When you file for bankruptcy, you tell the court about your financial condition by filling out official bankruptcy forms and filing them with the court clerk. On Schedule A/B: Property, you list all of the property you own, as well as the property’s value, your ownership interest, the location, and more.
To find out about the other forms you must file, visit the Bankruptcy Forms topic area.
The court uses Schedule A/B: Property differently depending on the type of bankruptcy you file. For instance, when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you get to keep, or “exempt,” a modest amount of property, such as a car, furniture, and your clothing. The bankruptcy trustee compares the property you list on Schedule A/B: Property to Schedule C: The Property You Claim as Exempt. Then, the trustee sells any extra property that you can't keep and distributes the proceeds to your creditors.
In contrast, you can keep all of your property when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Instead, the value of your retained property helps determine how much you must repay your creditors--so the court needs the form to tally up your property. The more property you keep, the higher your payment will be.
Bankruptcy law requires you to disclose everything you own, without exception. For example, you might wonder if you have to disclose the snowmobile you’re still making payments on, or your upside down timeshare in Mexico. The answer is yes on both counts. If you have something of value in your possession, you must disclose it on the schedule. This likely includes everything other than your pebble collection and the leaves piling up on your lawn (because no one would give you money for those things).
Here are some other types of property you’ll include:
It depends on the particular asset. The trustee’s chief concern is determining the property’s value. So while it’s a good idea to provide your prized show dog’s breed and pedigree (you’ll list your pets in the “non-farm animals” category), the bankruptcy trustee will want to know other things about your Harley—namely, the year, make, model, mileage, and any equipment packages.
Fortunately, the form provides easy-to-understand instructions. Simply provide the information requested for each item. To speed up the process, you might want to gather deeds, mortgages, tax receipts, vehicle titles, banking statements, and the like, before getting started.
Here are more tips to help you with the trickier sections.
Description and location of your property. If you don’t have the street address of your real estate (such as with vacant land, for example), provide the major cross streets, the parcel control number on the county tax records, or both. For vehicles, additional descriptive information, such as 20’ travel trailer, goes in the space provided. It’s also a good idea to list the location of other property. For example, you'll want to include your bank’s address when accounting for the funds in your bank account.
Property types and other owners. You’ll tell the court about the type of real estate you own by checking the single-family home, multi-unit building, condominium, mobile home, or another type of property box. If you co-own your real estate (or vehicle) with someone else, you’ll indicate that by checking the appropriate box.
Current value. Here, you’ll list the value of your property without deducting any amount owed (such as from liens, mortgages, or exemptions). If you co-own your real estate with someone else, you’ll insert the value of your interest in the space provided. If you own it exclusively, you’ll list the full value again.
Real estate ownership type. If you know, you’ll list how you hold title to your real estate. The most common type of property ownership is “fee simple,” meaning that you have absolute ownership interest in the property. If you acquired the property while married in a community property state, you’ll check the “community property” box.
Personal and Household Items. These are the things you use on a daily basis, such as clothing and furniture. To save time, you can itemize your belongings by room and group like items together—for example, bedding, small appliances, and kitchenware. Also, you’ll list electronics, sporting equipment, gun collections, jewelry, pets, and any other items you own.
Other property. In this catch-all section, you’ll list any remaining property that you didn’t list elsewhere.
You can find a downloadable, fillable version of Schedule A/B: Property on the U.S. Court’s website.
This article provides general information only. When filing for bankruptcy, you must understand the federal and state laws governing the entire bankruptcy process. Failing to adequately research and understand how these laws might affect your case could result in unexpected consequences. If you aren’t familiar with the process, it's best to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, or, use a do-it-yourself book like Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.