1050
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