by Adam Mack, JD
Schedule B of your bankruptcy forms is the schedule where you disclose all of your personal property and assets. There are 34 very specific categories in which you need to organize your assets. And then for those of you who have that odd or unusual asset, there is Category 35 which serves as a catch all for your personal property. Anything that does not fit nicely into one of the first 34 types of property is to be listed and described under Category 35, which is officially described as “Other personal property of any kind not already listed.”
There are instructions for filling out Schedule B at the top of the form. However, one important omission in those instructions is how to value the property. Depending on your specific circumstances, proper valuation can be of critical importance and may ultimately effect the outcome of the case. It is of such critical importance because it may effect your ability to redeem property or avoid non-purchase money nonpossessory liens, not to mention that your schedules are signed and sworn under oath at risk of perjury, so being accurate is truly important.
This is commonly an issue if you are trying to cram down a vehicle’s value in a bankruptcy (allowing you to pay its value rather than what is owed). When valuing vehicles, courts commonly relay on objective, third party valuations such as Kelley Blue Book or the NADA. One caveat about using these guides, these guides normally assign a different value for if the vehicle is being sold by a private party versus a dealership. When valuing a vehicle you should be using replacement value, which has been interpreted as the value of the vehicle being “the price a retail merchant would charge for an item of that kind considering the age and condition of the property at the time its value is determined.”
When your ability to force a bank to take less than what you owe on a car turns on what the actual replacement value of that car is, then if the bank can find a way to object to your valuation, they likely will. Of course, the other problem with using Kelley Blue Book or the NADA is that it is somewhat of a one-size-fits-all approach. There may be other factors, like the damage to a fender, that might be difficult to quantify. While these pricing guides do allow for adjustments for wear and tear, mileage, and damage, whether or not a particular ding in your car’s body justifies moving down to the next tier describing your car’s condition may be up for debate. As such, even a simple valuation of a vehicle can create a level of scrutiny from the bank you were not anticipating. Do not try and tackle these issues on your own. Seek out a qualified Kansas bankruptcy lawyer for assistance.
These articles are for general informational use and do not constitute legal advice. Since laws change over time, it’s possible some articles are out of date and for that reason, we make no representation that the articles are fully accurate. For actual, up-to-date legal advice (including a free consultation), please contact us!