Valuing Property: How do I know how much my property is worth?

The bankruptcy exemption laws allow you to keep property valued up to a certain dollar amount.  Anything that exceeds that amount must be paid back.  The question people ask if “How do I determine the value of my property?”

For items as bank accounts, you would use the balance of the account the day you filed your bankruptcy.

For your home, the best method would be to use the valuation as determined by a certified appraiser.  As an appraisal can be costly, you could also used the value as determined by a broker price opinion (BPO) or the value as determined by your local tax collector.  Sources such as Zillow and Trulia could also be used.

For your vehicle, you must use the NADA retail value of the vehicle as adjusted by needed repairs to the vehicle.  If you believe that your vehicle is worth less than the NADA retail value, you should have your car appraised by a certified appraiser.

Personal property and jewelry is often times the hardest property to determine valuation.  The most accurate valuation would be to use a certified appraiser or gemologist.  You could also check sources such as Craigslist, Goole, Yahoo, or Bing to see what your items are selling for.  Alternately, you could look at bankruptcy schedules filed by other people to see what valuations they used.

If you are filing bankruptcy in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, or Lehigh Acres, the bankruptcy trustee’s office will verify the value of your vehicle with the NADA valuation so make sure your numbers are accurate.  Although the appraised value is the most accurate value, it is also the most costly method of determining valuation.  Speak to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Cape Coral at (239) 206-1948  to help you decide when and if you should get the appraisal.

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