How to Value Personal Property on your Bankruptcy Schedules



By:Mike Cibik

Anyone filing bankruptcy must value their personal property on their schedules, including their clothing, furniture, books and pictures, and other assorted knickknacks. Schedule “B” has categories for all these things and everyone has them, so everyone must list and value them. But how do you do this? We get many calls from people flummoxed by the concept of having to put a value on their personal items. Actually, it’s quite simple in the vast majority of cases to value your personal property on your bankruptcy schedules.

You do not typically have to itemize personal property items within a category such as clothing or furniture. We will usually put “Miscellaneous items, no item worth more than $450 on Schedule “B” unless there is an unusually valuable individual item. However, whether property in a category is listed collectively or not, it must be fairly valued. What value to use? The correct measure of value is “current market value.” This is what a buyer would pay now for the item at its present age and condition. Consequently, what you bought your shirt for at Casual Male in the 90s is irrelevant, what matters is what someone would pay for it now in its used condition.

As you might imagine, for many personal items, the current market value is quite low, so usually a common-sense, good faith estimate that you pull out of thin air will be just fine. However, in case of doubt, browsing eBay will usually help guide your estimations. The key is to be honest and value property in good faith. If you do this, you’ll be fine. Chapter 7 trustees have no real interest in the standard personal effects that most people have.


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