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Sentimental Items and Bankruptcy

By Adam Mack

We all have them: sentimental items that we couldn’t bear to part with. Perhaps they are items that have easily-assessed value such as an heirloom piece of jewelry or baseball cards your grandfather gave you. Perhaps they are items that are harder to appraise, like a hand-pieced quilt. Maybe it’s something as simple as your wedding ring. Whatever the history and dollar-value, these items are cherished.

So what happens to such items in a Kansas bankruptcy? Jewelry up to a certain amount is considered exempt, but what about when your wedding ring and your grandfather’s pocket watch together exceed that amount? What about your grandmother’s hand-pieced quilt? There’s a good chance you could claim it as exempt under the household goods and furnishings exemption. Fortunately, you have options and those items with the greatest sentimental value can sometimes be kept, depending on your circumstances.

Additionally, as we explained in our blog post about pets and bankruptcy, the trusteeisn’t always interested in gathering, storing, and liquidating every single article of nonexempt property. An heirloom piano might be too bothersome or expensive to move (especially if it’s in less-than-mint condition) and so the trustee might abandon it. In the case of something more portable and salable like jewelry, you can sometimes pay the difference and buy the sentimental item back from the bankruptcy estate.

The most important takeaway is that, when it comes to choosing which assets to keep, you do have some options and a qualified Kansas bankruptcy attorney can help you determine the best one for your personal circumstance.