If you are deep in debt, dealing with harassing creditor calls, maybe you’ve been sued for unpaid debts, it is time to explore exempt versus unexempt assets in bankruptcy. When we first meet with our clients for a free consultation, many of them express that they are overwhelmed or intimidated by the idea of bankruptcy.
We understand. Bankruptcy is a complex area of law. That is why we take the time to ensure our clients understand the bankruptcy process, how bankruptcy will affect them, and feel comfortable with their decision to file.
One of the biggest concerns people face is what will happen to their belongings when they file for bankruptcy. First, we want you to know that most people who file for bankruptcy get to keep most or all of their belongings. Second, let’s explore how assets are protected through the bankruptcy process.
Exempt Versus Unexempt Assets in Bankruptcy
An “exempt” asset in bankruptcy is protected through the bankruptcy process. Debtors (people who file) get to keep their exempt assets while still being able to erase debts through bankruptcy.
An “unexempt” asset in bankruptcy is an asset that is not protected through the bankruptcy process. An unexempt asset is subject to being taken by the Bankruptcy Trustee and sold to pay back some of your creditors.
If you have any unexempt assets you will know prior to filing for bankruptcy.
If you have assets, property, or belongings that are at risk of being seized in bankruptcy, you will know prior to filing. So long as you list all of your assets, property, and belongings and properly value those assets in your Bankruptcy Petition, then you will know which, if any, of your belongings, are at risk.
How Are Assets “Exempt”?
Bankruptcy law provides for you to keep the property, assets, and other belongings valued up to a certain dollar amount through exemptions. As noted above, you get to keep exempt assets so long as its value does not exceed a certain dollar amount set by law.
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, vehicles, household goods, a “wildcard” exemption for some debtors, and many other exemptions. You can view the full list of Georgia exemption here and learn more in our article Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions.
Also, note that ERISA qualified retirement accounts are fully protected through bankruptcy. We urge you not to borrow against your retirement accounts in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy.
Working With Our Law Firm
When you work with the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel we will help you properly value your assets and apply for the appropriate exemption in your bankruptcy paperwork to ensure your assets are protected.
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.
Find out more about Bankruptcy in our guide: All About Bankruptcy
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.