How to Value Your Assets in a Bankruptcy

When you file for bankruptcy, the petition needs to be accompanied schedules of property, which lists everything you own and its value. The latter information is especially important, as state exemptions allow you to protect personal property up to a certain value. Here are some tips for arriving at a reasonable estimate of each asset’s worth.

Real Property Valuation

Real property goes by fair market value, so current market data is the best way of valuing your home and other real estate assets. When pricing a house for sale, real estate agents often base their estimates upon recent sales of similar properties. You can also approximate value using websites like Zillow.com or hire a licensed appraiser for a more accurate figure.

Personal Property Valuation

For the purposes of bankruptcy, the value of personal property such as cars, household appliances, and furniture is the ‘liquidation value’. This refers to the price you would get if you sold the item at auction or a garage sale. For example, if you paid $300 for a dining room table, you might only get $50 for it under liquidation conditions.  

With intangible property, such as stock or intellectual property, the value tends to be determined by the market, or what someone would be willing to pay for it. For publicly traded stock, current pricing and sales data can be found in stock market reports. If you own part of a privately held company, the value will be whatever the other owners are willing to give you for it. With a business that you own yourself, the value is generally the liquidation value minus any debt.

Assets like permanent life insurance are valued at the cash surrender value, which is what you would get if you surrendered the policy to the insurer. Savings plans such as 401Ks and IRAs are valued according to the balance in the account, and educational IRAS are worth the amount you have contributed plus any interest accrued.

Some assets can be difficult to price, which is one of the reasons why working with an experienced Oklahoma bankruptcy attorney can take some of the stress out of the process. At the Law Offices of B. David Sisson we understand that bankruptcy requires you to collect and submit a lot of detailed information, and will do our best to help your schedules of property be as accurate as possible. For more information and a no-obligation consultation, contact us today.