What Can You Keep After a Bankruptcy?

Assets that can be kept after filing for bankruptcy depend on whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed, according to Privacy Matters. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation or straight bankruptcy, all assets can be sold, while in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, home, personal items and stocks are exempt.

Even though bankruptcy is a federal proceeding, certain states such as Florida have exemptions, reports Privacy Matters. Florida allows debtors to keep their cars and homes as well as IRA accounts and a passport, though restrictions are placed on the value of the cars.

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as reorganization, personal items can be kept as long as the total value is under $1,000, according to Privacy Matters. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to hold onto some assets because it is based on an interest-free repayment plan, so the assets retained are based on income. However, in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, usually a trustee is appointed to organize, value and dispense assets to creditors. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may close faster than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, sometimes within three to four months. Although bankruptcy allows debtors to close their debts, Privacy Matters warns that bankruptcy status must be maintained for at least three years and appears on credit reports.