These questions are important, and the answer to the question is two-fold:
- Is there a lien against the property?
- If no lien exists, what Bankruptcy Exemptions are available?
If there is a lien against the property, which is equal to or more than the value of the property, as long as you remain current on the payments for that house or car, you will be able to keep the property.
If there is no lien, or the lien is less than the value of the property, you have some equity in the property. When you have equity in property, your attorney must review the exemptions available to you and determine if there is an exemption available that will protect that asset.
Individual states have the right to use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions or to set their own. In New York State, debtors in Bankruptcy are entitled to choose between the Federal Exemptions and the New York State Exemptions. There are rules regarding debtors who have not resided in New York for all of the last two years and the exemptions they are required to use. So, if you have moved to New York recently, discuss with your attorney what exemptions will be available to you.