G is for Gumshoe

Gumshoe? What does that have to do with bankruptcy?

To file a bankruptcy in chapter 7 or chapter 13 you must be a bit of a sleuth, investigator or gumshoe!

Asset Values

For example, you have to dig into the value of your assets. It will take some looking to figure out what that stamp collection is worth. It’s not just the catalog value (which is easy enough to find) but the value is what you could sell them for at the time you file the bankruptcy case. You’ll have to look at what similar items sold for at auction or what the dealer will pay you for them. This will generally be much less than the listed catalog value.

You might have to search online at eBay or Craigslist. These are both good sources for electronics. Make sure you use the year, make, model number and specs when comparing items. Also see what the items have sold for on eBay not just the starting auction prices or the buy it now price.

Sometimes people think that if it is a new unused item, the value must be what they paid for it. Not so. Values these days are on the decline and just taking something home causes at least 50% depreciation.

I know someone who purchased an expensive set of silverware that was still in the shrink-wrapped box. They insisted it was worth at least $10,000 and they were concerned about getting a bankruptcy exemption for it. I insisted they look more into the value and see what they could sell the set for. The amount that they could actually liquidate it for was only $1,500.

Debts and Liabilities

You also need to investigate your liabilities and become a Gumshoe. Sometimes you need to call for a payoff value (auto and home loans) and other times you need to investigate the mailing address. If you are filing for a bankruptcy you’ll need to list the correspondence address or a bankruptcy notice address — not the payment mailing address. It’s not always easy to locate these addresses. If you run your credit report the listed address is usually not correct. You can generally locate the correspondence address on the statement, sometimes on the front and often in small text on the back.

Be Careful of Assumptions and Do Your Digging

The take away here is don’t make assumptions. Don’t assume the value has any relationship to what you paid for the item. Do look into it and investigate the value. Also make sure you have the correct notice addresses for your creditors.

More Bankruptcy G’s:

Image Credit: Leo Reynolds.



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