It is a common myth that if you file for bankruptcy you have to give up all of your possessions. We understand why many of our clients come to us deeply concerned about what they will lose in bankruptcy. The truth is, most people get to keep most of all of their belongings through bankruptcy. When we meet for a free consultation we take the time to educate our clients about how and why they get to keep their belongings, and we focus on what they will gain by filing for bankruptcy – which is freedom from debilitating debt.
How You Keep Your Belongings Through Bankruptcy
You keep your belongings through bankruptcy by listing what you own, including real property, cars, and other valuables in your bankruptcy petition and then “exempting” those belongings. Bankruptcy law allows you to keep your property, assets, and other belongings valued up to a certain dollar amount through exemptions. Belongings that are protected in bankruptcy are “exempt.” You get to keep the exempt property if its value does not exceed a certain dollar amount set by law.
Georgia has its own exemption scheme, which provides for exemption amounts for your house, car(s), household goods, retirement accounts, and many other belongings. You can view the entire list of Georgia exemptions here.
Here are just a few examples of Georgia Exemptions:
- Your House: Georgia homestead exemption allows you to protect up to $21,500 of equity in real estate. If the title to the property is held by one of two spouses, you may exempt up to $43,000 of equity in real estate.
- Your Car: Up to $5,000 of equity is protected in one or more motor vehicles. This includes your cars, trucks, motorcycles, or other motor vehicles.
- Your Household Goods: Debtors may exempt up to $5,000 in total value of household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments, but no value of one particular item is to exceed $300.
- Your “Wildcard” Exemption: Georgia law allows for a “wildcard” exemption of $1,200 on any belonging. Plus any unused portion of the homestead exemption, up to $10,000, may also be used to exempt other property and belongings not otherwise provided for in the law.
- Double Exemptions for Married Couples: If you and your spouse file a joint bankruptcy in Georgia, you may double the exemption amounts provided for in the law.
This is not a complete list! There are many exemptions available to use in Georgia.
Why You Get to Keep Your Belongings Through Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy law is designed to help people, not to cause further harm. The purpose of the law is to give deserving people a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy can give you the opportunity to create a financially healthy future, including the ability to pay for your mortgage/rent, electricity, food, provide for your family, and even to save for emergencies and retirement. Bankruptcy law is not meant to harm you by taking away your possessions that you and your family need to live.
Learn the truth about bankruptcy in our articles focused on dispelling popular bankruptcy myths:
We’re Here To Answer Your Questions About What is Protected in Bankruptcy
Call us today (912) 351-9000 to schedule your free consultation. We invite you to learn more about who we are here. We’re committed to helping people get out of debt and gain the financial freedom they deserve.
The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel proudly serves all of Savannah, GA and the surrounding counties including Chatham County, Effingham County, Bulloch County, Bryan County, Liberty County, Long County.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.