When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll have to complete and file something called Schedule B – Personal Property. On this form, you list all of the personal property you own on the date you file for bankruptcy, the location of the property, and its value.
(To learn about the other forms you must file, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.)
How to Get Schedule B?
You can find the most recent version of Schedule B on the U.S. Court’s website at www.uscourts.gov. To learn more about getting the official and other forms, see The Bankruptcy Forms: Getting Started.
What Personal Property Must You List?
You must list everything you own, including property that is security for a debt and property that is exempt.
Be extremely thorough when listing your property. It’s not up to you to decide that an asset isn’t worth listing. If you omit something and the trustee finds out, you could get into trouble (for example, the court could dismiss your case or revoke your discharge).
How to Complete Schedule B
The instructions at the beginning of Schedule B are fairly self-explanatory. There are five columns in the form.
Type of Property. This column lists 34 different categories of personal property and one “other” category where you can list anything else not covered.
None. If you don’t own any property in a listed category, put an “x” in the none column.
Description and location or property. Here you tell the court what the property is (for example, “Bank of America checking account #1234” or “diamond necklace”) and where the property is located. You may also want to note what method you used to come up with the item’s value (for example, “replacement value from www.nada.com”).
How married couples own the property. The fourth column of Schedule B applies only if you are married. For each piece of property, state whether the husband owns the property (H), the wife owns the property (W), the husband and wife own the property jointly (J), or the property is community property (C).
To learn more about property ownership among spouses, see Separate and Community Property During Marriage: Who Owns What?
If you are part of a same-sex married couple, how the court will treat your union, and how you should complete the forms will vary by district. It would be very wise to consult with a bankruptcy attorney familiar with these issues.
Current value of debtor’s interest. In the last column of Schedule B, you list the replacement value of the property, without regard to any secured interests or exemptions. (You will list exemptions on Schedule C, and liens and secured interests on Schedule D). Replacement value is the amount it would cost to purchase equivalent property from a retail vendor given the item’s age and condition.
Some property may be tough to value, like a personal injury claim where you don’t yet know if you’ll get a judgment.
If you don’t have a 100% interest in the property, list only the value of your interest. For example, if you and your brother are co-owners of a car, list half of the car’s value on the form.
Courts vary as to how specific you must be when listing property. For example, you may be able to lump your cookware together and list one aggregate value for everything. Or you may be required to list everything with a value over $50.
To learn about the other forms you must file in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.
This article provides general information only. There are many legal issues involved and important decisions to be made when filing for bankruptcy. You must understand the entire bankruptcy process, learn about the applicable federal and state laws, and determine how those laws will affect your particular situation before you complete the bankruptcy forms. If you want to file bankruptcy without a lawyer, use a good do-it-yourself book like Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to ensure you make well informed decisions about your bankruptcy case.