Q: How should my vehicle ownership be listed on Schedule A/B and as an exemption on Schedule C in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
I'm filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy pro se because I cannot afford a lawyer. I am working with a non-profit organization called Upsolve to complete my paperwork, but their help in regards to my vehicle is confusing me.
On Schedule A/B under Part 2 (Describe your vehicles) my vehicle's total value is listed (about $13000). I obtained this value from Kelley Blue Book. Next to it, it asks for the "Current value of the portion you own?". I purchased my car with an auto loan and make monthly payments. Currently, my equity in the car is only about 8%. I am the only person on the title. Should the value listed for this question be the same as the current total value, or should it only be the equity I have in the car (about $1000).
Similarly, in Schedule C, should my vehicle's total value of the portion I own be listed as the full amount or only the equity? Should I be exempting the total value of the vehicle or only the equity I have? I am current on payments.
A: You really do need a lawyer. Your question reveals it, but here is how it goes
You determine your car's value using some like Blue Book, Black Book, or whatever, or Cars.com on line. Be honest about your car's condition. If it needs work the value should be lower than if it is pristine.
In this district we average the loan value and the wholesale to get a stated value.
You list the note for your car on the creditor schedule and tie it to the car because the car is collateral for the loan. I doubt there will be any equity, but that is what you claim as your exemption; however, you need to note that you wish to reaffirm the debt on your statement of intention.
Are you filling this out by hand. If you are my sympathies are with you.
A: The value of the vehicle should be it’s true current value. Kelly Blue Book may or may not reflect that. Ask yourself “what would this vehicle bring if I sold it?”
The “current value of the portion you own?” will be the whole value. Sometimes people own vehicles jointly with someone else, typically a son or daughter.
Your equity in the car is important and is reflected on Schedule C. Exemptions only apply to equity, so the amount of equity you will claim as exempt is the amount of equity you have in the vehicle.
Even if you believe you cannot afford an attorney you should not be acting pro se. There are resources available to help you in that regard.
For example, I volunteer through the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Legal Action of Wisconsin. You can reach them at 744 Williamson Street, Suite 200, Madison, WI 53703; 855-947-2529 (new caller/intake); 608-256-3304 (local office line for current clients); 800-362-3904 (toll free); FAX: 608-256-0510. I cannot tell what part of the state you are located in, but we have such a system state-wide.
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