Many people avoid filing for bankruptcy because they believe that someone will come and seize all of their belongings. This is not true. In fact, most people who file for bankruptcy are able to keep most or all of their belongings.
How Property & Belongings Are Protected in 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.
Each state either has their own exemption scheme, or they allow debtors to use the federal exemption scheme put forth in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This may sound confusing, so let’s take a look at the exemption scheme in Georgia.
Georgia law allows for exemption amounts for your house, automobile(s), household goods, retirement accounts, and many other belongings. Click here to view the full list of Georgia exemptions.
Georgia Exemption 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.
Georgia Exemption for Your Motor Vehicles
Up to $5,000 of equity is protected in one or more motor vehicles. This includes your cars, trucks, motorcycles, or other motor vehicles.
Equity in a motor vehicle is determined by subtracting the amount owed on the vehicle from the current fair market value of the vehicle. If you have more than $5,000 in equity in your vehicles, you still may be able to protect them. See the section entitled Georgia “Wildcard” Exemption below!
Georgia Exemptions for 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.
Items are valued at “fair market value,” meaning what they are worth today if you were to sell them, not at replacement value if you had to buy the item new.
Georgia “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.
Georgia Exemption for Married Couples May Be Doubled
If you and your spouse file a joint bankruptcy in Georgia, you may double the exemption amounts provided for in the law. For example, married joint-filers may double the motor vehicle exemption and protect up to $10,000 of equity in vehicles, instead of only $5,000.
Click here to view the full list of Georgia exemptions.
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.