Question: I got laid off from my job at Apple then I got laid off from my job at Waffle House. Now I'm working at North Point Mall. And I've got a ton of IRS debt and student loan debt. I really don't have any assets except for my car, some furniture, and a bicycle. But I do have an engagement ring and a wedding ring. I got divorced about 3 years ago when my husband got back from Afghanistan where he worked as a contractor for the military. I need to file bankruptcy soon to get rid of a garnishment of my pay. Do I have to tell the Georgia bankruptcy court about my engagement ring or my wedding ring?
Answer: Under the bankruptcy law you need to disclose all of your assets. Engagement rings and wedding rings can be valuable assets worth substantial sums of money. Or they can be merely of sentimental value and not have a great monetary value. Either way, the law requires you to disclose the rings.
Engagement rings and wedding rings can have monetary value because they contain precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires or emeralds. They can also have value if they contain gold, silver or platinum. Engagement rings and wedding rings can be purchased at the numerous jewelry stores throughout Georgia, including the many jewelry stores in the Atlanta area such as the Shane Company, Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, Solomon Brothers, D. Geller and Son, and Iroff and Son, just to name a few.
The onus is on the bankruptcy filer to declare the rings. However, if you do not declare ownership of them the bankruptcy trustee or bankruptcy court judge will likely not know they exist. Of course, if the rings are insured, were used as collateral for a loan, etc., there is likelihood that the trustee or bankruptcy court judge will discover them. As the old saying goes, honesty is the policy.
As for what a ring's value is, you might want to have it appraised at a competent jewelry store, a pawn shop or at an auction house that has experts who know jewelry. Some auction houses are Christie's, Sotheby's or Bonhams.
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