Will a Kansas Bankruptcy Trustee Take My Household Goods?

17 Sep Will a Kansas Bankruptcy Trustee Take My Household Goods?

Most of my clients keep all their household goods when they file for bankruptcy in Kansas. This is in sharp contrast to other states that have dollar limits on the amount of household goods you can protect.

Kansas bankruptcy trustees may not seize most personal belongings. The law protects “furnishings, equipment and supplies that are reasonably necessary at the principal residence of the person for a period of one year.” There is no dollar limit.

This protection is called the Kansas household goods exemption. It covers clothing,furniture and appliances, food, dishes and utensils, bedding, fuel, and tools to maintain the home such as the lawn mower and snow shovel. The law protects a family from being left destitute.

Court cases have interpreted this Kansas exemption very broadly. Most personal property used to furnish or equip a Kansas home is protected. It is rare to have a dispute over a household good exemption. It is possible, though, for a bankruptcy trustee to defeat the exemption by arguing an extraordinary item, such as a Picasso painting, is not reasonably necessary to furnish a home. The bankruptcy judge decides what is reasonable.

The household goods exemption does not protect property purchased from a merchant on credit. Those goods must be paid for or surrendered to the merchant in bankruptcy.

As always, the information on this blog is very general and you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine what household goods you will be allowed to keep in your bankruptcy case.

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Jill Michaux has helped Kansas consumers with debt problems for three decades. She and her partner, Mark Neis, are Topeka's only bankruptcy specialists, board certified in consumer bankruptcy law by the American Board of Certification. She help start the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

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