Whenever you file bankruptcy in Westchester NY, you are required to list all of your assets. Your assets might include your house, the items in your house, your vehicles, your financial assets and other tangible items. Some assets are obvious, while others can be easily forgotten. Even if you don’t own a house, you might still have a bank account, life insurance and an inheritance.

Your Westchester bankruptcy attorney will give you a workbook to fill out with your assets. It’s important that you list everything. If you don’t, this can hurt your case later on or cause you to lose that asset. Make sure that you take time filling out your assets in full.

Nonexempt assets can be sold by your bankruptcy trustee to pay your creditors. Exempt assets are protected from creditors, which means you get to keep them. Some exemptions are determined by state law. For example, New York has both a homestead exemption and vehicle exemption that allow you to keep your home and car.

But what if you have very few or no assets? Can you still file bankruptcy? Yes, you can. We explore this topic in more detail below.

What is a “No Asset” Bankruptcy in Westchester NY?

In New York, you may be able to file a no-asset bankruptcy case under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a no-asset case, the bankruptcy trustee typically files a no-asset report, and the creditors are notified that they will not receive any proceeds through the bankruptcy. When you don’t have any other assets, there is nothing for the trustee to sell.

You will, however, get to keep your property because it falls within the exemptions provided. The purpose of these exemptions is to allow people to start fresh with the things they need, such as a home or vehicle. Keep in mind that you will need to provide a detailed petition about your financial situation, go through credit counseling and pass a means test.

To find out if you have a no-asset bankruptcy case, schedule a free consultation with The Law Office of William Waldner.

Understanding Assets in Bankruptcy

Sometimes, people don’t realize that they have more assets than they’re aware of. It’s easy to feel like you have ‘nothing’ when you’re living in an apartment, own a cheap car and have no major assets. But, you might have more than you think, which means you won’t qualify for a no-asset bankruptcy case.

Remember, you have to list ALL assets in a bankruptcy case. There are three types of assets to consider:

  • Personal property. Personal property refers to material goods, such as clothing, furniture, artwork and vehicles.

  • Real property. Real property includes land or buildings tied to land, such as a house or barn.

  • Intangible property. Intangible assets include property that isn’t physical but still holds value, such as alimony, retirement and child support.

Exempt vs Nonexempt Assets

New York is one of the states that lets you choose between using the state exemption list or the federal exemption list. Talk to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Westchester to determine which exemption list you should follow.

For example, New York has a homestead exemption, motor vehicle exemption, wildcard exemption and other exemptions for cash, banking accounts, tools of the trade, pensions, lawsuits and more. This means that you can keep these assets, up to a certain dollar amount.

Nonexempt assets include things like vacation homes, new or expensive cars, valuable collections, expensive clothing and so forth. Essentially, these are things you don’t “need,” so they can be sold and used to pay back your creditors.

How Do I Pay for Bankruptcy without Money?

The cost to file bankruptcy in New York is around $338 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and $313 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, when you’re already having trouble paying your bills, you might not know how to afford filing fees and attorney fees, too.

The best thing you can do is take advantage of a free consultation from an experienced and knowledgeable NY bankruptcy attorney. The Law Office of William Waldner offers free consults – you don’t pay anything, and there is no obligation to continue. This meeting is simply for informational purposes.

At this time, we can discuss how much your filing fees and attorney fees will cost and how to afford them. We work closely with our clients to create a plan that meets their needs. We will do the same for you! Fees vary based on location and the complexity of your case.

To schedule your free consultation and find out which form of debt relief is right for you, contact The Law Office of William Waldner today.