No, you do not have to sell your possessions if you file for 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 law is not meant to harm you by taking away your possessions that you and your family need to live.
If I don’t have to sell everything, what happens to my stuff when I file for bankruptcy?
The majority of debtors (people who file for bankruptcy) get to keep most or all of their personal belongings, property, and assets through bankruptcy. You get to keep your stuff and have your dischargeable debts completely erased when you file for bankruptcy.
How are my assets protected through bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy law provides for you to keep property, assets, and other belongings valued up to a certain dollar amount through exemptions. Property that is protected in bankruptcy is known as “exempt property.” You get to keep exempt property if its value does not exceed a certain dollar amount.
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.
What property is exempt and what is the exemption amount?
Each state either has their own exemption scheme, or they allow debtors to use the federal exemption scheme found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Georgia has its own exemption scheme, which provides for exemption amounts for 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. GA Code §44-13-100(a)(1) (2016).
- Automobiles(s): Up to $5,000 of equity is protected in one or more motor vehicles. GA Code §44-13-100(a)(3) (2016).
- Household Goods: Debtor’s 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. GA Code §44-13-100(a)(4) (2016).
- “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. GA Code §44-13-100(a)(6) (2016).
- Doubling Exemption Amounts in Joint Cases: If you and your spouse file a joint bankruptcy in Georgia, you may double the exemption amounts provided for in the law.
The foregoing are only a few of the many exemptions available under Georgia law. View the full list of Georgia exemptions here.
Will I know if any of my belongings or assets cannot be protected?
As long as all of your assets are listed and properly valued, then yes, you will know prior to filing if any of your belongings or assets cannot be protected.
When you work with the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel we will help you properly value your assets and apply the appropriate exemption in your bankruptcy paperwork to ensure your assets are protected.
We’re Standing By To Answer All of Your Questions
If you have questions about what is protected in bankruptcy, call us today (912) 351-9000 to schedule your free consultation. The Law Offices 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.