One of the major problems that we face in assisting folks in filing bankruptcy, especially here in Kentucky, is making sure that all guns and related equipment that they own, are listed as assets.
Guns and related items, including hunting equipment, are one of the most common recreational items that Kentuckians possess. The love of the sport of guns and hunting can be traced back to our frontier past and the fact that, before Kentucky was a state, and even after, guns were a critical part of providing food for your family and protecting your home.
Because guns and hunting equipment are, today, such a valued possession for many folks, they are very afraid, I have found, that they could face losing these items if they file for bankruptcy. Of course, most of the time, the federal “catch-all” exemption is large enough to protect even the largest collection of gun and gun accessories that the majority of folks would have.
The tricky part is making sure that clients understand that they MUST disclose all of these items in order to exempt them. Also, it is important for clients to understand that transferring the guns to a family member or friend just prior to filing bankruptcy, does not allow them to NOT list them in their bankruptcy filing.
To help educate clients, we include materials for them to fill out that include a question about guns and hunting equipment. In addition, we are careful to ask about any transfers of items that folks may have made to anyone in the past 2 years.
Often, educating the client about what to list is much more important than just asking them to list “all of their assets”, much like voir dire can often be the most important part of a trial for trial attorneys.