It is common for people to realize they are in a bad financial situation and discover filing bankruptcy is their best option. They may fear what the bankruptcy court will take from them during the process. It is important to realize there are certain types of property people can keep — also referred to as exempt property. This includes such things as furniture, clothes, kitchen utensils and more.
Filing Bankruptcy in Georgia
The legislature of Georgia opted not to follow the exact stipulations of the federal bankruptcy code. It passed bankruptcy laws that cover a list of exemptions for those who consider filing bankruptcy in Georgia. These exemptions are listed in section 44-13-100 of Georgia’s Official State Code. There are federal bankruptcy laws, but individuals who file bankruptcy in Georgia use the state’s law to determine what property they can exempt in their bankruptcy filing.
How Exemptions Work
When someone declares bankruptcy, there are certain types of property that cannot be used for bankruptcy purposes. In this situation, creditors can’t lay any type of claim on this property. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee can take certain assets, sell them and divide the proceeds among the creditors. This distribution is done with a system explained in the Georgia Code. When assets are listed as exempt they are off limits to any action.
Those who file for bankruptcy in Georgia are entitled to a wildcard exemption. This makes it possible for people to exempt any of their property for up to $1,200. It can be used for cash or in combination with any other type of exemption. In many cases, a wildcard exemption will be a major factor in a person deciding to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this exemption significantly decreases the amount of money a person must pay back.
In Georgia, when someone files a joint bankruptcy with their spouse, it is possible for them to double the exemption amounts for any property that belongs to both of them. This could include many things deemed to be considered marital property.
In Georgia, those who file for bankruptcy can exempt a certain portion of equity in their home. This exemption applies to real personal property. It can be used with someone’s residence including a co-op, home or condominium. Getting the most out of this exemption will require knowing an accurate valuation of the property. This type of exemption also makes it possible to exempt burial plots.
Personal Property Exemptions
It is possible for people to exempt certain items from bankruptcy including musical instruments, household goods, clothing, books, and appliances. Jewelry can be exempted up to $500. This also covers lost future earnings up to $7,500 and health aids. Individuals with personal injury recoveries can exempt up to $10,000 of their settlement award.
There are certain public benefits that are exempt. This includes worker’s compensation, aid to the disabled, Veteran’s benefits, aid to the blind, social security, old age assistance, local public assistance as well as victim’s compensation and more.
It is possible to also exempt some types of insurance. This includes life insurance proceeds, health or disability benefits, or group insurance. With life insurance, the policy’s cash value and loan value can be exempted up to $2,000.
When filing bankruptcy in Georgia, there are certain types of pensions that are also exempt. This includes Tax exempt retirement accounts, money purchase plans, profit-sharing plans, and others.
Bankruptcy can be simple or very complicated, but it is never easy. During this time, it is a great benefit for people to have an attorney to help guide them through the process. It’s also important to realize the Georgia legislature changes the state’s bankruptcy exemptions regularly. A bankruptcy attorney will be aware of all the latest bankruptcy exemptions provided by the state of Georgia.
Find out more about Bankruptcy in our guide: All About Bankruptcy
Learn about the ways bankruptcy can help you. Contact us for a free consultation by or call (912) 351-9000. We’re here to help you gain the financial freedom you deserve. The Law Offices of Barbara B. Braziel proudly serves the greater Savannah, GA area.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.