Bankruptcy is a powerful legal tool, but what legal protections does bankruptcy offer? The United States Bankruptcy Code affords people who need to file many protections. Bankruptcy law has the power to eliminate debts and stop lawsuits from moving forward. It even grants debtors the ability to get out of contractual obligations without financial penalty.
The full scope of the legal protections bankruptcy offers is vast.
Protection of Property
Bankruptcy law protects property from being seized and sold by creditors. Further, the majority of people who file get to keep most or all of their assets and belongings.
Debtors are allowed to keep their property, assets, and other belongings valued up to a certain dollar amount through exemptions. Belongings that are protected in bankruptcy are “exempt” from the reach of creditors and can be retained through bankruptcy so long as the value does not exceed the exempt dollar amount set by law.
Georgia has its own exemption scheme, which provides for exemption amounts for your house, car(s), household goods, retirement accounts, and many other belongings. You can view the entire list of Georgia exemptions here.
One of the most powerful protections of bankruptcy is the Automatic Stay, which is a provision in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that makes it illegal for creditors to attempt to collect on debts from a person who has filed for bankruptcy protection.
The Automatic Stay prohibits all collection attempts by most creditors, including foreclosure, repossessions, evictions, wage garnishments, billings, and collection phone calls. The Stay becomes effective immediately, as soon as the bankruptcy case is filed.
There are only a few exceptions to the Automatic Stay. These include family law proceedings relating to divorce or parenting, collection on ERISA-qualified pension loans, IRS tax audits, demands for tax returns, or assessment of tax liabilities.
Pay Mortgage Arrears or Missed Car Payments
Chapter 13 bankruptcy creates an opportunity for debtors to catch up on the missed mortgage or car payments. Through the Chapter 13 repayment plan, which lasts three to five years, missed payments can be made up. This option enables people to retain their home or car that would otherwise be lost.
Elimination of Debt
Bankruptcy can eliminate most unsecured debts, including credit card debt, medical bills, certain older tax debts, personal loans, and other types of credit or loans that were given without a collateral requirement.
As you can see, bankruptcy offers numerous protections. Filing for bankruptcy may very well be the best solution to your debt problems. However, depending on your specific case, you may still owe on some debts after bankruptcy, such as newer tax debts and student loans. It is important to understand the protections of bankruptcy, and what it can and cannot do for you.
Filing for Bankruptcy Protection
To understand all of the ways bankruptcy can benefit you specifically, we invite you to meet with us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Here at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel, we will make sure you understand the protections and benefits of bankruptcy and how filing will affect you and your family.
We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Find out more about Bankruptcy in our guide: All About Bankruptcy.