How can I surrender my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

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Written by Kristin Turner.  Reviewed by Andrea Wimmer, Esq
Updated March 23, 2020

"Surrendering" your car means that you give it back to the lender that you financed it with. If you surrender your car, any debt that you owe on it will be forgiven when you receive your bankruptcy discharge.

If you would like to surrender your car, you must:

  1. let the bankruptcy court and the lender know on your Statement of Intentions,

  2. wait for the court to authorize the lender to repossess the car, and then

  3. make the car available for the lender to repossess. They can either come and get it from you or you can bring it to them at an agreed location. There is no hard and fast rule, but most creditors will try to repossess the car a few weeks after the court authorizes them to do so.

If you would like to learn more about the pros and cons of surrendering your car during bankruptcy, check out this article. If you originally planned on keeping the car and reaffirming your obligation to pay the loan but changed your mind, take these steps to make sure you're fully protected.

What you choose to do with your car in your bankruptcy is entirely up to you, and a choice that made sense for someone else may not make sense for you. We at Upsolve do not recommend any particular way forward, but we hope that this article and others we have written on the topic of secured debt gives you the tools you need to make an informed decision.

About the authors

Andrea Wimmer, Esq

Andrea practiced exclusively as debtors’ counsel in consumer chapter 7 and 13 cases for more than 10 years before joining Upsolve, first as a contributing writer and editor and ultimately joining the team full time in August 2019. While in private practice, Andrea handled all ban... read more

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