Filing for bankruptcy is a decision that takes time to consider. Many factors are involved, and many people who are thinking of filing for bankruptcy are understandably worried about losing their assets. As is standard with any legal matter, reviewing Georgia’s bankruptcy code and consulting with a knowledgeable attorney are the best places to start.
It is worth noting that bankruptcy exemptions are mostly factors for people intending to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where asset liquidation is significant. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves rearranging your debt-load more than liquidating, but it is worth understanding exemptions just in case.
In terms of exemptions specific to Georgia, some of the exemptions that bankruptcy filers should be aware of are as follows. These are homestead exemption, personal property exemption, motor vehicle exemption, support exemption, wage exemption, public benefits exemption, tools-of-the-trade exemption, pension and retirement exemption, wildcard exemption, and insurance exemption.
The Homestead Exemption
Losing a home can be the scariest aspect for many people when considering bankruptcy. However, this exemption can allow some homeowners to keep their properties. Georgia provides an exemption of up to $21,500 per person, or $43,000 if married co-habitants file for bankruptcy together. This amount goes against the total equity held in the homestead.
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The Personal Property Exemption
Georgia’s personal property exemption limit is $5,000, which ends up being higher than you might expect as most people’s items have depreciated over time and may not be worth much in resale value. Be aware that each item has a cap of $300, so while an item valued at $2,000, for example, is below the $5,000 exemption limit, it is $1,700 above the single item limit, which indicates that you should sell it.
Comparatively, an item worth $350 might cost the owner more to sell than the $50 that puts it over the limit. In this circumstance, the object usually stays in the owner’s possession.
The Wildcard Exemption
The wildcard exemption is a way for bankruptcy filers to have another opportunity to keep their assets. In Georgia, you are allowed up to $10,000 in leftover equity money unused from the homestead exemption to be applied to another exemption, along with $1,200 it provides to protect anything else.
The Motor Vehicle Exemption
The motor vehicle exemption in Georgia is up to $5,000 in equity, which means that if the owner(s) of a vehicle has less than a $5,000 stake in it, they can keep it. It is vital to be aware that the wildcard exemption also has ramifications for motor vehicle exemptions.
If you have used $10,000 or less of your homestead exemption, you can put that amount toward retaining more expensive vehicles.
The Support Exemption
An explicit exemption, Georgia protects all child support and alimony proceeds assigned by the court as necessary.
This list of exemptions is not exhaustive, and if only a few of these options apply to your situation, there may be others not listed here that do as well. Take the time to speak with us either by phone or through our website’s live chat feature to get information tailored to your needs. Bankruptcy doesn’t have to be scary, and being informed is the best way to protect yourself and your family.