Bankruptcy Exemptions in Georgia
What belongings can I keep when filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
DebtStoppers clients have told us that they put off filing for bankruptcy in Atlanta because they thought they'd have to give up everything they owned. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. One of the best parts of bankruptcy in Georgia is that it legally protects many of your assets through a list of bankruptcy exemptions.
Georgia exemptions can be used when filing either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Exemptions determine which possessions (real estate, qualified retirement accounts, cars and trucks, etc.) you can keep in a Chapter 7 and how much you will need to pay monthly in a Chapter 13.
Married couples filing jointly can each claim the full amount of any given exemption. This is informally called "doubling," because it makes the exemptions worth twice as much.
- Homestead exemptions — Married couples may now exempt up to $43,000 of real estate equity, individuals can claim $21,500. If a property is owned jointly and only one spouse files bankruptcy, the couple may be able to exempt the property's entire equity. Up to $5,000 of unused portion may be used to exempt any other property.
- Personal property exemption — Vehicles up to $3,500; household goods, clothing, furniture, health aids, jewelry, etc. up to $5,000 total; lost future earnings up to $7,500; personal injury awards up to $10,000.
- Pension & retirement accounts — Qualified pension and retirement accounts with a value up to $1,171,150 are protected.
- Child support & alimony — Alimony and child support needed for support is protected.
- Tools of trade — Books, equipment, electronics and tools you need to earn your living are exempt.
- Exemption for wages — Either a minimum 75% of earned but unpaid earnings or thirty times the state or federal hourly minimum wage; whichever is greater. The court may authorize more for low-income filers.
- Insurance exemption — Disability, health or accident insurance policies remain in force and you retain policy equity.
- Public benefits —Unemployment, workers comp, social security and public assistance benefits are exempt.
- Wildcard exemption — Any property up to $600, plus unused homestead exemption up to an amount of $5,000.
The above section lists the main Georgia bankruptcy exemptions important to DebtStoppers clients, but the full list gets more technical. Your DebtStoppers bankruptcy attorney will make sure you get the information you need.
It's understandable to be concerned about losing your possessions. But if you're over your head in debt and don't seek protection from creditors, nothing will be exempt.
An Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer from DebtStoppers can explain Georgia's exemptions and how they might affect your unique financial situation. And you can find out for free by calling DebtStoppers at 404-921-2585 or by filling out our simple online form.