Will my father lose his home and furnishings, if he files for bankruptcy?

He is 84 and only has social security for income. He doesn’t own any other real estate, athough he has had homestead rights on his home for over 30 years. One of his friends told him the courts will take everything he owns (of any value at all) away from him and could leave him homeless. Is that true? His only debt is that from credit cards, approximately $20,000.

Asked on June 26, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

Malissa Walden / Kansas City Bankruptcy Attorneys Walden & Pfannenstiel, LLC

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

When you file for bankruptcy any property you own will be classified as exempt property or non-exempt property.  Exempt property is safe during the bankruptcy.  Non-exempt property can be sold for the benefit of your creditors.  Each state is allowed to decide what exemptions are available to their residents.

Your father needs to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney so that he can learn what options are available to him and what risks he may face.

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No.  Bankruptcy allows an individual to claim and keep a homestead and a certain amount of personal property.  So, if your father has lived in a house for over 30 years, it's most definitely his homestead which will be exempt for seizure.  He will also be allowed to exlude from seizure most of his personal belongs (like his furniture, clothes, appliances).  If he has extra "fun" toys, like an old Harley in the garage or two fishing boats, then the "extras" could be required to be sold to pay debts.  Bankruptcy attorneys are fairly competitive and most will offer a free consultation.  Consider taking your dad to talk to a couple to help you and him get a better feel of the process before you make any final decisions. 


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