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Mar 2013

But I Surrendered My Property in My Bankruptcy!

Posted by / in After Bankruptcy / 6 comments

Bankruptcy gets you out of debts you don’t want, but not stuff you don’t want.

It doesn’t force the finance company to tow your car.  Or the timeshare people to foreclose the timeshare.  And it doesn’t make the bankruptcy court take anything.

Sue got a bad car loan and a bad car from a “buy here, pay here” car dealer.  The car is a 1999 Oldsmobile and it doesn’t run.  Sue still owes $6590.  Before, the dealer called Sue day and night, demanding payment, and threatening to garnish her and repossess the car.

Filing bankruptcy does not force the finance company to tow that junk car that won’t run. Bankruptcy gets you out of debts. It does not get rid of stuff nobody wants.

Sue WANTED him to repo the car–because she can’t afford to fix it.  But he never does.  He knew it wasn’t worth much when he sold it and he now knows it’s not worth towing away.

Now, the dealer can’t call Sue.  He can’t garnish her pay.  BUT he still won’t pick up the car.   She still can’t afford to fix it–and now its drawing tickets because the inspection has expired.

Sorry, Sue, you still have that problem.  Bankruptcy got rid of the debt, but it does not get rid of stuff nobody wants.

Mike owns a campground timeshare.  Made sense when he bought it–but hasn’t used it in years and it’s not worth the $550 annual maintenance fee.

When Mike filed bankruptcy, he was two years behind–and they were calling and threatening to garnish him.  Now that he’s filed, they’ve stopped calling, and they can’t sue.  But on January 1, they sent him a bill for another years annual maintenance.

Sorry, Mike, you still have that problem.  Bankruptcy got rid of the debt you didn’t want.  But it does NOT get rid of the stuff nobody wants.

Is there any help for Sue and Mike?

Usually, people like Sue can find a junk yard or small repair shop which will take the car off her hands–if she pays them a small fee.  But she can’t force anybody.

In the same way, the timeshare people will usually accept a deed in lieu –so they can turn around and sell that campground to someone else.  But Mike can’t force them.   If you own stuff that you want to get rid of, there’s no bankruptcy junkyard where you can just “surrender property.”  You need to talk your way–or buy your way–out of the problem.

Good luck!



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Robert Weed has helped fifteen thousand people file bankruptcy in Northern Virginia. Robert Weed is a frequent panelist and speaker at the meetings of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. He is one of Northern Virginia’s most experienced personal bankruptcy lawyers. As an expert on changing consumer bankruptcy laws, Robert Weed has been interviewed on local and national TV and quoted in newspapers across the country.

  • Jodi

    November 2, 2013, pm30 5:58 PM

    How long after a bankruptcy discharge can I cosign for a student college loan for my child?

    • Robert Weed

      November 2, 2013, pm30 8:18 PM


      Should be no problem right away.

  • Sam

    December 7, 2013, am31 1:41 AM

    I surrendered a vehicle and the car has been sitting for 17 months waiting on the creditor to pick it up. In September 2013 the creditor said they would file a “Release of Lien” and mail the title to me. That was never done. After checking with the creditor the status of the title is in limbo. Now my attorney has advised me if I don’t want the vehicle send it to a junk yard. Can I do this without getting in trouble with the creditor? Since I don’t have the title and the vehicle is still legally the creditor’s property, how can I be sure the creditor won’t come later and try to collect on the property? I thought I was still responsible for the property until the creditor picks it up or hands over the title.

    • Robert Weed

      December 7, 2013, pm31 12:09 PM


      I agree with you that there’s a little to worry about, but I agree with your lawyer that you have to do something. At some point if they don’t want it, you have to get rid of it. It is precisely because you are still responsible for the property that you just just leave it sit forever.

  • Tammy Ferguson

    September 26, 2016, pm30 8:44 PM

    I have filed a chapter 7. My attorneys said my house thats paid off would b exempt. The trustee is making me come up with $10,000.00 or surrender my home. I am 58 years old and disabled living on Social Security. I have 20 days to do this. Is there anything i can do to save my home of 38 years?

    • Robert Weed

      September 27, 2016, am30 7:35 AM


      I’m sorry but the laws in each state are different on whether you can keep your house. I don’t know what to tell you.

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