One of the top concerns people have when deciding whether to file bankruptcy is whether the trustee will make them turn over any of their possessions. Protecting your possessions is the first thing lawyers at Hortwitz & Horwitz discuss with prospective clients. When you file a bankruptcy, technically, all your assets (money, rights to money, real estate, personal items) are under the control of the trustee/bankruptcy court, although they remain in your possession. Even so, with an understanding of the exemption laws, one can go into the bankruptcy knowing that certain items are protected against the trustee taking any interest in them, as generally they are either not of sufficient value or have liens against them (such as a car loan).
You may have questions about whether the balance of your 401k or your IRA is available to the trustee. Luckily, they are protected up to the total amount you have in there, so long as you leave them alone and intact. In like fashion, if you receive social security, that cannot be reached by the trustee so long as its origin can be clearly traced as originating under the Social Security Act.
To learn more about protecting your possessions when filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced lawyer at Horwitz & Horwitz.