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Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

Can I Keep My Racehorse If I File Bankruptcy?

Question: I'm a dentist but I also breed and race horses all over the country. I haven't had a horse in the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes or Preakness, but maybe someday I will. I live in Milton and my office is in North Fulton.

I need to file bankruptcy because of a divorce and because my ex-wife spent a lot of money on credit cards. We remodeled our home and we bought a lake house we couldn't afford. I bought jet skis, a sailboat and a speed boat. That's all before I developed a gambling problem. I bet over the internet on sports like football, baseball and basketball. Then I got into soccer and cricket. I had a big problem. Then I got into drugs and alcohol.

Some of my investments lost money and I got my car repossessed and my bank account was frozen by a creditor.

Now I'm in recovery for drugs and alcohol. I'd really like to keep my best horse when I file bankruptcy. Can I keep the horse if I file a chapter 7 bankruptcy? When my friend filed bankruptcy he was able to keep his dog, which was a mutt, so maybe you can keep any animal. My horse is valued at over $100,000.00.

Answer: It's unlikely that you will be able to retain a racehorse with a value of $100,000.00 if you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Due to the animal's substantial value, it will be viewed as an asset by the bankruptcy trustee. If you file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, however, you may very well be able to retain the horse.

People routinely keep their animals, like your friend's pet dog. If the animal has a low monetary value like most pets, it should never present an issue for bankruptcy.

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