Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t mean that you lose everything you have.
The law provides that you can keep certain assets for a “fresh start”.
You choose those assets by exempting property from the bankruptcy estate.
Exemptions describe what you keep either by the nature of the asset or by its value, regardless of what it is.
The federal exemptions include what’s called a grubstake or wild card exemption, which gives you a specified dollar amount of equity in any asset of your choice.
The vast majority of bankruptcy cases are “no asset” cases, in which the debtors have claimed an exemption in everything they own.
There are no assets that become part of the bankruptcy estate. Creditors get nothing by reason of the filing.
The exemptions that are available vary from state to state: this is the only area in which bankruptcy law, on its face, is not the same in all states.
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