One of the biggest concerns people have about bankruptcy is what will happen to their stuff if they file. Because Chapter 7 is entitled “Liquidation,” understandably people often incorrectly assume they will be forced to liquidate everything if they file for bankruptcy.
Most people who file for bankruptcy are able to keep most or all of their belongings and assets.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Code, as well as the state of Georgia, carves out exemptions that can be used in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Exemptions allow for your property and belongings to be protected through bankruptcy, up to a certain dollar amount. Exemptions are available for your home, car, personal belongings, retirement accounts, and other assets.
If something is “exempt,” it cannot be taken by your creditors or by the bankruptcy trustee to pay back your creditors. View a full list of Georgia exemptions here.
Note that if you file a joint bankruptcy with your spouse in Georgia, you can double the exemption amounts to protect even more of your assets and belongings.
However, assets that cannot be exempt may be liquidated.
If you have an asset that is worth more than can be protected under the available exemption amounts, then the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case may seize the asset. The trustee can then sell it and use the proceeds to pay back a pro-rata share to your creditors who filed timely proof of claims.
Most Chapter 7 cases are “no-asset cases” whereby there are no non-exempt assets for the trustee to liquidate. In these cases the debtor gets to keep of their belongings, assets, and property, and receives a discharge of their debts through bankruptcy. In your bankruptcy petition you must list all assets and their value, so you will know prior to filing if you have non-exempt assets that cannot be 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 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.