It is rare for someone who is represented by a bankruptcy attorney to lose their property (home, personal possessions, retirement plans, etc.) as a result of a bankruptcy filed in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island statute dealing with what you are allowed to keep or “exempt” in spite of a bankruptcy filing has some particularly generous provisions. You can often keep or “exempt” the following items (up to set dollar limits) from being taken from you as a result of a bankruptcy filing in Rhode Island:
• the home where you live
• one or more vehicles
• furniture, home electronics, and other household items
• office equipment
• 401ks, IRAs and various other types of retirement accounts
• Cash, bank account balances, and cash equivalent assets
If you are considering filing bankruptcy and own real estate or other significant assets, you owe it to yourself to speak to an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law before assuming that all of your assets will be exempt. I offer free initial consultations and often can determine during this first meeting if there is a risk of assets being lost as a result of a bankruptcy filing. Please feel free to give me a call to schedule an appointment to discuss your particular situation.
Many people think they won’t be able to sign up for new credit cards after filing bankruptcy. While all bets are off given the current credit crisis, in recent years the answer to the above question has typically been yes — it was fairly common to hear of clients receiving offers to sign up for credit cards soon after filing.
Why does this happen? It’s because credit card companies know that you won’t be able to file bankruptcy for a number of years, which makes you a relatively good credit risk.
Yes, in many cases you can. In Rhode Island, you can keep vehicles you own outright up to $12,000 under the state’s “motor vehicle” exemption. Even if your vehicle is worth more, you could potentially hold on to a vehicle valued up to $17,000 by also claiming the state’s $5,000 “wildcard” exemption.
If a creditor has a secured loan on your vehicle, you can often keep your vehicle through a bankruptcy as well. Debtors can choose to reaffirm an auto loan, and if the car payments continue to be made, the secured creditor would have no reason to repossess the vehicle.
People sometimes find it necessary to file bankruptcy again. The good news is you can file again; the bad news is you may want to wait a while. Under the new bankruptcy law, you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy eight years after you initially filed for Chapter 7 . You must wait four years to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy again.
You can actually file for Chapter 13 even before the 4 year limit, but in this case you’ll have to pay back 100% of your debt over time. While this might not sound like an appealing option, it may be a useful approach for people attempting to save their home from foreclosure.