People whose financial circumstances lead them to contemplate filing a Las Vegas bankruptcy often wonder what will happen to their jewelry during the proceedings. It’s an interesting question because aside from houses and vehicles, jewelry is often the next most valuable asset debtors have—if they haven’t pawned them to pay bills. Those fearing losing jewelry to the Trustee, especially if it’s unusually valuable or inherited, are mostly unfounded. Here are nine things worth knowing about jewelry in Las Vegas bankruptcy.
1. Have your jewelry professionally appraised. It’s critical to know exactly how valuable your property is, and your lawyer can’t help you if he or she doesn’t know its value either. You may find that some pieces are more or less valuable than you thought, which may influence how you intend to handle them in your bankruptcy schedules.
2. Nevada exemptions allow debtors to keep up to $5,000 in jewelry out of the bankruptcy estate and out of the Trustee’s hands.
3. However, this is the same category as books, works of art, and musical instruments, so if you have a grand piano and other valuable artwork that you’d like to keep along with some jewelry, you will have to make choices.
4. Fortunately, Nevada allows a $1,000 “wild card” exemption that can be divvied up and applied to any property. If the art and jewelry are worth more to you than other items, then that’s up to $6,000 in jewelry that’s protected.
5. Do not omit jewelry from your schedules in order to hide it. If you do that, and the Trustee finds out, you might lose it.
6. The good news is that Trustees do not sell jewelry often. They prefer liquid assets for which there are broader markets, e.g. stocks and bonds. They don’t want to spend months lining up buyers. Even if it does come down to that, remember that the Trustee will probably get only a fraction of the piece’s value, and the exemption will eat up most of that.
7. Even if the Trustee chooses to sell the item, debtors have six months to pay the value of the item less the exemption, which is another reason Trustees rarely sell jewelry.
8. If worse comes to worst, you’ll lose some jewelry, but at least you’ll have your debts discharged, which can be a substantial windfall for you.
9. Do not rely on a jewelry appraiser’s advice on jewelry in bankruptcy. They are not lawyers.
Deciding how to allocate your possessions in bankruptcy is an important part of the process of clearing your debts, which is a compelling reason to hire an experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Freedom Law Firm Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation by calling 702-903-1354.