Will I lose all my property if I file bankruptcy in Texas?

If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a "trustee" appointed by the Bankruptcy Court to take all of your "non-exempt" property and sell it, and use the money to pay the crediitors. But here in Texas, much or all of what most people own can be claimed as "exempt" or safe from the trustee.

Why is that? Frankly, Texas was settled by people who had big debt problems! They came here from other states. Many of them were one step ahead of the creditors. They wrote "GTT" for "Gone to Texas" on their cabin doors, so their creditors would likely just say forget it, it's not worth trying to collect anymore.

In any event, Texas laws are very liberal when it comes to what you can keep from your creditors. For a family, you can keep your home (up to 10 acres in a city or town, 200 acres in a rural area), plus all buildings and improvements, so long as used as part of the homestead. In addition, a family can keep up to $60,000 worth of equity in personal property, including clothes, jewelry, household goods and furniture, equity in vehicles, etc., with certain limitations.

Also exempt are retirement plans, college savings plans, annuities, life insurance, and many other things. NOT exempt are such things as brokerage accounts that are not a retirement plan, cash savings in the bank, check accounts, money market accournts and CD's.

Anyway, you do not lose all of your property when you file bankruptcy in Texas, not by a long shot. During your consultation with my office, we will be able to tell you if it is likely that you would lose any property to your trustee if you file bankruptcy in Texas.

At that point, we can discuss what your options are. Do NOT do anything based on the information in this FAQ until you have spoken with someone that is familiar with these matters. 

J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization