When you file for personal bankruptcy you are required to list all your assets.
For real estate, it is usually best to get either an appraisal done or have an independent realtor do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). It is generally not a good idea to rely on the county tax assessment for real estate because that assessment does not take into consideration things that need to be fixed or repaired on any given piece of real estate. If there are significant repairs needed it is a good idea to have photos taken, to itemize the repairs needed, and to obtain quotes for the work.
For vehicles, it is usually best to get a NADA, Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book private party value based on the mileage and condition. If you know there are significant repairs needed you should obtain quotes for the work.
For household goods and furnishings, you could look on eBay, Craigslist, or similar websites to get an idea of what your used stuff is worth.
For jewelry, it would be a good idea to get an “estate” quote from a jeweler or visit a pawn shop to see how much they would give for your jewelry.
For guns or collectibles, there are various websites (e.g. www.gunbroker.com, etc.) you can search to find comparables for your assets.
The main idea with all assets is that you want to determine a fair market value.
Some assets might not be easy to find comparables for, and if you have assets like that then you should consult with your bankruptcy attorney to find out the best way to value those assets.
As always, the most important point is to make sure that you’ve listed all your assets, which is required in all bankruptcy cases.
By Errin Stowell, W M Law Attorney