What’s The Rule Of Thumb For A Trustee To Take An Asset?

10 Aug What’s The Rule Of Thumb For A Trustee To Take An Asset?

There are protected amounts for assets when one files bankruptcy, but that does not mean that a trustee will automatically seize and sell an asset having a value slightly over the protected amount.

Much depends on the region you file, the particular pressures on a trustee from Washington when you file, the type of asset, the related costs of selling it, and the anticipated fees of the trustee. Say a car can be sold for $6,000. The federal exemption (protected value) is $3,225 and the costs of sale are $775. This leaves $2,000 for trustee’s commission and the trustee’s legal fees before the creditors get anything. It is not likely in Massachusetts that the car is at risk, as Washington does not appreciate assets taken solely to benefit a trustee. It’s certainly possible, however, and I’ve heard of trustees selling assets for far less money elsewhere.

There also is the emotional extortion issue. A trustee might not have any intention of selling your car, but she certainly knows you cannot survive without it – even if only for a couple of months until the trustee decides it cannot be sold at a high enough price. So her hand is out and reaching into your pocket for a cash settlement. Do you feel lucky, Punk? Well, Do You???

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L. Jed Berliner practices exclusively in consumer bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, and related consumer protection litigation such as credit card defenses and suing debt collectors. He established his Springfield, MA practice in 1988. Attorney Berliner is a regular and active contributor to the Bankruptcy Law Network, the Bankruptcy Roundtable, and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, three specialized consumer bankruptcy forums on the Internet, and is an informal mentor to regional practitioners. He is recognized by his peers as an expert in consumer bankruptcy issues. He thoroughly enjoys being rated "excellent" in his client surveys.

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