When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy everything you own is temporarily not yours.  Your property becomes part of the “bankruptcy estate” which means it is subject to the bankruptcy court’s authority.  While much of your property will be exempt, there are certain common categories of property which will be lost by filing bankruptcy.

The most common types of property which you will lose in bankruptcy are tax refunds, cash in your bank accountreal property other than your primary residence, stocks, bonds, and any collector’s item with a value of several hundred dollars or more.  Any item that can be easily sold by the trustee to pay your creditors is property which you may lose in bankruptcy.  Before filing for bankruptcy, you should discuss with your attorney all of your property, especially items with an auction value of more than $500.  Your attorney will help you determine whether an exemption applies or whether you will need to turn over the property to the trustee.

In addition, any property which you transferred for up to a year prior to filing bankruptcy may also become part of your bankruptcy estate.  This is especially true if you paid one of your creditors or you gave away property prior to filing bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy trustee is able to unwind those transactions and bring the transferred property into the bankruptcy estate.

Again, if you have any questions about whether you will lose a particular item of property, discuss this in detail with your attorney prior to filing.