If you’re a Colorado resident facing an insurmountable amount of debt, you may be considering bankruptcy. Bankruptcy helps people get out from underneath crippling debt, but many consumers ignore bankruptcy options because they’re afraid they will lose their car, home, or retirement benefits if they decide to file. Fortunately, filing bankruptcy in Colorado doesn’t mean you will lose your home or your car. In fact, consumers in Colorado can escape debt without losing their most important possessions thanks to bankruptcy exemptions.
Colorado is one of the more bankruptcy-friendly states in the country. Unlike many other U.S. states, Colorado has relatively relaxed exemption rules for Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers. An exemption rule allows a person filing bankruptcy to keep certain assets “out” of the bankruptcy. This means that filing bankruptcy can get you out from underneath unsecured debts without losing your vehicle or your home.
Bankruptcy exemptions exist because the founders of the United States believed that the common person is entitled to protection from creditors. The right to file bankruptcy is protected in the U.S. Constitution, and since the United States has been founded, many famous business owners and politicians have taken advantage of this legal right. Henry Ford, Abe Lincoln, Mark Twain, and Walt Disney – among many others – have all taken advantage of their constitutionally protected rights and filed bankruptcy.
Because bankruptcy is designed to protect consumers, the bankruptcy laws are written so that individuals can escape crippling debt without losing important assets. A person’s home, for example, is often a lifetime investment. In Colorado, not only can residents can keep their home during bankruptcy, but they can also keep as much as $60,000 worth of home equity. Colorado residents CAN file bankruptcy without losing their homes.
Colorado provides exemptions for other important assets as well. Colorado residents are entitled to exempt their vehicle, their retirement assets, and many basic possessions that are necessities (like clothing and furniture). Again, bankruptcy is designed to protect consumers and help them start over. Important possessions that are needed for daily life – like a car and tools for work – can be kept out of bankruptcy.
Colorado’s bankruptcy exemption rules are designed to help consumers, but they’re not some sort of pass that allows people to avoid their obligations. When a consumer files bankruptcy, any cash, second homes, or valuables they have may be taken and distributed to creditors. These valuables can include clothing, jewelry, furniture, artwork, and even family heirlooms. If you’re serious about filing bankruptcy and you’d like to avoid losing your valuables, there are some strategies you can implement, but you must consult with a bankruptcy attorney to learn more about these strategies and how to implement them.
Bankruptcy isn’t something that should be taken lightly, and anyone considering bankruptcy would be smart to consult with an attorney. Filing bankruptcy can be a complicated legal process. There can be a lot of preparation involved, and if mistakes are made there can be serious legal and financial ramifications. Bankruptcy lawyers are invaluable because they can help consumers avoid costly mistakes.
Bankruptcy isn’t always a simple process, and it’s not a trick that allows consumers to avoid obligations. However, bankruptcy IS a legally guaranteed right and a great way for some consumers to get out from underneath inescapable debt. It might not be for everyone, but bankruptcy is a smart financial choice that is legally guaranteed. Colorado residents are fortunate to live in a progressive, consumer-oriented state with substantial bankruptcy exemption rules. So, if you’re considering bankruptcy and you live in Colorado, your next step should be to contact a bankruptcy attorney and discuss your options.
Author Jason Lancaster is a former finance manager and a Denver native. If you’re considering bankruptcy, be sure to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer to learn more about and your legal rights.