Filing for bankruptcy may be an effective way to reorganize or eliminate your outstanding debt balances. In some cases, it may be possible to retain assets or retain a portion of the value of those assets in the event that they are liquidated. Under California law, you are generally entitled to retain equity in a car or the value of goods such as jewelry or works of art. You may also be entitled to keep clothing, household furnishings or other goods needed to live or work.
Motor vehicle equity
State law allows you to retain up to $2,300 in the event that your car is sold or an insurance claim is made against a damaged vehicle. If you own multiple cars, you are allowed to make a claim for up to $2,300. For example, if you owned three cars, you could keep roughly $775 per each vehicle in your possession. The value of a given motor vehicle is determined using the same appraisal tools commonly used by dealerships. An exemption of up to $4,850 is available for vehicles used for commercial purposes.
Jewelry and art exemptions
California bankruptcy laws allow you to keep up to $6,075 worth of jewelry, artwork and family heirlooms. Jewelry typically includes rings, necklaces or similar items while family heirlooms may theoretically include anything of value that has been passed down for generations.
Personal item exemptions
Any items that are necessary to carry out a trade or business may be exempt up to $6,075. These items may include a work van, a set of power tools or a device used for writing, drawing or other creative business ventures. This amount may be doubled if a debtor and their spouse both use tools for the purposes of running a business.