by Adam Mack
People who file chapter 7 or chapter 13 will also file a Schedule C which is the form that shows the trustee, court, and creditors what property the debtor is claiming as exempt. This is a relatively straight forward form however, the importance of getting it right cannot be overstated. You are not required to claim anything as exempt, but if you do not, then the assets you do not claim as exempt will be considered non-exempt and you will lose that property. Even if there is a statute that says the particular property at issue is exempt, that is not enough. You MUST affirmatively claim that property as exempt. It is much like taxes in that respect. You are not required to claim certain deductions you are entitled to, but you will not get the benefit of that deduction if you do not claim it.
The official form as of the date I am writing this article consists of four columns. Column one is the “Description of Property” column. It is best practice to make sure that the item listed in the column is identically listed in Schedule A or B (which is where you list the property you own).
Second is the “Specify Law Providing Each Exemption” column. This is where you list the legal authority for your exemption. Keep in mind that Kansas bankruptcy exemptions may apply.
Third is the “Value of Claimed Exemption” column. Here you state how much you are claiming as exempt in dollar amounts. For example, in Kansas we have a $1,000 jewelry exemption. So, if you only have $350 of jewelry, then you would list $350, not $1,000.
Fourth is the “Current Value of Property Without Deducting Exemption” column. In this column, we put the total amount of the value of the particular property that is being exempted. For example, lets say your house is worth $150,000, but you only have $30,000 of equity in the house, you would still list the full $150,000 value.
Again, the most important thing to stress here is that the onus is on you to make sure you get the exemptions right. It may seem like a simple task, but the margin of error is very slim. You should consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to make sure you are properly protecting your assets through the bankruptcy process.
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 Since laws change over time, it’s possible some articles are out of date and for that reason, we make no representation that the articles are fully accurate.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!