If my house, car or other property is secured by a creditor, does bankruptcy permit me to keep those things and release the debt?

Bankruptcy does not discharge a creditor’s lien on property. Even if you file bankruptcy a secured creditor is entitled to receive either the collateral or payment on the loan. In a Chapter 7 case, if you want to keep the property, you may either choose to reaffirm the debt or to redeem the property by paying its fair market value. Reaffirming a debt means that you sign and file a legally enforceable document with the court, which states that you promise to repay all, or a portion of the debt. If you reaffirm a debt and fail to make the required payments, the creditor can recover the secured property and you would still owe any remaining debt. If you do not want to keep the property, you can return it to the creditor and not have to repay the debt. Redeeming a debt means you must pay the value of the property to the creditor in one lump sum payment.