How is the value of what I own determined in bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy Courts use “replacement value” when determining the value of your assets. Replacement value is defined in the Bankruptcy Code as the price that a retail merchant would charge for property of the same kind, considering the age and condition of the property at the time its value is determined.

This is not the cost to replace the item with a new one or what you could sell the item for; it is the cost that a retailer would sell the used item for in the condition it’s in now.

In cases such as used clothing, furniture, computers, TV, etc. it would be the value of the items if you had a yard sale or placed them on eBay.

For jewelry, antiques or collectables, it may be the retail value or pawn shop value.

For motor vehicles, it would be the third-party purchase value.

For real property, it is what the land would sell for at current market value.

For cash and bank accounts, it is the actual amount on deposit the day you file.

For stocks and bonds, it is their market value as of the date your case is filed.

If you have questions or are unsure how to value your assets, your bankruptcy attorney will assist.  Just be sure to provide a complete list of everything you own when discussing your assets as you prepare to file your case.