A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will usually eliminate all of a debtor's unsecured debts - things like credit cards or personal loans. In Chapter 13 cases, debtors are required to pay all of their excess income each month into a pool that is split up by their creditors. After 3 to 5 years, whatever unsecured debts remain are discharged in a Chapter 13 case.
Chapter 7 is not designed to save property where payments have not been made and foreclosure has begun. However, Chapter 13 can help in that exact situation.
The job of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee is to seize any non-exempt property and divide up those proceeds among creditors. There are many state and federal exemptions that usually protect the majority of household items and often a home or first car from seizure. Debtors with boats, motor homes, second houses or other property subject to seizure may prefer Chapter 13 bankruptcy to protect their property from being seized.