What Property Can You Keep Under Georgia’s Bankruptcy Exemptions?
Every state has different rules when it comes to bankruptcy. States have their own laws about which property can be kept (exempted) in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. While many states allow you to choose between state and federal rules, Georgia limits its residents to state rules.
Georgia’s bankruptcy exemptions apply to property or equity in property. Equity is a fancy word for a simple calculation. To determine the amount of equity you have in property such as a home, you simply determine how much the property is worth and subtract the amount of money you owe on it. If your home is worth $100,000 but you still owe $90,000 on it, you only have $10,000 in equity. As you will see, this means you will be able to exempt your home.
The specific exemptions allowed apply to homes, vehicles and other private property. Georgia allows individuals to protect up to $21,500 in equity in their residence through a “homestead exemption.” Couples can double this exemption for a total of $43,000. If your full homestead exemption isn’t used, you can apply up to $5,000 to any other type of property. This $5,000 is known as a “wildcard exemption.” Georgia allows for an additional $600 in wildcard exemptions regardless of whether the homestead exemption is used up.
Up to $5,000 of equity can be exempted in vehicles such as cars and trucks. With the addition of wildcard exemptions, this number can go up to $10,600. For a couple, this number could potentially be as high as $21,200. Unlike many other states, Georgia allows you to split this exemption up among multiple vehicles.
Other types of personal property which may be exempted include:
- Jewelry up to $500
- Home goods up to $5,000, with some exceptions and limits on the value of individual items
- Certain compensation from lawsuits
- Spousal support, child support and public benefits
- Tools required for work, up to $1,500
- Most pensions and retirement accounts
- Life insurance and other insurance proceeds, with some limits
There are many other specialized exemptions which may be available depending on your specific circumstances. To learn which exemptions apply to you and how to take advantage of them, you should speak to a professional. At DebtStoppers in Atlanta, our bankruptcy attorneys help individuals and families break free from their financial troubles. To schedule a free debt evaluation with DebtStoppers, fill out our contact form or call us at 404-796-7161.