Trustee Blog

Private Party Value for Autos: Trustee Grobstein

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee Howard Grobstein

Private Party Value of Vehicles

As noted before, Trustee Howard Grobstein is a “car guy”. He knows the values of vehicles and often asks more detailed information on vehicles. From time to time his assistants will email an attorney BEFORE the meeting of creditors to ask for pictures of the vehicle. These pictures can be mailed to the trustee or e-mailed to the trustee.

Practice Pointer:

Mr. Grobstein only uses this technique in certain cases, but it is good to know ahead of time if your client has a special vehicle or what could be called a “classic” automobile.

Just in case, have the client take photos of the vehicle to save time at the outset of the case.

How do we value vehicles?

The common value starting point is to check with the Kelley Blue Book. In the olden days we would go to the auto parts shop and buy the little blue books published by the the Kelley Company. Hence the name “Blue Book”. Now in modern times, you can check for the value of most vehicles by going to their website

On the website, you can enter the client’s year, make, model and mileage of the auto. For example a 2010 Ford F-150 truck with 25,000 miles.  (This is also the same information you enter on Schedule B of the petition.)   With that information the website will then ask you for “trade in value” or “private party value”.

Choose “private party”.  This is the value that your client would get by selling it himself, which is the same value that a trustee would receive if he sold the auto.  Then fill in what “style” the auto is if any.  For example is it a GL or CL or an XL. These designations will also affect the value of the auto.

Practice Pointer:

Use to value your clients vehicles and print out the value to keep in your file.


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