Will I be able to keep my car if I file for Las Vegas bankruptcy?

Las Vegas bankruptcy filers frequently wonder, can you keep your car if you file for bankruptcy in Las Vegas?

The answer is “YES,” depending on your circumstances.

One of the nice features of our bankruptcy law is that it acknowledges the need for certain necessities in life.  And therefore it provides exemptions for various necessities.  And one of those is a car.  It’s hard for most people to go to their job and do other necessary things in their life without their car.

That said, there are also limits.  And it’s important to work with an experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney to know what the limits are and how to best approach the situation.

Here are some of the scenarios under which you can keep your car if you file for bankruptcy in Las Vegas:

1.  Your car has a current market value of $15,000 or less and you own it and no longer need to make payments on it.  Nevada allows for a car exemption of $15,000.  If your car is worth more than that, you may still be able to keep it, but the situation becomes a little more complicated.

2.  If the market value of your car is above $15,000, one way to keep your car is to buy back the non-exempt equity.  So if your car’s market value is $17,000, you can give $2,000 to the trustee in order to keep the car.  Of course, this means you need to have $2,000 available to spend.  One other possibility is that sometimes, if your car’s market value is only a little bit above the exempt amount, it may not be worth the trustee’s time to pursue the excess equity.,

3.  You can “assume” the lease if you are leasing the car.  This means you have to continue making payments on the car even during and after the bankruptcy case.  This is therefore something you have to sit down and think through to figure out if you can afford it.

5.  If you can do without the car for a short while, you can also give up your car now and then, once you have your discharge, purchase a new car.  After bankruptcy, it is often easier to obtain credit since you are not weighed down by other debts.  This may also be a good first step in reestablishing your credit.  At the same time, you of course need to be careful about incurring too much debt and falling back into financial trouble.

If you have more questions about vehicles and the bankruptcy process, feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney at 702-880-5554 for a free initial consultation.

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