If I file for bankruptcy, can they take my handicapped van with wheel chair lift away from me?

I use this van for my daughter who has celebral palsy. The van is 15 years old.

Asked on August 15, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

When you file bankruptcy, there are exemptions for various assets which you can use to prevent creditors from claiming the item.  One of the exemptions is for an automobile.  Since your van is fifteen years old, most likely due to its age, its value would fall within the amount allotted for the automobile exemption.  You will have to choose whether to use the federal exemptions or your state's exemptions. You choose either state or federal depending on which has the broader exemptions.  You can't combine them and will have to use either all federal or all state exemptions.  If for some reason, the automobile exemption is less than the value of your van, which is unlikely, you can use  the catchall exemption in addition to the automobile esemption to make up the difference so that the value of your vehicle will be exempt from the claims of creditors.

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