How Do I Value My Property for Bankruptcy?

By James Jennings

865349331-547x300It seems like with almost every client when I ask them how much something is worth they just stare at me and shrug their shoulders.  It is important for you to determine an accurate value for your property.  Why? Because when preparing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy the Court wants you to disclose all of your assets and their value.  This in turn helps the Trustee that is appointed by the Court (who more or less represents the interests of the creditors in your case) determine if you have anything of value so that they can liquidate it and pay the people you owe – well at least in part anyway.

It is important to note that most if not all your personal property may be exempt from being taken away by the Court.  This all depends on the value of the property, the laws in your state.  Arizona statues concerning exemptions can be found in a publication provided by the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona.

So how does a person figure out the value of their personal property?  Well I guess that would depend in part on what type of personal property we a talking about.

The bankruptcy laws require that you value your personal property at retail replacement value. This is the price a retail merchant would charge for property of that kind considering the age and condition of the property at the time the value is determined. It is not the cost of replacing your items with new items. The value should represent the amount you would have to pay, on the date you file for bankruptcy, to replace each item with a used item of similar age and in similar condition.

large_carsssIn regards to motor vehicles, like cars, trucks, SUVs and the like, most people I know go to Kelly Blue Book’s website.  There are also other trade publications or you can have your vehicle appraised by a professional.

If you want to figure out what your furniture, household goods, clothing or other similar items you could try to visit various thrift stores, such as Goodwill, or local flea markets, or garage sales to see what comparable goods are selling for. Keep a record of the dates and locations you visit to support your valuation. You can also check online sales or auction sites. Wherever you find your values, make sure to list the age and condition of the property to give the trustee a better idea of what you are valuing.

For jewelry, furs, and collectibles will almost always need an appraisal. Make clear to the appraiser that you are looking for a current sale value appraisal and not an appraisal for insurance. The valuations may be different. Pawn shops may give you the lowest appraisal value but they have a general reputation for undervaluing property and may not be the best source. A reputable dealer in estate property may be the best source for appraisals on these items.

If you have any questions regarding a specific legal matter or legal strategy you should contact an attorney for legal advice.  If you would like to get started on a family law or bankruptcy case call us today, 602-896-9020, email us at, or visit our website at

We invite you to subscribe to Discount Divorce & Bankruptcy Twitter account: @discountdivorce and Facebook page: Both of these social media sites have value information.



Author: arizonadivorcebankruptcy

We are the legal document and case management solution you are looking for. Discount Divorce and Bankruptcy is the only service in the industry that prepares your legal documents for you AND manages your case from beginning to end. We have successfully handled an estimated 12,000 family law cases (divorce, legal separation, annulment, child support, parental visitation, custody modifications, and much much more) and some 5,000 chapter 7 bankruptcy matters for Arizona families.

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