Introduction to Exemptions
Debtors filing for bankruptcy must identify those assets which they wish to exclude from the bankruptcy estate. In other words, the debtor must specifically identify each asset he or she wishes to keep. If a debtor fails to list an asset that might otherwise be exempt, the bankruptcy trustee has the right to compel the debtor to turn that asset over to the trustee so that the trustee might sell it and distribute the proceeds to the various unsecured creditors.
Note, however, that all assets are not necessarily exempt. There are substantial limitations on which assets may be exempt, which limitations will either be governed by federal law or Texas law. It is up to the debtor to select which set of exemption statutes will apply to his or her case.